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Friday, May 17, 2024

Dual Nationality case: Will PTI’s Faisal Vawda be disqualified?

There is consensus among legal experts that anybody who hides his/her dual nationality and contests election is destined to be disqualified. However, in Faisal Vawda’s case, it is yet to be determine whether he had dual nationality at the time of filing of nomination papers or not?

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) is to take up the matter of leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Federal Minister for Water, Faisal Vawda, on March 18. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) – will also hear petitions against the federal minister on March 24.


According to a ‘cause list’ issued by the IHC Registrar Office on Tuesday, a bench headed by Justice Aamer Farooq will hear the petitions that claim that Vawda lied to the ECP while filing his nomination papers ahead of July 2018 polls.

Read more: Dual Nationality Case: IHC directs Faisal Vawda to submit response

The court on Tuesday also issued notices to respondents including Vawda, Cabinet Division, secretary law and the ECP. The IHC was to hear the case on February 24 but did not take up the petitions due to non-availability of judges.

Separately, a three-member ECP bench asked the minister’s counsel to submit his complete reply to the petitions.

It also decided to club all the various petitions filed by different individuals and groups, including the PPP and the PML-N.

Vawda had dual nationality?

It is worth noting that Faisal Vawda is accused of hiding his dual nationality while filing nomination papers back in 2018. According to a report, published by The News, Mr. Vawda was a US national when he submitted his documents in June, 2018.

According to the report, the last date to file nomination papers for the elections held in July 2018 was June 8 and later extended for another three days. Taking his documents and evidence, Vawda submitted election papers on the last date — June 11, 2018 —along with an affidavit wherein he declared himself holding no citizenship other than that of Pakistani. The Returning Officer (RO) of NA-249 Karachi, his electoral constituency, approved his nomination papers on June 18, 2018. It was only after this approval that Vawda applied for renunciation of his US nationality in US Consulate Karachi meaning thereby he was American citizen at the time of filing.

Read more: Pakistani Twitter is not having anymore of Faisal Vawda’s antics

Legal experts believe that whoever holds dual nationality at the time of submitting their nomination papers is set to for instant disqualification. Moreover, the person concerned could be penalised for perjury as well.

PTI’s leader often remains in spotlight for all wrong reasons. Recently, Mr. Vawda was in the news for flashing ‘military boot’ in a live TV show at opposition members of PPP and PML-N, ridiculing them for their unconditional support for Army Act Amendment Bill while disparaging the ruling party, PTI as the stooge of Establishment all this while.

Before that, he was schooled by his own party after his heroic entry at the site of a terror attack at Chinese Embassy in Karachi. Faisal Vawda was spotted along with the Police wearing a bullet-resistant vest and a gun in hand.

Last year, PM Khan bashed and reprimanded Faisal Vawda, personally after he reached Line of Control and had himself photographed with the rubble of downed Indian fighter Jet. His stunt was not taken well in the party.

Dual Nationals: Verdict of the Supreme Court and Declaration of ECP

The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled back in 2012 that lawmakers holding dual nationalities were not eligible to hold any public offices and declared all such lawmakers as disqualified. The top court had mentioned that the lawmakers were being disqualified under Article 62 and Article 63 of the Constitution.

Read more: Faisal Vawda “Military Boot” stunt: Will PM Imran take notice?

A three-judge bench led by then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry disqualified 4 legislators from the National Assembly, 5 from the Punjab Assembly and 2 from the Sindh Assembly back then. The ECP had declared in 2013– while hearing a petition challenging the qualification of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri to head his party– that dual nationals could not hold any office in a political party.

Under Section 5(1) of the Political Parties Order of 2002: “Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party, provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the majlis-i-shoora (parliament) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”

Read more: Faisal Vawda: ‘Dabang’ entry causes Twitter debate

Politicians and bureaucrats have different opinions regarding dual citizenship. Some politicians believe that holding dual nationality is not a crime while many other think it questions one’s loyalty with the motherland. In Pakistan, holding dual nationality is a matter of concern particularly for those who hold public offices. Politicians in Pakistan who have dual nationalities are too often subject to political victimization.