The final nail in our coffins

No foreign business would want to invest in a country represented by fake politicians, who cheat their own system. Rulers must calm the 'lion' which has come out of his cage sensing mid-term elections and is posing as Mr. Nice Guy.

Syed Ali July 05, 2010
Thanks to the controversy sparked by MNA Jamshed Dasti the Supreme Court has ordered the Higher Education Commission to verify degrees submitted by senators and parliamentarians as per the law and constitution of this unfortunate country.

Dasti's degree was never officially proven false in court and he cleverly resigned when offered the chance to be re-elected to Parliament when a degree would no longer be mandatory. Dasti's case has however, got his colleagues who do hold fake degrees into some trouble and some have had to resign from office.

While the judiciary had inspired hope in Pakistan after a long time the fake degree issue has brought national morale to a new low, confirming that Foreign Policy magazine's declaration  that Pakistan is potentially a failed state is correct. Nevertheless the SC, which appears to be heading towards some serious reforms, should be appreciated.

In my opinion a cheater is always a cheater. Someone who has lied in the face of the Constitution, official authorities, the people, and his or her own self just to qualify shows the poor quality of the people we have in the house representing us. Corruption is globally accepted and present in every part of the world, but fake degrees are something not familiar to many. Here, the issue of fake degrees is much more explosive than corruption, because it can lead to mid term or many by-elections.

The Supreme Court must not stop here. The honourable judges should order a severe punishment for any person who has served the Parliament since 2008 and has been found guilty of possessing fake credentials. The SC must also make sure that HEC and EC officials who are checking the authenticity of credentials must perform honestly. They must not be manipulated or politically victimised. Clear transparent action should be taken so that the fraudsters learn a lesson.  

Along with a lifteime disqualification, the punishment for the fraud, should be quick and so severe that no one ever tries to cheat the system again.  The Supreme Court must ask the Parliament to vote for including the basic requirement of a Masters degree for a public representative's position -nothing less!

Being a citizen of the country, I feel it is not undemocratic to limit affairs of the state to only those who are qualified enough to manage them professionally. While public sentiment may be different all must understand that Pakistan needs new leaders. The least we can do is not elect the same cheaters back into the Parliament!

I agree that it is it not necessary that a highly educated person be more articulate or the best qualified for a job, but it is for certain that a Masters with a real post graduate degree will be a better manager, leader and have desire to achieve. 

Earning a Masters degree in Pakistan in the prevalent conditions is only possible after dedication, hard work and sincerity with yourself and public representatives should have these qualities.What morals or ethics can one expect from a person who has made his way to the parliament by cheating the same people voted for him?

No foreign business would want to invest in a country represented by fake politicians, who cheat their own system. Domestic and foreign businesses are already on the decline. Unemployment is on the rise which pushes towards poverty. We are over populated, without enough matching resources. Inflation remains above 30% and there are no sign of it coming down. In fact there is no policy present for controlling it from spiraling out of control.

This is maybe the last nail in our coffin, our heads hang in shame while our future looks bleak and our livelihood is at risk.

Unless the judiciary gets serious. There can be no hidden deals. No: "Okay, we'll get your degrees checked and you influence the HEC to authenticate them." This is a golden chance for the ruling government to really win the hearts and minds of the population they represent. It is a chance they have to clear them of any past misdoings and corruption (in a better way than NAB is currently doing) and bounce back to being the most popular party in Pakistan once again. This strategy will help rulers to calm the 'lion' which  has come out of his cage sensing mid-term elections or by-election and is posing as Mr. Nice Guy (as usual.)

We should not stop here. The government should order degree verifications of all government servant starting from 2002 including every single employee the government has hired (as its only since then that degrees were taken seriously and earned respect in our society.)

In addition to the minimum 3 years imprisonment and disqualification for life, the government should also ask the fraudsters to pay back what they received during their term of clear and willful deception: salaries, perks, TA, DA, with penalty (not interest).  This should take care of the treasury to some extent which we might be able to pass on to the people of this country. Most probably Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lugar would have to rethink the terms of the bill, and amend them to be a little more friendly.

Once these steps are taken, we will see a much awaited revolution within our society - without spilling a drop of blood and under the rule of the people who are under constant fire for destroying Pakistan. The root of corruption will be cleared and deserving people will be responsible for the state of affairs which is the ideal situation for Pakistan.

There is not a lot of time left -  like many saying now "July is here - just wait and see"
Syed Ali A businessman who writes on politics and civic issues. He completed his masters in business administration from Boston University. He tweets @abidifactor.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


S. Ali Raza | 13 years ago | Reply Good to know that PPP has realized the severity of this fraud, and will not be giving protection to the cheaters!
Anas M | 13 years ago | Reply I wonder why the high moral standards of truth & honesty only apply when we are going through a democratic transition. Sadly none of these standards applied more than 2 years back when a dictator and his knights PMLQ & MQM were demonstrating the "high moral / constitutional / ethical" grounds. Accepting the authority of a dictator and his actions. If we believe everything that Musharaf was doing was unconstitutional and unethical, then we should be supporting those politicians who didn't sit back but came out to challenge the system & snatched away power from Musharaf. Regardless, of the fact some politicians used unethical means to meet the democratic ends. The question if a degree should be a requirement for a legislator, can always be answered by a no. The fact a person is capable of winning thousands of votes & get elected, means he attains enough skills to be considered a Phd in electoral politics.
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