- ECP reserves verdict on Faisal Vawda’s disqualification plea.
- Petition was filed against Faisal Vawda in Islamabad pertaining to his dual citizenship.
- Vawda had American citizenship at the time he submitted nomination papers, says petitioner.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has reserved its verdict on a disqualification petition filed against PTI leader Faisal Vawda, reported Geo News on Thursday.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja heard the petition filed against Vawda in Islamabad pertaining to his dual citizenship.
During the hearing, the Chief Election Commissioner, while talking to PPP leader Qadir Khan Mandokhel who petitioned the case, said: “You had said that the final arguments had been presented. Do you want to present more arguments or documents?”
Qadir Mandokhel said that this is the 30th hearing. He said the commission has been giving a warning for the last one and a half years, adding that the questions already asked to the commission should be answered first and that he did not have additional arguments.
Sikandar Sultan Raja asked that whether the questions had been answered or not. “It is the job of the commission to have the final word. This is the last time,” he said.
‘Commission must decide’
Qadir Mandokhel stated that Faisal Vawda had American citizenship at the time he submitted nomination papers.
The concerned RO was not punished, and the RO rejected my papers instead of disqualifying Faisal Vawda, he said, adding that he sent a notice to the US embassy, to which they said that they do not respond to individuals.
“I told the ECP to ask the US embassy,” he lamented.
The petitioner said that Vawda has declared property in a foreign country and that the commission should inquire from the US Consulate about his citizenship.
“At the last hearing, you said that the arguments were complete. However, today you are talking about something new. The consulate is not answerable to the Election Commission, and the Commission cannot write to them,” the CEC responded.
Asif Mehmood, the petitioner’s lawyer, stated that they have provided all written responses and that the commission should decide whether Faisal Vawda had dual citizenship when submitting nomination papers or not.
Mandokhel claimed that Faisal Vawda submitted a false affidavit while submitting nomination papers and concealed dual citizenship while scrutinising the nomination papers.
Vawda’s lawyer said in his arguments that the petitioners are relying on the certificate of renunciation of citizenship.
‘Vawda never gave up Pakistani citizenship’
Faisal Vawda has always been a Pakistani citizen, and he never gave up Pakistani citizenship, said his lawyer.
Lawyer Barrister Moeed further said that Faisal had never applied for citizenship of another country. According to his birth certificate, he was born in the United States, the lawyer said.
Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja inquired about the date of the cancellation of citizenship and whether the cancellation of a passport also revokes citizenship.
If you have dual citizenship, you will have a NICOP, but you will not have a Pakistani identity card, he said, adding that a normal identity card is not evidence that you do not have dual citizenship.
The lawyer argued that, according to Nadra, Faisal Vawda’s US citizenship was seized on May 29, 2018. Faisal Vawda is a Pakistani citizen, he stated.
“Where did the knowledge of NADRA come from?” the Chief Election Commissioner inquired, asking whether Nadra could issue a certificate stating that a person is only a Pakistani citizen.
The Election Commission, after hearing the arguments of the parties, reserved its verdict on the petition seeking the disqualification of Faisal Vawda.
It may be recalled that at the last hearing, PTI leader Faisal Vawda had asked for more time to submit written arguments.