Concealment of dual citizenship case: IHC issues notice to Faisal Vawda, ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, and others, in a case pertaining to the minister hiding his dual nationality from officials.

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An investigative report published by a news media earlier this month had made the starling revelation that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Vawda concealed his citizenship of the United States from officials when he filed his nomination papers for the 2018 general elections in Pakistan.

During a hearing into the case held today, Justice Aamir Farooq asked the petitioner about the last date for the candidates to submit their nomination forms for the election in 2018.  The petitioner’s lawyer, Barrister Jahangir Jadoon, told the court it was June 11, 2018.

The lawyer also presented the oath-taking that the minister had submitted to the election commission when he filed his nomination papers. The judge questioned the petitioner whether the oath-taking submitted by Vawda, and presented in court, was authentic.

To this, the counsel for the petitioner informed the court that the minister had submitted a fake oath-taking since he was holding dual nationality at the time of filing his nomination papers.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a past judgment, had ruled that candidates who hold dual nationality are supposed to submit a renunciation certificate of the foreign nationality along with their nomination papers for elections.

The petitioner pleaded the court disqualify the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker from office and stop him from working as a minister. “We have issued notices, when we get a response in two weeks then we will see,” remarked Justice Farooq during the hearing.

Mian Mohammad Faisal, the petitioner, had approached the IHC earlier this month seeking Vawda’s disqualification over the false declaration. The next date of the hearing into the case has been set for February 24.

Documents had showed earlier this month that Vawda submitted his election papers on June 11, 2018, along with an affidavit in which he declared that he did not hold any citizenship other than that of Pakistan.

The returning officer of Vawda’s constituency, NA-249 Karachi, approved his nomination papers on June 18, 2018. It was only after getting this approval that Vawda approached the US Consulate in Karachi to relinquish his US nationality.

This means that the minister had been an American citizen at the time his candidature was finalised. Official US documents showed that Vawda approached the US consulate for the revocation of his American citizenship on June 22, 2018 (Friday).

Usually, the process to relinquish a US nationality may take a couple of weeks or even months, as it requires clearance from all concerned departments of the US government.

However, the consulate issued the ‘Certificate of Loss of Nationality’ to Vawda on its next working day, which was June 25, 2018 (Monday).

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