ISLAMABAD: At least five lawmakers whose educational credentials were declared invalid earlier have turned out to be genuine degree-holders during the initial hearing of the Election Commission.
The number of public representatives with bogus degrees has now gone down to 54.
Election Commission sources say a few more people are also likely to receive the clean bill after universities retracted their reports on degrees that they had previously declared fake or invalid.
One of the parliamentarians whose name has been struck off the list is Robina Zafar Zehri, a member of the Balochistan Assembly. Zehri’s name had been put on the fake degree holders list on the basis of her foreign degree. She rushed to the Election Commission and presented another bachelor’s degree issued to her by the University of Balochistan. She claimed that she had submitted this degree with her nomination papers and attached a copy of the foreign degree merely as an additional document.
Another parliamentarian whose name has been cleared is a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) legislator and member of the Sindh Assembly Ghulam Sarwar Siyal. Recently, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had written to the Election Commission to include Siyal’s name in the list of lawmakers who held invalid degrees. The copy of his degree bore a stamp of ‘bogus’ and was signed by the University of Singh’s examinations controller and the HEC’s registrar. However, before Siyal’s name could formally be included in the list, the degree was declared ‘genuine in all respects’. A fresh report was prepared by the university, withdrawing its earlier declaration.
The degrees of two other lawmakers from Sindh, Senator Gul Muhammad Lot and Syed Amir Ali Shah Jamot, were also initially declared invalid but later, they were declared genuine.
Meanwhile, member of the Balochistan Assembly Nawabzada Tariq Khan’s name was also cleared. Poll officials said that holding a bachelor’s degree was not a condition when Khan contested the polls, therefore his degree was mistakenly sent for verification. Khan had contested the by-elections from PB-32 after the seat fell vacant as Nawabzada Zulfikar Ali Magsi assumed the office of Balochistan’s governor.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2010.
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