Resignations on fake degrees: May 15 by-poll to cost exchequer Rs12m

The by-election to each National Assembly seat, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan, costs the exchequer Rs4 million and that of provincial Rs2million. The ECP will be spending Rs12 million on May 15 when he by-poll to two NA and as many PA seats is held.

The by-poll to these seats -– NA-167 (Vehari), NA-178 (Muzaffargarh), PP-259 (Muzaffargarh) and PP-63 (Faisalabad)—is being held on identical reason, that is, the fake degrees possessed by 2008 general election winners. But to the utter surprise of the general public the two major parties, PPP and PML-N, have adopted these ‘cheats’ and fielded them again.

The PPP fielded Jamshed Dasti from NA-178, Nazir Jatt from NA-167, Allah Wasaya alias Chunnu Leghari from PP-259 while PML-N picked Mian Asif Ajmal for PP-63.

“Though there is no provision in the ECP rules to bar a candidate from re-contesting in case he or she has to vacate the seat for possessing fake graduation degree, a rival candidate can challenge the qualification of such a candidate before a returning officer,” an ECP official told Dawn.

The PPP is of the view that there is no question of ‘moral grounds’ in awarding a ticket to such candidates as degrees have nothing to do with politics while the PML-N claims that it will not have awarded a ticket to its party candidate if such a situation has arisen.

“We have awarded a ticket to Mian Asif Ajmal as we have a commitment with the unification group MPAs that they will contest next elections on PML-N platform. So we are honouring our commitment,” PML-N Senator Pervez Rashid responded to a question by Dawn.
And at the same time he has the view that

“the PML-N will not re-award a ticket to any such candidate of its party keeping in view the moral grounds,” the PML-N senator said. 
 
“I think the people of his (Ajmal)’s constituency will reject him if they think that he had done something wrong by becoming an MPA on the basis of a fake BA degree,” Rashid said and added that going through re-election was also a form of punishment.

PPP central information secretary Fauzia Wahab was however very critical over ‘select’ accountability of her party men. “The degrees of some 50 per cent MNAs have been challenged in the courts since long but the cases of a few of them are being taken up, why?

“I think there should not be any bar of degrees on politicians. Politics is not something that is learnt through obtaining degrees,” she said.

Justice Tariq Mahmood (retired) said the democratic system should be allowed to run smoothly and such issues would be settled automatically.

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