Madrassa degrees not equivalent to graduation, govt tells SC

ISLAMABAD, Oct 31,: The government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that degrees awarded by madrassas were not equivalent to graduation, therefore the Election Commission's July 29, 2002 notification permitting madrassa-degree holders to contest the elections was invalid.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard petitions on Tuesday challenging the validity of madrassa degrees held by parliamentarians, most of whom belong to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). "The Higher Education Commission (HEC) accepted the madrassa degrees only for teaching purposes, while declaring that clerics would have to pass two optional and compulsory subjects each to attain BA equivalence certificates," Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sardar Muhammad Ghazi told the Supreme Court.

The chief justice asked the DAG if he knew the repercussion of his statement. Ghazi responded by saying he was just stating the government's stance on the matter. No one was present in the courtroom to defend the respondents. Upon the completion of the hearing, the Supreme Court reserved judgment. Sixty-eight parliamentarians including seven senators of the MMA possess madrassa degrees. Many madrassa degree holders from other parties contested the 2002 elections. Daily Times

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