Faisal Vawda, a former leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), had previously been permanently disqualified from election by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), but the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday overturned that judgement and disqualified him for the rest of the present term under Article 63(1)(c).
Vawda appealed to the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision upholding the ECP’s decision that he was ineligible for office due to his dual nationalities. The appeal was heard by a three-judge panel that included Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha Malik, under the direction of Chief Justice (CJ) Umar Ata Bandial.
In the prior hearing, the SC had stated that Vawda should either accept his mistake and be disqualified under 63(1)(c), or the court would continue with the case under 62(1)f. The court had access to sufficient evidence, according to CJ Bandial, to permanently disqualify Vawda.
The CJ emphasised that Vawda must admit his mistake in writing, as well as appear before the court and say that he changed the date of dual citizenship, and directed Vawda’s lawyer to bring the certificate of renunciation of US citizenship by Vawda.
The lawyer argued that because the ECP was not a court of law, it did not have the power to disqualify anyone for life. The chief justice informed the lawyer that there was evidence in the court proving that Vawda delivered a false affidavit.
According to Justice Malik, if the ECP lacked the authority, the IHC might decree permanent disqualification. With the evidence in front of the court, Justice Mansoor Shah questioned the lawyer why the Supreme Court couldn’t disqualify him for life.
The court noted that Vawda told many lies to cover up one untruth and that he filed the statement not for a job but for the election. The judge had emphasised that being honest and trustworthy was a must for running for office. “In politics, there is no room for mistake,” he had stated.
Faisal Wada, who was a senator, admitted his mistake during today’s proceedings and resigned, making him ineligible for the duration of the present National Assembly’s tenure.
Furthermore, in his affidavit, Vawda offered an unconditional apology to the court, admitting his wrongdoing.
The court accepted his resignation as a “goodwill gesture” and then proceeded to revoke his lifetime disqualification by barring him from the Senate under Article 63(1)(c). He is qualified to run in the next general or Senate elections, under court orders.