Three elected legislators fell prey to fake degree cases on Thursday, when the Supreme Court (SC) suspended the membership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarian Ghulam Sarwar Khan and de-notified the membership of two Punjab provincial assembly members for holding fake degrees.
A three-member bench of SC, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, took the decision during its hearing of petitions pertaining to fake degrees of parliamentarians after the Higher Education Commission (HEC) submitted a report on reported cases.
The apex court suspended membership of Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who had defeated Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan from NA-53 Rawalpindi on May 11, for allegedly holding a fake degree, pending final verification.
However, the court directed de-notification of membership of two Punjab Assembly legislators Mir Badsha Qaiserani and Khawaja Mohammad Islam, after HEC confirmed that both parliamentarians possessed fake degrees.
The academic credentials of Ghulam Sarwar Khan had been challenged in the court by a petitioner, Raja Qamar.
During the proceedings, the bench was informed by the HEC that the Syndicate of Bahawalpur University has delayed issuance of decision over the status of Ghulam Sarwar’s degree.
However, the HEC report revealed that the syndicate had claimed in its initial report that Ghulam Sarwar’s degree was bogus because it had been issued on the basis of a diploma issued by the Lyallpur Technical Institute.
Nevertheless, according to record, the diploma was issued to a Ghulam Sarwar, son of Hamidullah, whereas the parliamentarian’s name is Ghulam Sarwar, son of Hayat Khan.
Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for Ghulam Sarwar, said that there was a problem in the record of the Institute because the original diploma had been received from the Rawalpindi Technical Institute and had been later on merged with Lyallpur Technical Institute.
The petitioner said Ghulam Sarwar had himself admitted that his diploma of Lyallpur Technical Institute was incorrect and a similar petition was currently pending with the Lahore High Court as well. The court directed the authorities concerned to suspend the membership of the PTI MNA till decision of the Lahore High Court, which was asked to expedite hearing of the petition.
Meanwhile, HEC informed the bench that the commission has verified the degrees of PML-N MPA Khawaja Islam and JUI-F MPA from Dera Ghazi Khan Mir Badshah Qaiserani and both degrees were found to be fake. The court then directed the ECP to de-notify the membership of both.
Later, the court also directed the commission to expeditiously hear case of PTI MPA from Haripur Faisal Zaman Khan, a member of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. The court also referred the case of MPA Zaib Jafar to HEC to again review her credentials.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.