Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has termed the lifetime disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution a draconian law.
ISLAMABAD:-The remark came during the proceedings of a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda against challenging his lifetime disqualification.
A three-member bench under the chief justice heard the petition.
During the proceeding on Tuesday, Vawda’s counsel Wasim Sajjad told the court that his client contested the election in 2018. Two years later, a disqualification petition was filed against him for submitting a false affidavit.
Commenting on his argument, the chief justice remarked that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has the authority to probe false affidavits.
Even If the apex court declares the disqualification order null and void but the facts will still remain the same, he added.
The question is whether the commission is authorized to disqualify a person. The commission has apparently made a correct review of the facts in the Faisal Vawda case, Justice Bandial stated.
Further, the chief justice remarked, “Article 62(1)(f )of lifetime disqualification is the draconian law.”
Afterward, the court said Vawda’s case will be heard cautiously and adjourned the hearing till October 6.
On February 9, the ECP disqualified Vawda as lawmaker for hiding his dual nationality. It said Vawda had submitted a false undertaking during the 2018 general elections when he was elected MNA.
The PTI leader appealed the decision with the Islamabad High Court.
On February 16, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah announced the reserved verdict on Vawda’s appeal. He ruled that Vawda’s conduct became the reason for his disqualification.
The court remarked that there was no reason to interfere in the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan. “Vawda should have proved his good faith by submitting a certificate of the renunciation of dual citizenship.”
The proceedings against Vawda began after a news report revealed that Vawda filed his nomination papers for the 2018 General Election on June 11, 2018, when he still held US nationality. His papers were approved on June 18, 2018. The federal minister had filed papers to give up his US citizenship on June 22, 2018 and he was issued a certificate on June 25. 2019. The process usually takes weeks or even months, according to The News.
A petition was filed for his disqualification under section Article 62(1)(f). The Article deems it necessary for all members of Parliament to be ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’. They are prohibited from concealing information about their assets.
There are similar laws but with vastly different implications for the disqualification of public office holders.
Unlike Article 62(1)(f), a disqualification under Article 63(1)(c) does not entail lifetime bar. Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution says that “a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of Parliament if he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan or acquires the citizenship of a foreign state.”
On October 17, 2018, two PML-N leaders were disqualified by the Supreme Court for holding dual nationalities. Sadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar had dual citizenship when they filed their nomination papers.
But Sadia Abbasi was elected to Parliament again because she was disqualified under Article 63(1)(c) and not Article 62(1)(f).
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