ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended the membership of two Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers from the Punjab provincial assembly on account of unverified educational degrees.
A three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry suspended the notifications of Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti as MPA from PP-IV Gujar Khan and Khawaja Muhammad Islam from PP-72 Faisalabad till their documents were verified by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
The bench directed the HEC to complete the verification process of educational testimonials of the abovementioned MPAs. The court was adjourned till July 18.
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has filed an application with the SC saying that the BA degree of Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti is yet to be verified, since the election tribunal had allowed him to contest the May 11, 2013 general elections.
In case of Islam, the HEC stated that the IBCC did not verify his A-levels equivalence certificate and resultantly his BBA degree was not considered genuine. The implicated legislator’s lawyer has sought time to prepare the brief to defend the MPA.
Islam’s lawyer, Raja Aamir Abbass argued that Islam only learnt about the non-verification of the equivalence certificate from the HEC now and needed time to seek information from IBCC.
A number of lawmakers from various political parties were stopped from holding office in the last assembly by the Supreme Court, citing their university diplomas as fake.
Correction: An earlier version of the article had incorrectly stated that the two PML-N members were MNAs. The correction has been made.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.