Fake degrees

April 14, 2010

KARACHI: This is with reference to the article in your issue of April 12 by Salman Masood titled ‘Rewarding those with fake degrees’. Is it not criminal to obtain and issue bogus degrees?

I am told that the People’s Representation Act of 1976 did not prescribe any punishment for obtaining and issuing bogus degrees but surely those who are found guilty of this could be tried under some section of the Criminal Procedure Code. Other than resigning their seat in parliament, those found guilty of this offence are not given any punishment.

Why is that the case? Isn’t having a fake degree tantamount to theft and shouldn’t the punishment for those who have such ‘credentials’ be the same as for those who commit theft of the conventional kind? It is our national shame that other than resignations we have yet to see anyone with a fake degree actually receive formal punishment.

Those who doubt my view should understand the logic, which is quite simple. Anybody who has a fake degree is in a position usurping resources which need to be allocated and utilised by someone who has actually earned the credentials and qualifications claimed. These people end up being elected to public office and this too means that they take up a position that could have gone to someone who deserved to be elected to it.

Apart from merely resigning their seat in parliament, those found guilty of possessing fake degrees need to be asked to reimburse to the state the salary and the monetary cost of the benefits they availed while holding public office under false pretence. Not only this, the institutions that granted them these fake degrees should be black-listed and prosecuted under the relevant law.