ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial Thursday said that only the court can disqualify any legislator under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution but it is not easy to ban someone for life.
The Chief Justice said this while heading a three-member bench of the apex court which heard an appeal of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s former senator Faisal Vawda against the verdicts of Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Vawda has challenged his lifetime disqualification by the ECP and the subsequent ruling by the IHC.
During the hearing, Justice Bandial observed that no one can be declared dishonest without examining the evidence. He added, “It is not so easy to disqualify someone for life”. The CJP further said, “Judicial declaration means recording of evidence. The Supreme Court (SC) in its judgments has set criteria for the application of Article 62(1)(f).” Waseem Sajjad, representing PTI leader Faisal Vawda, argued in the court that the former senator neither concealed facts nor did anything in bad faith. At this, Justice Mansoor inquired, “When did Faisal Vawda submit his nomination papers?” The Chief Justice observed that Faisal Vawda had renounced his US citizenship after submitting his nomination papers before the ECP. He said in the instant matter the debate should be whether the disqualification is limited to contest next elections or it is for life. The lawyer informed that the PTI leader submitted his nomination papers on June 7, 2018, and scrutiny took place on June 18. Justice Mansoor further asked, “When did Faisal Vawda submit the affidavit?” Waseem Sajjad replied, “Vawda submitted the affidavit on June 11, 2018. The returning officer was also told that he had given up his US nationality. Vawda went to the US Embassy and stated that he is giving up his nationality.” The PTI leader also got his National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) cancelled, he added. Justice Mansoor asked from the counsel that did his client go to the embassy and verbally tell them to cancel the passport? Sajjad responded, “He did not have to give the proof of cancelling the nationality.”