Fake degrees of parliamentarians
Bogus educational certificates of parliamentarians
Lahore, July 26: The mountain of evidence coming from country's legislatures during the
last two months or so that over 10 per cent of legislators are possessing phony
degrees, as it may just be the tip of an iceberg as nobody actually knows as to
how many politicians, doctors, lawyers, journalists, scientists, educationists
and engineers etc may still be holding prized offices in both public and private
sectors by falsifying on their resumes.
Similarly, in absence of any
state oversight to determine the validity of the claims by job applicants or
those seeking promotions at the departments falling within its domain, the
federal government is yet to issue concrete policy guidelines to initiate action
against any of the public sector employees, who may have been pompous about
their foreign degrees—many of which may turn out to be mere diplomas if a
thorough enquiry is conducted. In fact, no orders have surfaced yet from the
government, under which it could be compulsory for all public sector departments
to get the educational credentials of their respective employees verified from
the degree-issuing authorities.
It goes without saying that the private
sector may soon take the lead in this regard for its own good, but it is
imperative that a government policy is announced for the government staffers,
who are actually holding the reins of the state's administrative machinery and
framing policies. It is irony that no steps have also been taken by the federal
government till date to investigate the extent of the problem and prevent the
high-profile fraudsters thriving like pests on its pay roll, from playing with
the lives and destiny of Pakistanis.
With Pakistan likely to be
inundated with bogus educational certificates, the Education Ministry would
rather do well at this point of time to take a leaf out of India's book to curb
the menace of forged degrees, instead of slating the Higher Education Commission
hierarchy for exposing the counterfeiters proposing and making laws in country's
assemblies. In January 2004, the University Grants Commission of India requested
all the Indian universities to get computer micro chips installed on degrees
awarded to their students, in a bid to avoid the circulation of fake university
degrees. The theme of this idea was to store all information pertaining to a
particular student in microchips, which could then be embedded in the official
degrees awarded by the university.
According to this concept, particulars
like the student's name, name of the university, title of the course, marks
secured and year of passing etc, were to be stored on the chip, which could then
be read through special screening devices attached to a computer to check the
nuisance of sham degrees and hence minimize the chances of degrees being
duplicated. This idea, though deemed extremely feasible by experts at the time
it was floated, could not be executed in India because of the fact that the
country had one of the largest networks of higher education found anywhere in
the world with over 320 universities and 16,500 colleges falling under its
Lack of finances remained the major hurdle in executing
this idea of awarding hi-tech degrees in India during these last six years or
so, because to implement this initiative of the University Grants Commission of
India, New Delhi would then have to install the special screening devices at all
venues where there was a need to verify the authenticity of the
In Pakistan's case, given the much smaller size of its higher
education network, this idea of issuing degrees with embedded microchips could
at least be borrowed from India.
Post your comments
HEC chairman cannot be sacked, says Atta
Islamabad: The founding Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr
Atta-ur-Rehman, has comprehensively spelled out the commission's status,
specially when it has been put under undue pressure by the government on the
fake degrees issue.
"The government's whim to gain a political control
over the HEC like other institutions is almost impossible with its incumbent
team, from top to bottom, comprising well-reputed, honest and clean
professionals who are unflinching in discharging their responsibilities," Rehman
said on Saturday in a detailed talk.
He made it clear that the
HEC Chairman, Dr Javed Leghari, Executive Director Sohail Naqvi and all members
not only enjoy a legal protection but are also fully capable to counter
politically-oriented moves to make the commission answerable to Ministry of
Education. "The HEC can not be pressurised on political basis," he
The degrees verification, he said, has caused a panic among
political circles despite the fact that the HEC is fulfilling its obligations in
accordance with existing laws and the Supreme Court judgment. "The HEC is an
organisation indigestible for those wishing to establish a controlled and
manageable body," he said.
He explained that the laws provide a legal
shield to HEC Chairman Dr Leghari to continue for four-year from the day he
assumed his position. "He, being a competent person, is lucky to have a team,
put in place on merit, to face and reject all kind of pressure."
went on to say that HEC is passing through the verification of degrees of the
parliamentarians to pave way to punish the elements who submitted phoney
documents. "Education ministry is playing a political game by obtaining control
over the degrees, totally illegal and unfair," he said.
He said HEC,
carrying out an appreciative verification task, has not committed a crime that
the government and specifically the education ministry is targeting its bosses.
"Dr Leghari is not a political man but a professional, and his team, inducted in
my tenure, is competent to defy education ministry's illegal orders and come up
to the peoples wishes to expose fake degrees holders," he said.
he said, is purely an independent and autonomous body achieving an excellence in
education field among International Universities since its establishment in
2002. "Only prime minister is the appointing authority for HEC chairman but he
cannot remove him except under two conditions, mental condition of sitting
person or on corruption charges," he said.
Rehman said that Dr Leghari is
mentally sound and has never indulged in any corruption.
HEC, he said,
is neither a subordinate department of any ministry including education
department nor is it responsible to comply with directives of other institution
except to implement the court order or respond to prime minister.
recalled that HEC replaced University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2002 ending a
rein of exploitation on part of the education ministry when it worked under it.
"Every one knows what a gory picture our universities presented at that times,"
he said. He expressed fears that the government was trying to have managed the
HEC by bringing it under the education ministry. "This step will be destructive
and tantamount to ruining the education," he said.
The government, he
said, would have to change the laws if it wanted to achieve its nefarious goals.
"Changing laws is not so easy as the people are now aware of the role of HEC
which has made remarkable achievements," he said.
Rehman, a pioneer of
HEC since it was established in 2002, had resigned from HEC chairmanship in 2008
in the era of present PPP led government in protest against the non-provision of
the grants to the students sent abroad on scholarships. "Had I not resigned, no
one could have removed or terminated me from the position," he said.
Post your comments
Experts blast education minister for interfering in HEC
Islamabad: Legal experts say neither the Federal Education Ministry nor its
minister finds any mention in the 3,112-word Higher Education Commission (HEC)
Ordinance 2002, and no role has been provided in its affairs in any
They say if the Education Ministry had any relevance under the
HEC ordinance or any other law for verification of degrees, the Supreme Court
would have referred to it in its last month's judgment in the Rizwan Gull case
in which the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was directed to check the
MPs' certificates and prosecute the cheats.
expert Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood said that the HEC's role was different
from that of the Education Ministry.Tariq Mehmood said that the HEC report on
degrees would be acceptable in any court of law while the ministry's findings
would have no weight.
"Primarily, it is the job of the HEC to verify
degrees and the Education Ministry or education minister does not figure
anywhere," he added.Another expert referred to a case currently before the
Supreme Court relating to the degrees of two MPs of Balochistan in which it has
sent their certificates to the HEC, not the Education Ministry, for
After the 18th Amendment, he said, the Education Ministry's
role has been further eroded because the subject of education is to be handled
by the provinces.These comments contradict the position taken by Education
Minister Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali to gain control over the HEC, especially in
relations to the process of verification of university degrees of the lawmakers
is alien to the HEC ordinance.
However, the prime minister, who has been
named as the controlling authority in the law, has powers but even he can't sack
the HEC chairman except for the specific reasons listed in the
Under Section 6, the HEC chief may not be removed from office
before the expiry of his four-year term, save on proven charges of corruption,
inefficiency, permanent disability or failure to attend two consecutive HEC
meetings without intimation in advance. The chairperson or any member may, by
writing under his hand addressed to the controlling authority, resign from his
According to its preceding section, the prime minister appoints a
person of international eminence and proven ability who has made significant
contribution to higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator, as HEC
chairman on such terms and conditions as he may determine.At no place in the
ordinance, the prime minister has been given unbridled powers by the law as
Section 3 says he "may supervise" the HEC affairs.
The law does not allow
the controlling authority to overrule any decision taken by the HEC. However,
under Section 4, he may refer any of its decision to the HEC for
reconsideration. All HEC decisions are to be expressed in terms of the opinion
of the majority of its members present and voting. In the event of an equality
of votes, the chairperson or, as the case may be, the member presiding the
meeting has a casting vote.
A careful reading of the law makes it clear
that the HEC is an autonomous body having been assigned a specialized job that
can't be interfered or tampered with by any government functionary leave aside
the exuberant education minister.
In the opening of the ordinance,
spelling out the objective of its promulgation, brings in its ambit the work of
verifying the genuineness or otherwise of university degrees of their holders.
It says whereas in the interest of improvement and promotion of higher
education, research and development, it is expedient to provide for the
establishment of HEC and for matters connected therewith or incidental
The section enlisting the powers and functions of the HEC
ordinance is very elaborate. Some of them justifying the process of
authenticating the MPs' degrees in which the HEC is currently engaged in causing
a storm in the official quarters says, for the evaluation, improvement, and
promotion of higher education, research and development, the HEC will advise the
federal and provincial governments on proposals for granting a charter to award
degrees in both public and private sector; determine the equivalence and
recognition of degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by the institutions
within Pakistan and abroad; develop guidelines and facilitate the implementation
of a system of evaluation of performance of faculty members and institutions;
perform such other functions consistent with the HEC ordinance as may be
prescribed or as may be incidental or consequential to the discharging of its
Furthermore, for the evaluation, improvement, and
promotion of higher education, research and development, the HEC cause
evaluation of the performance of institutions; prepare, through consultation
with the institutions, plans for the development of higher education and express
its opinion on all matters relating thereto; prescribe conditions under which
institutions, including those that are not part of the state educational system,
may be opened and operated.
The HEC consists of the chairman, secretaries
of education, information technology and telecommunication division or
scientific and technologic research division to be nominated by the controlling
authority; four nominees of the provincial governments; seven persons of
international eminence and proven ability with significant contribution to
higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator provided that at least
one of the members will be a woman; one member to be a Rector or Vice-Chancellor
appointed by the controlling authority out of a panel of three persons suggested
by a committee consisting of all vice-chancellors of public sector universities
to be set up by the HEC and two members will be persons of eminence from the
private sector who have made significant contributions in the field of higher
education or research and development.
Post your comments
HEC gives clean chit to its senior official
Islamabad: Though Higher Education Commission (HEC) gave a clean chit to
its high-ranking official in fake degree case, but it did not provide any answer
about alleged tampering of a key digit in the degree secured in 1988, the
Well-placed sources said that the issue of fake
degree of Director Human Resource Management Malik Arshad Mehmood raised its
head some 18 months ago and HEC approached Karachi University for verification
of a degree.
Karachi University then confirmed that Malik Arshad Mehmood
secured 319 marks out of total 700 in second year annual LLB examinations held
in 1988. The copy of his degree showed that he did first year or Part I of LLB
from the Punjab University.
The copy of the degree having serial number
001242 available with 'The News' clearly showed that last digit '8' of 1988, the
year in which Malik Arshad Mehmood did his LLB, is handwritten whereas first
three digits are composed on a typewriter.
The sources said it is yet not
clear why last digit '8' in 1988 was not typed and how it was allowed to be
written by hand as there should be no permission to write it in such a manner.
One of senior officials of HEC said at that time specimens for degrees and marks
sheets were printed one time and they would use them for whole decade, adding
they print only first three digits in those degrees and marks sheets and last
digit was written by hand.
The data showed that Malik Arshad Mehmood
secured privileges and promotions on the basis of the law degree when University
Grants Commission in a letter issued on September 8, 1991 stated, "LLB degree is
a professional and such degree holders are eligible to compete for the post
where Masters degree is required qualification in the relevant field."
It is pertinent to mention here that the issue of fake degree of the
HEC's official has surfaced at a time when it is extensively involved in
verification of degrees of the elected representatives on the directives of the
HEC Director General (Accreditation and Attestation) Rahim
Bux Channa said that they verified the degree of Malik Arshad Mehmood
from Karachi University and "his degree is absolutely original and all
allegations over it are baseless." The news
Post your comments
Crucial HEC meeting on degree issue
Islamabad: Top officials of the Higher Education
Commission will hold a crucial meeting on Monday to discuss its role in the
verification of lawmakers' degrees.
The Election Commission and
the education ministry have disputed the HEC's authority to verify a university
degree issued in the country and abroad.
The HEC officials are likely to
take a tough stand on the checking of degrees at the meeting to be followed by a
press conference, according to sources.
ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan
and Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali in their recent statements
questioned the HEC's authority to verify the degrees of elected representatives.
"I think the HEC should clarify with full force its position because
with every passing day it is getting mired in the issue of degrees," said a HEC
The meeting will also discuss financial problems being faced
by the commission. The sources said that HEC Chairman Dr Javed Leghari would
brief the members on his recent meetings with the president and the prime
The HEC also is planning to verify academic certificates of
thousands of faculty members of all 132 degree-awarding universities in the
It has written to presidents, rectors and
vice-chancellors of public and private sector universities, asking them to
verify academic testimonials of their teachers, learnt through reliable
Initially, the HEC wanted to do the job by itself, but
after realising the magnitude of the assignment it asked the universities to
carry out the exercise and submit their report as soon as possible.
know it is not an appropriate time to carry out this exercise when the media is
giving too much coverage to the issue of lawmakers' degrees, but the HEC
chairman insists that it is the right time," a top official of the commission
In reply to a question about an assistant professor of the
International Islamic University whose degree of doctorate is reported to have
been found fake, the official said that an inquiry had been initiated and its
findings would be shared with the media. Dawn
Post your comments