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Fake degrees & HEC action

Fake degrees, what next?
Islamabad, Aug 04: Our haves have no parallels in the entire world as far as breaking the rules, twisting the law and making the hay while the sun is shining. Corruption is loved to the hilt, deceit, fraud and unlimited greed is the hallmark.

They can indulge in any forgery if that facilitates their "ever malicious intents" and in this art, the more powerful, resourceful and influential one is, better is the track record of defiance of both God and man made laws.

Though in our short history of six decades, there has never been dearth of scams but the elite case in point here is the fake degree holding lawmakers. When masterminds of 'Enlightened Ignorance' enforced the rule that the legislatures of Islamic Republic of Pakistan should have the graduate representatives of poor masses, it would not have occurred in their wildest dreams that some of the honourable members would trash in through the rubbish heaps of shady degrees from garbage bins of dishonesty.

It is an extremely distressing thought that nothing would happen to them and all will enjoy the joyride on the cost of poor people's taxes. Abid Sher Ali, MNA, head of National Assembly's Standing Committee for Education, has now issued a statement that he would get the verification process initiated for all government departments including the defence forces.

Being a retired Army soldier, one can say with complete confidence that this is already being done religiously in Pakistan Army for all cadres. Verification of educational certificates/degrees is in vogue for officers induction since long and after raising the standard to Matric as the pre-requisite for induction as a soldier, the process has become a routine for soldier entry as well.

Under matrics can join as cooks and tradesmen only but their middle standard certificates are verified from respective DEOs. Government-approved Army instructions are applied consistently and every certificate (for officer/soldier entry) is verified from the respective educational board/university.

Fake certificate/degree holders are thrown out instantly and made to pay back the amounts spent on/paid to them (Isn't it a discrimination that those who set the rules violate it deliberately and others are made to account for their misdeeds insistently?)

In certain cases, defaulters with pretty long service have also been discharged. (And this despite the fact that the most of the candidates aspiring to join the Army as Officers/Other Ranks come from low middle to poor classes of the society).

Mr Abid Sher Ali may verify this from the Army Headquarters but can he ensure the same treatment which Army administers to the defaulters, to his colleagues? We can also very safely assume that same criterion applies to the Pakistan Navy and the Pakistan Air Force as well. Strict application of law is not exclusive to the armed forces only; it is equally applicable to all poor and have-nots of the country.

All laws are for them to observe, it is only the privileged class of leaders who are exempted. The poor masses of this Islamic Republic are required to go by the law, coerced by the government machinery, plundered by the leaders, harassed by the influential and there is no one to listen to their cries.

They may commit suicides, may die through hunger or disgrace, who cares? Mullah trained death squads kill them in dozens in the Masjids, Khanqahs, on the roads and public places. So-called services, the police, revenue, justice and other government departments annihilate them day in and day out. Isn't it ironical that the government servants pay more taxes than the richest of the rich of this country and in certain cases monthly income tax of a grade 17 government employee is more than the yearly return of big ones? Why and for how long this will go on? Aren't we heading towards a bloody revolution? Do we really understand that the day the poor will rise there shall be no hiding place for anyone? Jeddah, Dubai, London, Madrid and North America may be places too far; instead trash containers may be the real destiny for many. Shouldn't we change for better; for us, the country and the nation?

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Action against fake degree holders from 7th
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will on Thursday hand over to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the first batch of fake degrees of thirty-seven federal and provincial legislators during their preliminary meeting scheduled on 5th August after which ECP would start its formal action against the fake degree holders from 7th August. This comes two months after the task of verification of the educational certificates of all the MPs was assigned to it.

According to the reliable sources in HEC, ECP has asked HEC to submit its report on verification of degrees after which it would start taking formal action against the fake degree holders as ordered by the apex court. "It's basically a maiden meeting and also a beginning of our collaborative process in which we would decide the future roadmap of the process," said the source.

The HEC focal person Rahim Bux Channa would provide detailed information about the fake degree holders that will include the name of educational institution which issued such document, the authority or official of such institution who signed such document and the grounds with regard to the degrees being fake or genuine.

A source said that the HEC would attach with its conclusion the reports about the thirty-seven MPs that it received from universities concerned, which established that their degrees were counterfeit. The official said that the Federal Education Ministry did not figure anywhere in this process because the ECP would proceed on the report of the HEC without the involvement of any other organization. Although the HEC has sent some of its findings to the Education Ministry, the ECP has not asked the latter for any kind of assistance or record, he added.

He said that the HEC has ignored the education minister's assertion that it should avoid approaching the ECP directly on the issue of the counterfeit degrees and should route its reports through the ministry.

The official said that the ECP would provide any kind of documents that the HEC would require to realize the process of verification of the remaining degrees especially those that the HEC feels are doubtful. All HEC questions would be addressed, he said.

He said that although the ECP has been hearing a lot about the HEC findings regarding fake degrees whose number has kept ranging from thirty-seven to sixty-one, it would be the first time that the HEC would put before the ECP its details relating to different categories of certificates.

"The process of verification of degrees could have been completed weeks ago if only the graduation degree was to be verified but we have asked the universities to verify the matriculation and intermediate degrees as well besides the National Identity Card (NIC) of the MPs," the source said.

"There are three categories of degrees - one that have been confirmed by the universities as genuine, second which are fake and third that are doubtful," he said adding that considering the number of MPs, 1,170, the tally of bogus and dubious certificates is not very high.

The official said that on receiving the HEC report about thirty-seven bogus degrees, the ECP's designated officer would issue notices to their holders. "They would be asked to produce the facts in black and white to establish that they were not guilty. For the ECP, everyone would be innocent unless proved guilty."

He said that the ECP would not accept the HEC findings as final and would hold its own inquiry about each and every degree declared by the HEC to be fake. He said that the ECP's designated official would give personal hearing to every such legislator.

HEC focal person RB Channa conceded that he was going to attend the meeting with ECP where they would discuss the future roadmap as to how both commissions could go forward in a better way. "We are not really clear about the agenda but we are taking all relevant data with us," he said.

Both the ECP and National Assembly Standing Committee on Education Chairman Abid Sher Ali delegated the job of verification of MPs' degrees to the HEC. Initially, they worked in unison but Abid Sher has now expressed dissatisfaction over the ECP's working and wants to file a reference against it. The official said that like the Education Ministry, the standing committee would also not figure in the ECP's proceedings based on the HEC report.

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HEC clarifies news item
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) clarified a news item appeared on August 1, 2010 titled 'HEC wants NA body to move SC against Sindh Varsity', says a press release. The press release said that the news item is not based on facts, as HEC did not ask the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education to move the Supreme Court against any university as was reported. It said that the HEC was satisfied with the verification process being carried out by the universities. It sought verifications based on a consistent criterion from all universities. Incomplete responses sent by the certain universities had been sent back to the universities. All the universities had been cooperating with the HEC and once the verification process was completed, the role of HEC in this regard would come to an end.

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Varsities observe 'Black Day'
Lahore: The public sector universities across the country observed a black day against the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on the call of Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) which had been demanding withdrawal of new eligibility criteria for varsity teachers and recognition of local journals.

In Lahore, the executive councils of PU Academic Staff Association and UET Lahore also held a joint demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club and protested against the HEC.

A delegation, led by FAPUASA President Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar, also met HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi who was on a visit to the Punjab University (PU) on Tuesday. It is learnt the delegation was assured that the genuine demands would be duly considered by the HEC.

Meanwhile, HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi, addressing a joint meeting of all the deans, directors, chairmen, principals and professors of the Punjab University on Tuesday, said the Commission was playing a crucial role in bringing higher education within the easy access of local people. The news

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