Another ‘lie’ of PTI leader Faisal Vawda came to light on Wednesday during the hearing of his appeal against his life-long disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the Supreme Court.
At the outset of the hearing, Vawda’s lawyer told the Supreme Court that the returning officer had become satisfied after seeing his expired American passport.
Hearing this, Justice Ayesha Malik remarked that the passport on which Vawda had been relying was expired and it was shown to the returning officer in 2018 while the passport was originally expired in 2015. She went on to say that the passport office cancels the expired passport if one gets new passport. How an expired passport can be a proof of relinquishing the foreign nationality, she wondered.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the matter had become quite serious. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that another ‘lie’ of Vawda had come to the light. The lawyer argued that the content of the affidavit was same that Vawda did not possess passport of another country.
But Justice Shah corrected the lawyer saying that affidavit declared that Vawda did not possess nationality of another country.
Justice Malik remarked that the number of passport which was on record was different from the number of passport which had been expired. She observed that different numbers of passports suggested that a new passport was issued after the old one was expired.
After this, Vawda’s lawyer Waseem Sajjad sought more time from the court for preparation on which Justice Shah remarked that even after getting more time, he would not be able to find answer to his questions.
However, the court adjourned the case hearing till next week.
During Wednesday’s hearing, his lawyer contended that the returning officer had seen Vawda’s cancelled passport.
“But the cancelled passport that you are relying on was expired,” noted Justice Malik. She said the cancelled passport was submitted to the RO in 2018, but it had expired in 2015.
“When you get a new passport made, the older one is stamped as cancelled,” Justice Malik added. “How can a cancelled passport be proof of renunciation of a nationality?” she asked.
Moreover, she noted that the passport numbers of the one on record and the one cancelled were different. “It is evident by different numbers that a new passport was issued after being long overdue,” she said.
Following her observations, the CJP remarked that this matter had become “very serious”. Justice Masoor commented that “another of Vawda’s lies is out in the open”.
Vawda’s lawyer then contended that the text of the affidavit — which Vawda had submitted at the time of the filing of his nomination papers for a National Assembly constituency — elaborated that the PTI leader did not hold the passport of another country.
At that, Justice Shah said the mention of the “passport in the affidavit meant having the nationality of another country”.
The lawyer then argued that the ECP did not have the authority to disqualify a person for life. But the high court does have the authority to disqualify an individual for life, replied Justice Shah.
Vawda’s lawyer sought more time from the court for preparation. At that, the court adjourned the hearing, with Justice Shah commenting, “You will not have answers to these questions even next week.” The confirmed date of the next hearing is yet to be issued.