The Election Commission of Pakistan has slapped a fine of Rs50,000 on Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda for failing to appear before it in the disqualification case against him for being a dual national.
A five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, is hearing the case filed by Aman Taraqqi Party chief Faiq Shah. The bench ordered the minister to appear in person on February 24.
The ECP stopped Vawda’s lawyer from presenting his arguments in the case. CEC Sikandar said the case has already been delayed and admonished Vawda’s lawyer.
The CEC warned that if the defendant failed to respond on the next hearing, the commission will itself approach the US Consulate for details.
When the hearing started, counsel Hasnain Ali Chohan sought an adjournment saying that Vawda’s lawyer Muhammad bin Mohsin was appearing before another court.
Petitioner Faiq Shah, in his application, prayed that Vawda should be disqualified under Article 62(i)(f) of the Constitution because he misrepresented himself for the 2018 general election.
Vawda filed his nomination papers on June 11, 2018 when he was still a US national. His papers were approved on June 18. The federal minister had filed papers to give up his US citizenship on June 22 and he was issued a certificate on June 25.
Two PML-N leaders, Sadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar, were disqualified on October 17, 2018, by the Supreme Court for holding dual nationalities. They had dual citizenship when they filed their nomination papers.