ISLAMABAD: The issue of fake degrees remained the subject of heated debate at the Parliament lobby on Friday as most parliamentarians spoke their heart out over the issue.
PPP Secretary Information Fouzia Wahab said that raising the issue of fake degrees “is aimed at maligning” the MPs and the parliament. “The leadership of political parties does not award party tickets on the basis of degrees, rather on the basis of the candidate’s popularity amongst the general public,” she added. Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Mohammed Gondal was of the view that it was wrong to term the degrees ‘fake’, saying that the media is badly mistaken in this regard.
“It is wrong to term the degrees as fake as no religious seminary has termed the madressah degrees as fake. This is the reason that Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani has defended people like Jamshed Dasti,” he added. However, PPP (S) Chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said fake degree holding MPs have deceived the entire nation and should be taken to court. Likewise, Senior Vice President of the Awami National Party (ANP) Haji Mohammad Adeel said that political parties that have awarded tickets to fake degree holders have breached moral values and legal justifications.
“They have violated the mandate given to them by the general public and have brought a bad name to politicians,” he added. PML-N legislator Abid Sher Ali echoing the views of the ANP vice president said that fake degree holding MPs should be held accountable by the government and should be taken before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education. He urged the Election Commission and the judiciary to take cognisance of the issue and reprimand fake degree awarding institutions. Senator Jamal Khan Leghari of PML-Q said there was a need to reactivate the role of election tribunals which had the prime responsibility for disqualifying people with fake degrees.
“There are many loopholes in our electoral system and due to this fake degree holders sneak into our parliament. The tribunals should take up these issues on priority basis as election appeals remain undecided for years,” he said. He urged the leadership of all major political parties to scrutinise candidates before awarding party tickets and give priority to those who are “genuine and committed.”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 16th, 2010.