29 MPAs in fake degree scandal

Out of a total of 371 members in the House, at least 29 legislators representing three major parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – have either been proven of having a fake academic degrees, or are suspected of the illegal act, Daily Times has learnt.

An investigative report compiled by Daily Times disclosed that three members from all three major parties have been disqualified for having fake degrees, while six members, including a woman lawmaker, have tendered their resignations from their assembly seats in a bid to save their reputes. However, at least eight lawmakers, including five women legislators, are still facing disqualification cases enlisted in the Lahore High Court under charges of having fake BA degrees, while the academic degrees of another 12 members of the provincial assembly are suspected of having fake degrees and have reportedly been challenged in different election tribunals.

The court has already disqualified three members of the Punjab Assembly, Mian Muhammad Aslam Chela of the PML-Q from PP-82 Jhang, Haji Nasir Mahmood of the PML-N from PP-111, Gujrat and Rauf Khalid of the PPP from PP-284 Bahawalnagar after it was proven that their BA degrees were fake. Six other members, including PMLQ members Ms Naghma Mushtaq Lang and Muhammad Ajmal Asif, PML-N members Mir Badshah Khan Qaisrani, Rana Mubashir Iqbal and Maher Pasha Jakrani and the PPP member Allah Wasaya alias Chunnu Khan Lughari have tendered their resignation from the Punjab Assembly in order to save their reputation after they were challenged by their opponents on the authenticity of their academic degrees.

The investigative report disclosed that different writ petitions have been filed in the LHC against provincial minister Ch Abdul Ghafoor Nagra of the PMLN from PP-161 Lahore, MPA Haji Zulfiqar Ali of the PML-N from PP-267 Bahawalpur, Mian Tariq Mahmood of the PML-Q from PP-113 Gujrat as well as five women lawmakers namely Ms Raheela Khadim Hussain, Ms Saima Mohiyuddin, Ms Mehmooda Sahi, Ms Farrah Deeba and Ms Shagufta Sheikh, in which their academic qualification and degrees have been challenged. Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, talking to Daily Times said the BA degree restriction was imposed by former president Pervez Musharraf, but the Supreme Court had given a verdict against it, “so this limitation is not compulsory for parliamentarians in future”.

Consequences: Answering a question about the fate of the PPP members holding fake degrees, he said that his party had a strong believe in transparency so the people who had used unfair means to be elected as a member of parliament must face the consequences according to the law.

Taking up issue: Separately, PML-N leader Pervez Rasheed said his party was taking the issue of fake degrees seriously and had already taken steps to verify the qualification of their members’ degrees again.

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