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Dual nationality case: IHC grants more time to Faisal Vawda for response

In this file photo, Federal Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Faisal Vawda is addressing a press conference in Islamabad. — PID

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday granted more time to Federal Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Faisal Vawda for submission of comments in a case challenging his eligibility as a member of the Parliament.

The court has also ruled that there is no problem if Vawda was not a US citizen when he filed his nomination papers.

Justice Aamer Farooq of IHC conducted a hearing on a petition moved by Barrister Jahangir Jadoon against the federal minister.

The petitioner, Mian Faisal Advocate, has alleged that the PTI leader was a US citizen when he filed his nomination papers to contest the election from Karachi. Faisal had alleged that the water resources minister had hidden this fact from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and not disclosed his dual nationality in the nomination papers.

When the hearing began, Barrister Jahangir Jadoon argued the case on behalf of the petitioner while Haron Dagal fought as Vawda’s new lawyer.

The petitioner’s lawyer pleaded that this court had already given maximum time to the defense for filing comments, adding that delaying tactics were being used to waste the court time.

The defense lawyer said that he had to travel from Lahore to appear in this case. To this, the bench said that it was only a distance of three-and-a-half hours.

The lawyer said that he had to conduct a meeting with his client who was living in Karachi.

Justice Amir Farooq said that half of the arguments in the case had been heard.

“The petitioner’s case is that Vawda was a US citizen when the nomination papers were filed. We summoned records from the ECP. This entire case is based on dates,” he said to both parties.

Vawda’s attorney requested the court to issue an order through which his client could be provided the ECP documents.

“The nomination papers and affidavit were submitted by you [client],” responded Justice Amir Farooq.

The judge then said that this was a quo warranto case (a writ or legal action requiring a person to show by what warrant an office or franchise is held, claimed, or exercised).

“This case is about de-seating someone. If Faisal Vawda was not an American citizen [at the time] then there is no problem,” he said.

The court ultimately accepted the request put forward by Vawda’s lawyer for more time to prepare a response and suspended the hearing till December 15.

Faisal Vawda dual citizenship case

Vawda had won the 2018 general election from Karachi’s NA-249 constituency.

In January this year, an investigative report had revealed that Vawda may have committed perjury by falsely declaring in an oath to the ECP that he did not hold any foreign nationality.

Vawda was in possession of a United States passport at the time he filed his nomination papers on June 11, 2018. The minister remained an American national even at the time the scrutiny of his nomination papers were completed.

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

The same judgment has previously led to the disqualification of various lawmakers, notable among whom Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators Saadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar.

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