HEC starts to feel the heat
PU, Sindh University not able to meet HEC's deadline
Lahore, July 19: The arrest of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Javaid Leghari's younger brother
Farooq Leghari and the 'non-cooperative attitude' of some universities have put
the HEC left feeling the heat, thus creating doubts that the verification
process of parliamentarians' degrees will not be completed in the coming months.
However, the most disappointing event this week has been the
dissatisfaction and reservation expressed by the HEC regarding the verification
processes being carried out by some varsities, with the commission having sent
back various degrees to universities for re-evaluation. According to the HEC,
some universities have been unable to verify the degrees according to the
According to educational experts, certain
elements not in favour of the verification exercise have been seemingly
successful in hindering the process, subsequently forcing the HEC chairman to
seek help from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to resolve various matters and
hurdles in the verification process.
On the pretext of his brother's
arrest, and due to pressure from parliamentarians, there are rumors that the HEC
chairman may possibly be submitting his resignation to the prime minister.
According to sources, the HEC chairman had been receiving threats from some
parliamentarians from Sindh and he had, in this connection, written a letter to
the prime minister, who thereafter showed his willingness to meet the chairman.
The PM stated that there was no pressure on the HEC chairman from the
government and the government would not allow "corrupt parliamentarians" and
fake degree holders to be successful in their agendas. The dilemma, however, is
that if the HEC chairman actually decides to quit, it is expected that no other
official will take the position and stand against these corrupt elements,
depriving the Election Commission of Pakistan of its desired results.
these circumstances, we see that there are two options for the authorities
engaged in the degree verification process. For one, the authorities could take
action against the administrations of universities that are not cooperating and
are using delaying tactics to hinder the verification process.
National Assembly Standing Committee on Education had instructed the HEC to
submit the final verification report regarding all degrees by July 16. The HEC,
following the instructions, sent the degrees to various universities for
verification. However, from all the verified degrees received, the HEC found
that only 200 of them had been verified according to proper criteria.
There is also an issue regarding parliamentarians, who had till now not
submitted their degrees to the HEC for verification, thus further delaying the
Although checking degrees is a routine matter for them,
some universities are still asking for more time in order to complete the
The worrisome thing is that it is the varsities'
administrations that are giving a hard time to the HEC and there is a severe
need to expose the corrupt officials delaying the process and the elements who
are further supporting and guiding them.
Deadline: The PU and Sindh
University are among the institutes that were not able to meet the HEC deadline
for the degree verification process.
Another thing that can not be
ignored is that the varsities engaged in this verification process, especially
the PU, are also facing allegations of corruption. High-raking officials,
including deans and directors, are allegedly involved in corruption and teachers
are said to in pass students illegally.
Corruption stories of teachers
who hold PhD degrees have not only astonished the nation, but even the fake
degree holders are questioning the recent corruption in inquiries at the PU. The
civil society too is demanding that the PU VC complete the process by not
engaging corrupt officials, and by not allowing these elements to visit his
office or the degree-verification cells until the process is
Although PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran is doing
his best to complete the process with transparency, with even the HEC
acknowledging his efforts, it is still hard to ignore all the corruption being
perpetrated at the varsity. The second solution to overcome this corruption is
that the government identifies the parliamentarians who are pressurising the
varsities, thus restoring the HEC chairman's confidence and fully exposing the
corruption before the entire nation.
There is a dire need for the
government, specially the president and the prime minister, to focus on the
issue and to ask the authorities concerned to present their final reports in
this regard so that a judicial process can be initiated against fake degree
holders. Daily times
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Sindh University protecting fake degree holders, thinks HEC
Islamabad: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) suspects that the Sindh
University is protecting fake degree holders as it needs almost two months for
verification of degrees sent by the HEC.
Sources in the HEC confided that the Sindh University management was approached by the Commission
on Saturday but it was non-cooperative and indifferent.
officials, it is said, spoke not only to the controversial Vice Chancellor of
the Sindh University Dr Nazir Mughal but also to its controller but their
responses were found to be discouraging.
"We think they want to hide the
facts," a senior Commission source said, adding that the vice chancellor, when
approached, appeared totally oblivious of the deficiencies in the Sindh
University's verification of over 100 degrees of parliamentarians already
rejected by the HEC.
The source said that Dr Nazir Mughal told the
commission official, who contacted him, to talk to the university controller.
The controller, however, sought two months' time to complete the verification
process to the satisfaction of the HEC.
"We were told by the Sindh
University that the verification as per the requirement of the HEC could not be
done in days or a few weeks' time though none of the universities had said so,"
the source said, adding that the HEC, however, did not agree with Sindh
Next week, the HEC sources said, the commission
would again approach the Sindh University to do the needful at the earliest
instead of using dillydallying tactics.
The Sindh University is said to
be under the influence of the provincial government, which has started using all
sorts of third-rate arm-twisting tactics to stop Prof Dr Javed Leghari, HEC
Chairman, from verifying the degrees of members of parliament particularly from
Javed Leghari, who is so far braving all sorts of pressures
exerted on him, is determined to complete his job honestly and fairly. He is
being pressurised to resign and in order to bring him in line, the provincial
government has arrested his younger brother on hastily half-cooked corruption
A number of his family servants have too been reportedly
apprehended by the police, his farm house in Hyderabad was also raided besides
sending him threatening messages.
All this state hostility against the
HEC chairman has reportedly been let loose to secure from disqualification a
large number of provincial assembly members and some high profile PPP leaders
The HEC chairman has sought a meeting with the prime minister
to discuss the fake degree issues. Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, however, told the
media on Saturday that he had yet to receive the HEC chairman's request for the
meeting but hinted that he would call Javed Leghari for a meeting in a couple of
days and would not allow anybody to victimise anyone.
It is yet to be
seen whether the prime minister could do anything when the home minister Sindh
and close confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, Zulfiqar Mirza, is already
being blamed by the Chairman NA Standing Committee on Education for harassing
Javed Leghari's family.
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Punjab varsity given deadline to verify 133 degrees
Lahore: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has given a deadline of July 28,
2010 to the Punjab University (PU) to complete the verification of remaining 133
degrees of parliamentarians.
Earlier, the commission had given a
deadline of July 13, 2010 to the PU to complete the verification of 313 degrees
which the varsity could not achieve, as it could only send back 217 degrees out
of which six were declared fake by the university.
Meanwhile, a Punjab
University spokesman on Saturday said the varsity would send back around 65 more
degrees after verification to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) by 20th or
21st July, adding the remaining 68 would be sent back to the HEC within a week's
He further said earlier 217 degrees were sent back to the HEC
after verification, adding not a single of these degrees had been received back
by the PU.
It is pertinent to mention here that the PU had returned the
photocopies of degrees of eight parliamentarians to the HEC owing to their
vagueness and illegibility while the same degrees are yet to be received by the
According to the sources, the PU is expected to receive more
degrees from the HEC for verification in the coming days, as degrees of a number
of prominent MPs who graduated from the PU were yet to be received by the
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HEC to submit report on degrees to NA Committee, EC
Islamabad: Higher Education Commission (HEC) will submit report on verification
of degrees of the parliamentarians to National Standing Committee on Education
and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today.
Higher Education Commission Sohail H. Naqvi said the HEC will submit report on
verification of degrees as per plan.
Adviser on Quality Assurance and
Learning Innovation HEC Dr Mehmood Raza said that the Chairman HEC would send a
series of reports after verification of degrees to the National Standing
Committee on Education and the Election Commission.
HEC was given a
deadline to finalise a report by last Friday by the parliamentary committee,
which has initiated across the board checking of academic qualifications of all
According to HEC 939 copies of degrees were sent for
verification out of which 736 were received back. The universities have verified
699 degrees as genuine and 37 as fake.
Another 168 degrees have still to
HEC is still engaged in the verification of the information
provided by different universities, deeni madaris and foreign
The Commission would forward the final report to the NA
Standing Committee and the Election Commission, which would make the names
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Convicted fake degree holders to face eight-year ban
Islamabad: A phony degree holding federal or provincial legislator, who would be
awarded three-year imprisonment for this corrupt practice, would stand debarred
from contesting elections for at least eight years, legal experts
Previously, such a convict faced an extended ban on being a
candidate for any elected body but the bar has been significantly curtailed
courtesy the 18th Amendment, said one expert. The Article, 63(h), inserted into
the Constitution by the 18th Amendment, says a person shall be disqualified from
being elected or chosen as, and from being a member of parliament if he has
been, on conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to
imprisonment for a term not less than two years, unless a period of five years
has elapsed since his release.
This means that there would be
disqualification at all to vie for an elected slot if the sentence is less than
two years. Additionally, a lawmaker, after undergoing his three-year sentence
imposed on him for possessing a bogus degree, would become qualified to contest
elections five years after his release from prison on the exhaustion of his
term. Immediately after the enactment of the 18th Amendment, this and some other
clauses of Article 63 evoked a sweeping attack from public circles for giving a
clean chit to those convicted on highly serious criminal charges, including
murder and rape, and for acting in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of
Pakistan or sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan or integrity or
independence of the judiciary or for defaming or bringing into ridicule the
judiciary or the armed forces.
Experts say that the Representation of
People's Act (RPA) 1976 provides three-year sentence to be awarded by a district
and sessions judge for the "corrupt practice" of having a counterfeit degree.
Such a convict has the right to file an appeal before a division bench,
comprising two judges of the high court. After that, he can also approach the
Idrees Ashraf, advocate, says the Section 100 of the RPA,
which deals with disqualification of MPs on account of certain offences, allows
the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to make an order that a legislator having
been convicted by a court of law for any offence specified in the law would be
disqualified for such a period not exceeding five years from being or from being
elected as a member of an assembly.
Experts point out that the earlier
conviction under the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance also carried
a 21-year disqualification to contest elections. This period was later reduced
to 10 years through an amendment in the NAB law.
However, they say, this
provision of the NAB ordinance has become redundant after the promulgation of
the 18th Amendment, in the case of those disqualified under this law.
for example, someone is sentenced to one year under the NAB law, he would not
stand disqualified to contest elections for 10 years. In fact, he would not be
disqualified at all because the term of sentence is less than two years.
However, in case of his conviction for two or more years under the NAB
ordinance, he would be qualified five years after his release from prison.
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Seven KP MPAs accused of having fake degrees
Peshawar: Out of the total 124 in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly including one female
lawmaker elected on reserved seat have been accused of having fake degrees. Two
members of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl including Gulistan Khan and minority member
Kishor Kumar have already been disqualified.
Three provincial ministers
have also been accused of having fake graduation degrees. They include Sher Azam
Khan Wazir and Rahimdad Khan, both belonging to the ruling Pakistan People's
Party, and Syed Aqil Shah, a minister from the Awami National Party. All of them
have rejected reports that their degrees were a fake.
member of the provincial assembly from Swabi, Sardar Ali Khan has also been
accused of having a fake degree. Two women lawmakers are being mentioned in
connection with the fake degrees.
However, the name of the bogus degree
holder could not be ascertained. The senior minister Rahimdad Khan claimed his
degree was valid but some people wanted to damage his reputation through such
However, he observed that such elements would not succeed in
their designs. Amid claims and counterclaims regarding the degrees of the
lawmakers, the ANP-led provincial government is reported to have prepared a
summary to summon the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly session to discuss the
existing situation and pass certain important bills.
An elected MPA said on the condition of anonymity that he did not know the exact figure of
the fake degree- holders but the number of such legislators would not affect the
existing structure of the government and the assembly.
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Nawaz flays govt attitude towards HEC chairman
Islamabad: The chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Mohammad Nawaz
Sharif has taken serious exception to coercion and intimidation that the
People's Party-led government is allegedly perpetrating on the Chairman Higher
Education Commission Javed Leghari in a bid to prevent him from performing his
duty with honesty and a sense of highly professional and national
"I warn the government to refrain from its threatening
conduct against a dutiful officer who has set examples of truthful working in
evaluating academic degrees of lawmakers that ought to be emulated by all
government officials in discharge of their duty," Nawaz Sharif said in a
He said the way, the government is using coercive tactics
against the HEC chairman, speaks high of its vested interests that it wants to
serve in the degree assessment process.He said the arrest and release of his
brother Farooq Leghari and the attempt to assault his village in Sindh only
exposes the government design of exploiting the process to serve vested
interests of the government.
"I understand Mr Javed Leghari has set
higher standards of truthful professionalism in refusing to accept the
government dictates and work on merit and worthy dispensation alone," Sharif
Pakistan, the PML-N chief said, needs officers like Javed Legahri
in striking a balance between commendable conduct and wrongdoing for which he
deserves the highest praise. The government will be well advised to shun its
behaviour that points out to deriving certain nefarious political designs out of
the degree evaluation process. He said the PML-N is fully alert to the situation
and will in no way allow the government to manipulate wrong from the process.
Sharif said that any attempt to destabilise and undermine the democratic order
will meet an irresistible opposition that will ultimately frustrate the
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Quaideen support HEC chief Dr Lagharia
Islamabad: Quaideen, the Alumni Association of Quaid-i-Azam University,
has expressed solidarity with Dr. Javaid Laghari, chairman of the Higher
Education Commission (HEC), against whom the Sindh government is applying
tremendous pressure to stop the process of verification of degrees of senators,
MNAs and MPAs.
In a statement, the QAU old students body said that the
HEC or its chairperson do not have a major role in the verification process. It
was the superior judiciary which asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to
get the degrees of legislators verified when the number of fake degree-holders
started inflating. The Quaideen said that the ECP had no option but to ask the
HEC and its chief to implement the court orders.
The Quaideen lauded the
services of the HEC chairman for making the process of verification of academic
testimonials of elected representatives of the people transparent and asked the
democratic governments in the centre and provinces to desist from taking any
action which protects the politicians who sneaked into the elected houses by
obtaining bogus degrees to fulfil the graduation condition inserted in the body
of law by a military dictator.
The alumni also asked the government and
judiciary to also get degrees of military officers, judiciary, bureaucracy and
It expressed its surprise that when most of the fake
degree-holders belong to PML-N, why the Sindh government became so harsh only
because the HEC head belongs to Sindh.
It lamented that when the
petitions challenging fake degrees soon after 2002 elections had been decided by
courts in time, many would not have dared to obtain more such degrees for the
Professor Kaleemullah, general
secretary of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff
Associations, said that though the HEC is not cooperating with FAPUASA on
accepting demands like recognising journals, upgradation, qualification
allowance and GRE condition, his federation fully backs the HEC chaiman. He said
that it is strange that instead of brining the fraudulent MPs to book, the
family and relatives of Dr. Laghari are being harassed. The news
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