Pakistan’s ruling party lawmaker disqualified for concealing dual nationality

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election body on Wednesday disqualified a lawmaker of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for concealing his dual nationality at the time of contesting elections in 2018.
Faisal Vawda was elected from a constituency in Karachi and served as minister for water resources. But he ran into hot water when The News newspaper reported in January 2020 that he was a US national at the time of filing his nomination for election on June 11, 2018.
Subsequently, his election was challenged with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which after a detailed hearing reserved the verdict on December 23, 2021.
Disqualifying him as lawmaker, the ECP also directed Vawda to return within two months the salary and other benefits he had received as a minister and parliamentarian.
Vawda, smelling his disqualification, had resigned as member of the National Assembly in March last year and was elected as a Senator.
But the ECP also withdrew the notification declaring his victory on a Senate seat.
Punishing him for submitting a « false affidavit » with his nomination, the ECP disqualified him under Article 62(1)(f) of the Pakistani Constitution, which means that he will not be able to contest elections again.
Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Qadir Khan Mandokhel who had challenged Vawda’s election said the ECP’s decision was a victory of justice.
« I believe the first [card] of this puppet government (of Prime Minister Khan) has fallen, » he said.
However, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the verdict was not an issue for the government and Vawda would approach the Supreme Court against the judgement.
« Where is the storm? It has not occurred anywhere, » he said.
Vawda had been on the forefront to defend the government of Khan and his disqualification is considered as a setback for the government.

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