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Fake degrees: Courts spring into action against ex-lawmakers

03 April, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Courts in several cities of the country on Tuesday sprang into action against former members of the national as well as provincial assemblies, sending at least three ex-lawmakers to jail and issuing arrests warrants of many more for contesting 2008 general election with fake educational degrees and holding dual nationality.

A local court in Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gave former member of the provincial assembly Javed Khan Tarakai one-year prison besides a fine of Rs 5,000 in a dual nationality case. Soon after the ruling, Javed was arrested from the Sessions Court and shifted to Swabi judicial lockup. Javed, a Canadian-Pakistani, defeated Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Ameer Rehman in PK-32, Swabi-II, in the 2008 general election. Another former MPA from KP was sentenced to three years in prison for possessing a fake educational degree.

An additional sessions judge in Dera Ismail Khan ruled that Khalifa Abdul Qayyum will have to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000 in addition to his jail term. The former MPA was on bail, which the court annulled on Tuesday. Police arrested him from the courtroom and shifted to the district jail. Qayyum won the 2008 general election as an independent candidate.

In Sibbi, former federal minister Humayun Aziz Kurd, elected to the National Assembly from NA-267 in Balochistan province, was given a one-year jail sentence and fined Rs 5,000 by a court for possessing a fake educational degree. Kurd was also arrested from the courtroom and sent to the district jail.

Arrest warrants were issued for Maulvi Rozuddin, a former parliamentarian from Balochistan, for having a fake degree. Arrest warrant for another former legislator from Balochistan, Syed Nasir Shah, were also issued for possessing a fake degree. Another court in Dera Ghazi Khan indicted Mir Badshah Qaisrani, a former legislator from Punjab, for having a fake degree. In Muzaffargarh, former PPP MNA Jamshed Dasti appeared before a local court and recorded his statement in a fake degree trial.

Speaking to journalists after the hearing, Dasti said that he submitted evidence in the court to prove the authenticity of his degree. He added that final arguments will be made on Wednesday and hoped that he will get justice from the court. Dasti has filed nomination papers to contest elections against former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

In Islamabad, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared as fake the madrassa certificate of Maulana Agha Muhammad, a former lawmaker of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam from NA 261 in Balochistan, and referred his case to the sessions judge concerned to take action against him.

Members of Election Commission of Pakistan Justice (r) Shahzad Akbar Khan and Justice (r) Fazalur Rehman heard the case. Last month, the Higher Education Commission had declared that the degrees of 54 politicians were fake while those of 189 former parliamentarians were yet to be verified. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has given 189 former lawmakers time until April 5 to get their degrees verified by the HEC or face disqualification. The chief justice has also ordered a 'ruthless scrutiny' of all persons contesting the May 11 general election.

The HEC had told the apex court that ECP had failed to take action against 54 lawmakers who possessed fake degrees. It told the court that the process of verifying degrees of the lawmakers had been underway since 2010, while the ECP had sent photocopies of the degrees of only 60-70 percent of the parliamentarians for verification.

End.

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