On the directions of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of Pakistan has reopened cases against 24 former lawmakers accused of holding fake degrees and summoned them to appear on Friday.
The SC issued the directions following a claim by the Higher Education Commission that the ECP had closed fake degree cases against 27 lawmakers on its own. ECP claims that three of these former lawmakers, who were elected in 2008, have died and the cases of eight others were closed after HEC declared their educational certificates ‘genuine’.
They include Senator Gul Muhammad Lot, Syed Ameer Ali Shah Jamot, Ghulam Sarwar Sial, Mukesh Kumar, Basheer Ahmad Khan, Shafiq Ahmad, Lt Col (retd) Shujaat Ahmad, Samina Khawar Hayat and Rubina Irfan.
Meanwhile, HEC and ECP sent the names of 19 politicians to Karachi University for verification of their degrees on Wednesday. The university officials, however, had formally asked the commissions to arrange copies of the marks sheets and degrees of these candidates to conduct the task of verification.
According to a university official, HEC has sent the names of Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi, Sardar Sanaullah Khan Zehri, Ahmed Ali Khan Jalbani, Yasmeen Hussain and Husna Aftab for verification. “The university will only be able to verify the degrees by the deadline if the commission provides copies of the documents,” he added.
Returning officer Tariq Mahmood Khoso separately sent the names of 14 candidates who had filed their nomination papers before the ECP. They include Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, Wasim Akhtar, Abdul Shakoor, Munir Ahmed Shakir, Syed Mahmood Ali Shah, Zahid Saeed, Masood Mehmood, Dr Abid Sattar, Dr Abdullah Vohra, Asif Khan Marwat, Muhammad Ibrahim, Qadir Bakhsh and Aftab Ahmed.
Court keeps wheels turning on fake degrees issue
District courts across the country continued awarding sentences against and summoning former lawmakers believed to be in possession of fake degrees.
A former member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Kishore Kumar, was arrested on Wednesday for possessing a fake degree, and faces a one-year imprisonment sentence and a fine of Rs15,000.
District and Sessions Judge Shah Jahan Akhunzada awarded the sentence to Kumar on April 23, 2012. He appealed the decision in the Peshawar High Court. However, the PHC’s Division Bench dismissed the appeal on Wednesday. The district police arrested the former lawmaker from the courtroom and shifted him to the district central prison.
Kumar, who held a minorities seat from DI Khan, contested the 2008 general elections with a ticket from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl. His case was referred to the session’s court by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Malik Amir Yar Warran, has been declared a proclaimed offender after police failed to arrest him for possessing a fake degree. The former lawmaker’s property has been seized and the Bahawalpur District & Session Court has ordered action against him.
Warran had earlier filed a review petition with the Lahore High Court Bahawalpur division, which was disposed of.
Following this, the District & Sessions Court ordered the police to arrest Warran and present him before the court. The police was unable to arrest him and he was declared a proclaimed offender.
On the other hand, the LHC reserved judgments in petitions seeking the disqualification of five former parliamentarians for being elected to assemblies on the basis of fake degrees.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan reserved the judgment in a petition filed against former PML-Q MNA Sumaira Malik accusing her of possessing a fake degree.
Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan reserved verdicts on petitions challenging the degrees of former MNA Liaqat Bhatti, Rana Zahid Hussain and former MPAs Mian Azam Chela and Khwaja Muhammad Islam. They all had won the 2008 elections on tickets of the PML-N.
Meanwhile, hearing a fake degree case against former MPA Mir Badshah Qaisrani, a court in Dera Ghazi Khan issued orders for the arrest of the registrar and controller of Jamshoro University. The court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the two officials for failing to appear before it despite being notified.
In Hafizabad, the nomination forms of former MNA Chaudhry Mehdi Hasan have been rejected over allegations of possessing a fake degree. Hasan had submitted nomination forms to contest elections from NA 102 and NA 103.
In Balochistan, former provincial minister Haji Ali Madad Jatak of the PPP has been summoned by the court today (Thursday) to record his statement in a fake degree case.
The ECP has directed former opposition leader Nawabzada Tariq Magsi, Mohammad Akbar Magsi, Senator Asrarullah Zehri, Senator Mohabat Khan Marri, Senator Rehana Yahya Baloch and Sardar Umar Gorgej to appear before the District and Sessions Court by April 5 over the same issue.
The court also heard the case of Ali Madad Jatak’s alleged fake degree, during which the investigation officer recorded his statement. The court also ordered Jatak to present himself before court today (Thursday).
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2013.