Supreme Court verdict on fake degrees
Is the SC verdict on fake degrees being sabotaged?
Islamabad, July 22: The recent Supreme Court judgment that obligated verification of MPs'
degrees by the Election Commission envisages no role whatsoever of the Education
Ministry that has now been asked to oversee, or impede, the work of the Higher
Education Commission (HEC).
The June 14 ruling exclusively left it to the
ECP to get the genuineness of the degrees checked, without naming any
organization to do this job, a plain reading of the judicial order
In pursuance of this decision, the ECP approached the HEC for
authentication of the degrees because it found the HEC the only government
establishment dealing with such matters relating to the universities.
is the ECP that will be answerable to the apex court when the latter will call
it to explain the progress on the implementation of its decision, and the
Education Ministry will have nothing to do on this count, Idrees Ashraf
Paragraph 17 of the judgment is quite explicit
about the verification of the degrees. It reads: "Shouldn't it then be incumbent
upon the ECP, in discharge of its constitutional obligations to guard against
corrupt practices, to launch prosecution of persons who stood accused of the
commission of the same. Needless to say that punishment and consequent
disqualification of such-like persons would not be an act undermining the
dignity and the majesty of the Houses of Legislature but an act in aid of
enhancing the same."
The next paragraph says, "The ECP is, therefore,
directed to initiate action against all such persons who are accused of
commission of corrupt practices; of committing forgery and of using, as genuine,
documents which they knew or at least had reason to believe to be forged. The
ECP shall ensure that the investigations in these matters are conducted
honestly, efficiently and expeditiously and shall depute one of its senior
officers to supervise the same."
The sessions judges to whom these trials
shall then be entrusted, are also directed to conclude the same without any
delay. In any case, it should not take each sessions judge who gets seized with
the matter more than three months to conclude the same.
Although the apex
court verdict is clear and provides no room for any role of his ministry,
Education Minister Sardar Asseff Ahmed Ali has been quoted as saying in an
interview to an English daily that he would go through the detailed judgment and
would see how his ministry should act in coming days.
The HEC Chairman Dr
Javed Leghari explained at length during his recent meeting with Prime Minister
Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani that whatever he was doing for authentication of the
degrees of the MPs was in accordance with the apex court ruling and the HEC law.
But the minister has accused him of not following the prescribed
If Sardar Asseff involves Law Minister Babar Awan in this process
as he has vowed, the matter of verification of degrees would be dragged as has
done about the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment against the National
Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) especially the reopening of money laundering
cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in Switzerland.
according to the Supreme Court decision the only body that, under the law, can
move against those possessing phony degrees, is the ECP after the charge is
conclusively established against them. They say that the National Assembly
Committee on Education, which is vigorously working to expose the fake degree
holding MPs, has no power to approach a court of law seeking disqualification of
any such federal or provincial legislator on this charge.
Secretary Kanwar Dilshad said the June 14 judgment has authoritatively
interpreted election laws which make it mandatory for the ECP to proceed against
the bogus degree holders. He said the decision elaborated the corrupt practices,
which was never done before.
He said that the ECP could not directly
disqualify any MP on the charge of holding fake degree and it has powers to file
a case with the sessions judge to prosecute him. Such prosecution can earn him
Dilshad said the ECP could seek the assistance
of any government institution as it has now done in the case of the HEC in the
performance of its legal and constitutional functions. The news
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HEC to act against 'irresponsible' VCs
Lahore: Fear of action against the vice chancellors (VC), who
verified the degrees of parliamentarians without following the criteria set out
by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), has forced the varsities'
administrations to strictly start overlooking the degree verification process,
while also checking the Matriculation and Intermediate records of
parliamentarians, learnt on Wednesday.
The administrations of
the universities that are engaged in verifying the degrees are also worried
after not getting any relaxation with regards to the deadline given by the HEC.
More records: Some varsities, including the Punjab University (PU), have
asked the HEC to also send them the Matriculation and Intermediate records of
All the universities engaged in the degree verification
process have increased the pace of their work after the announcement of
disciplinary action by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education and
the HEC, which will be taken against the varsities not verifying the degrees
according to the HEC's criteria. According to some sources within the HEC, a
plan has been devised to take action against the VCs of those varsities who have
been 'disturbing' the verification processes, have been unable to meet the HEC's
deadline and have been irresponsible while checking the degrees. They said the
HEC had suffered a lot due to the irresponsibility of the VCs, many of which
sent back the degrees without verifying them as per the commission's criteria.
Due to this attitude of several varsities, the HEC has now sent back the
degrees to the universities for re-evaluation, the sources said, adding that
more than 500 degrees were sent back to the universities for re-evaluation,
which included PU, Allama Iqbal Open University, Karachi University, Sindh
University and Balochistan University, and some universities from Peshawar as
well. They said that an inquiry would be held against the VCs who have shown
irresponsibility and have ignored the HEC's instructions regarding the degree
After the announcement of this inquiry, the
varsities have started taking the task seriously, while some have also written
to the HEC, asking them to send further documents for verification. The PU also
wrote to the HEC, asking for Intermediate certificates of around 18
parliamentarians. The PU Public Relations director said that the names of these
18 parliamentarians have not been disclosed, as per the university's
According to a PU spokesman, the committee that is verifying the
degrees has 'doubts' over the bachelor's degrees and has therefore asked for the
Intermediate certificates of the parliamentarians to be reviewed as well. It is
important to mention here that there are still 78 parliamentarians' degrees
still left to be reviewed at PU, while the verification report of 2,809
parliamentarians' degrees has already been sent to the HEC, amongst which 11
degrees had been declared fake.
Separately, sources from the HEC said
that the varsities' demand to provide Matriculation and Intermediate
certificates was "astonishing", since all of them had submitted the reviewed
degrees earlier without seeking these certificates.
The sources said
that the VCs had already been told not to show any reluctance in verifying the
degrees. "The VCs, however, ignored the HEC's instructions after which the
commission asked the varsities to send back the degrees so the commission could
itself check the degrees following the proper criteria," they said, adding that
the HEC has denied all requests of the varsities for extending the deadline and
have instructed the varsities to complete the degrees' verification by July 23. Daily times
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SU seeks speaker's help for degree scrutiny
Islamabad: University of Sindh has asked speaker
of Sindh Assembly Nisar Khuhro to assist it in properly scrutinising the
educational qualifications of lawmakers.
It has been learned that
the university has failed to find even a single fake degree because it has not
been following the criteria set by Higher Education Commission for verifying the
academic qualifications of lawmakers.
Sources said that after the HEC
rejected the university's initial report that gave a clean chit to its 105
graduate legislators, the university has started the exercise all over again and
decided to follow the prescribed rules.
Now instead of only relying on
details which the Election Commission has provided to it through the HEC, the
Sindh University has asked Mr Khuhro's office to provide educational particulars
of assembly members.
According to the special form which the HEC has
formulated for the purpose, the universities need to check the graduate-level
degrees as well as verify the lawmakers' matriculation and intermediate
certificates and their computerised national identity cards.
the verification of signatures of vice-chancellors concerned has also been
declared mandatory for the process.
Surprisingly, the university had initially sent an "all
OK" report about the educational claims of 105 lawmakers who largely belonged to
the Sindh Assembly.
The Balochistan University which has 56 graduate
legislators had sent a similar report to the HEC which was rejected by the
commission. According to the sources, Sindh and Balochistan assemblies will be
more affected as result of ongoing verification process.
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Balochistan minister's degree termed fake
Karachi: Karachi University dispatched its report on the verification of
lawmakers' academic certificates to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on
Wednesday after declaring one educational degree fake.
degree declared fake was that of Mohammad Khan Toor, a provincial minister from
It is worth noting that the KU had received a second batch
of academic certificates of 16 lawmakers for verification a few days ago. Of
them, 14 were declared genuine a day earlier.
Dr Nasiruddin Khan, KU pro
vice chancellor said that the university completed its task much before
the July 27 deadline that had been given to it.
credentials of Sindh MPA Shama Arif Mithani are found to be genuine. However, no
examination record of Mr Toor could be found at the university," he said.
Earlier, the university had declared 105 degrees out of 106 genuine. The
case related to Yaqub Bazenjo, an MPA from Balochistan, was not looked into on
the grounds that it is pending in court. Dawn
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PU seeks MPs certificates
Lahore: The Punjab University has requested the Higher Education Commission to furnish the
record of intermediate examination certificates of 18 parliamentarians in order
to complete the verification of their degrees. According to the spokesman of the
Punjab University on Wednesday, the university, at present, is carrying out
verification of 78 parliamentarians while verification report about the degrees
of 280 parliamentarians has already been sent to the HEC. The news
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