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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda has challenged Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict of disqualifying him in Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The former senator filed a petition after consultation with his lawyers and receiving a copy of the verdict. He stated that the election commission has no jurisdiction to take disqualification decisions and the verdict has no legal status.
Last week, the ECP disqualified Senator Faisal Vawda for a lifetime under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution in dual nationality case. However, Vawda decided to challenge the decision in the high court rather than the Supreme Court as the government was cautious of receiving a stay order.
A three-member bench of the ECP, led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, had reserved a verdict on petition seeking Vawda’s disqualification on Dec 23, 2021. The ECP observed that Vawda submitted a false affidavit along with his nomination papers before the 2018 elections. It withdrew a notification regarding his victory on a Senate seat.
The commission directed the PTI leader to return all the salaries and benefits he received during his term as federal minister and a member of the National Assembly. The petition had sought Vawda’s disqualification over concealing information about his dual nationality.
Article 62 (1)(f) sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be “sadiq and ameen” (honest and righteous). It is the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by a five-judge bench on July 28, 2017, in the Panama Papers case.
In August last year, the Supreme Court had held that the ECP had no power to consider the qualification or disqualification of an election candidate. It observed the question of whether the candidate was qualified had already been scrutinised.