Staff Reporter – Islamabad:
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) gave Senator Faisal Vawda and other parties a last chance on Thursday to submit their explanations and arguments on a plea seeking the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf senator’s disqualification for hiding information pertaining to his dual nationality.
The petition, filed by citizen Dost Ali in 2020, challenged Vawda’s election as a member of the National Assembly (NA) in 2018, stating that when Vawda filed his nomination papers to contest the elections, he held dual nationality as he was a US citizen as well. The petition stated that since Vawda had furnished an affidavit to the ECP to the effect that he was not a national of any other country at the time of contesting the elections, he had made a false statement on oath, hence he must be disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.
Vawda had resigned from his NA seat hours before he was elected a senator in March this year.
At the hearing on Thursday, the chief election commissioner (CEC) noted that it had been established that Vawda had dual citizenship and if he had renounced his foreign nationality, he should submit a renunciation certificate.
A three-member bench, headed by the CEC, conducted the hearing, during which Vawda’s counsel remained absent due to the illness of a family member.
“If no one attends the next hearing, we will reserve the verdict [on the matter],” the CEC said, adding that the commission had to conclude the cases and begin preparations for the next elections.
Addressing Vawda, the CEC gave him the option to either submit his arguments in writing to the commission, in which case the ECP bench would reserve its ruling on the matter, or present the arguments himself so that the bench could issue a verdict.
Vawda contended that he possessed dual citizenship by birth.
At this, the CEC pointed out that the issue was whether Vawda had dual citizenship at the time of filing of his nomination papers for contesting the 2018 general elections.