ISLAMABAD: None of the federal ministers or deputies implicated in the forged degrees scandal appeared before Election Commission officials on Monday to contest the charge or prove the veracity of their degrees.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has sent the academic records of some 89 lawmakers to the Election Commission. Of these, 83 were verified while three were found to be forged.
Only one former MNA, Javed Hussain, appeared before the inquiry committee constituted by the commission to defend himself in the case. The two federal ministers – Humayun Aziz and Mir Israr Ullah Zehri – who were summoned by the committee failed to appear before the poll regulator.
Shama Pervez Magsi, a member of the Balochistan Assembly and Gulistan Khan, member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa Assembly, also did not turn up.
The committee’s chairperson, Afzal Khan, has again summoned all the lawmakers on September 6.
However, the representatives of Kishwar Kumar and Khalifa Abdul Qayyum Khan, members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa Assembly, Saima Aziz, member of the Punjab Assembly and Suleman Mohsin, member of the National Assembly, appeared before the committee. They informed the panel about the reasons for the absence of their respective legislators.
Briefing journalists, the HEC focal person Abdul Rahim Channa said that the Commission has so far handed over 436 degrees to the ECP. Of them, 49 were found forged, 371 valid and 15 were pending hearing in courts.
Verification of 510 degrees has been delayed due to non-receipt of particulars.
ECP spokesman Afzal Khan told journalists that the ECP would take stern action against lawmakers with forged degree holders and recover all the expenses incurred on their elections.
Responding to a question, he said that such action would be taken within nine days in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s orders.
Meanwhile, media reports said that education degrees of three more lawmakers – Amir Yar Waran, Javed Husnain and Iqbal Ahmad Langrial – have also been found bogus. Their names have been communicated to the commission for necessary action.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2010.