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Fake degrees, dual nationality make parliament a stinking pond
Staff Reporter
Plus News Pakistan
October 04, 2012


 


ISLAMABAD: The present Parliament and the provincial assemblies have emerged as the most stinking in the history of country`s democracy because of innumerable MPs holding fake degrees and dual nationalities, dozens of whom have been de-seated while others are still unidentified but hiding.


In addition to such MPs, the national and provincial assemblies are also plagued as 37 million bogus voters had their share in electing the present lot of MPs in the 2008 elections.


Interestingly, the Parliament kept a complete mum on these issues while the Supreme Court (SC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are enthusiastically pursuing the cases to purge the Parliament of these fraudulent elements. The government, however, created all hurdles to secure fake degree holders and dual nationals.


But a PPP leader rejected all these charges saying that the government was discharging its duties in accordance with the law and constitution. Talking to media on condition of not being named, he said the government adversaries were making baseless propaganda against it on the issues of fake degrees and dual nationals. He said the PPP formed the government after being elected by the people. He said the people by again electing those charged with fake degrees had exposed the campaign going against the PPP.


Little over 50 MPs have been de-seated following extraordinary work done by Higher Education Commission (HEC), whose chairman Javed Leghari was harassed and haunted by the rulers for exposing the fake degree holders. The then minister for education and presently PTI leader Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali also wrote a strongly worded letter to chairman HEC to stop him from verifying the degrees of MPs.


Before the present case of dual nationals, the HEC and the ECP had also tried to get from the Chairman Senate and speakers of the national and provincial assemblies degrees and certificates of MPs educational qualification for verification but the process was resisted.


As they defended the fake degree holders, the Senate and NA secretariats have now refused to honour the request of the ECP i.e. getting affidavits from each MP declaring that they have no foreign nationality.


Over a dozen dual nationals have been exposed and eleven have already been de-seated but the government and most of the ruling parties in the Parliament are defending the dual nationals, which is in sheer violation of the Constitution.


In the case of fake degree holders the process was hampered owing to which, it is believed that dozens of fake degree holders remain still unexposed. According to a statement of former secretary election commission Kanwar Dilshad there were a few hundreds fake degree holders who got their way into the Parliament and provincial assemblies.


In addition to such serious malpractices plaguing the Parliament, it was the ECP that had admitted before the Supreme Court that there were 37 million bogus votes in the electoral rolls on the basis of which the 2008 election were held. Such bogus votes were removed following the intervention of the Supreme Court but most of the by-elections held even during the last four and a half years were dependent on the same electoral rolls containing 37 million bogus voters.


© 2012. Plus Media Solutions Pakistan


Pakistan top court suspends membership of parliamentarian over dual nationality
BBC Monitoring South Asia
October 04, 2012


 


Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended the membership of PML-Q MNA Begum Shehnaz Sheikh, but gave an opportunity to PPP MNA Ghulam Mujtaba Rai to explain to the apex court why it should not proceed against him for holding dual nationality.


The court also directed Interior Minister Rehman Malik to submit information, if any, regarding parliamentarians and provincial assemblies members who hold dual nationality in a sealed envelop at Registrar`s Office within seven days. Malik had in press conferences on September 20 and 21 said, “If he is asked by the Supreme Court or the government, he could supply the names of the parliamentarians and members of provincial assemblies who enjoy dual citizenship.”


The chief justice, taking suo motu on a news item that appeared in an English daily, had issued notices to Begum Shehnaz Sheikh for holding Australian citizenship, and Ghulam Mujtaba Rai for possessing Canadian nationality, asking them to appear before the court and explain their positions. Begum Shehnaz did not appear before the court nor appoint any counsel to represent her and to rebut the allegation that she held dual nationality. The court observed that it seemed she had nothing to say in her defence, therefore had not denied the news item to date.


Meanwhile, a lawyer appeared on behalf of Mujtaba Rai and requested some time to file a reasonable reply to the notice. Umer Cheema, a reporter at an English daily on whose report the court had taken suo motu, told the bench that he stood by his story. He said he had tried to contact Begum Shehnaz for her version but she did not respond.


Separately, the chief justice said it was very good that Rehman Malik had come to the court to assist it. The court confronted him with transcript of press talk and the clipping of news items published in Urdu papers about his claim on dual nationality holders. The CJP said the court had video recording and the clippings of the press talk.


The interior minister responded saying, “No list of parliamentarians holding dual nationality has been compiled officially,” adding he had just responded to a journalist`s question on dual national legislators. “The information was based on the hearsay and I can`t claim its veracity,” he declared.


Source: Daily Times website, Lahore, in English 04 Oct 12


© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Pakistan: OPs suffer for MPs` fake degrees
The News Online
Thursday, March 1, 2012



What has mentally distanced most of citizens from politicians and why they feel their representatives in assemblies haven`t done any social justice to voters for so long? The common man says he has been neglected; and “even today nobody in the parliament really advocates the cause of the downtrodden and the poor; most of parliamentarians are greedy and have lust for political power to influence decisions in their interest.” That`s why everybody is crying for a pro-people change in the entire socio-economic and political system as was envisaged by the makers of Pakistan.


The present exploitative social and economic system strengthened by capitalists and feudal lords in self-interest by maintaining hold in assemblies and elsewhere has had its impact on the thinking of a majority of men and women living abroad as breadwinners. The fact is that hundreds of thousands of overseas Pakistanis are engaged not only in boosting the economic development of the host countries but also playing a significant role to nourish the economy of their motherland. In fact, they have devoted themselves to serving a noble cause by working hard and remitting billions through proper channels.


They include a large number of graduates and post-graduates holding genuine degrees conferred upon them by Pakistani universities. The irony is that overseas Pakistanis have to suffer for wrongdoings of politicians who enter assemblies, as people`s representatives on the basis of degrees found fake after careful scrutiny. Recently, the print and electronic media and judiciary did their duty honestly by exposing the malpractice of the so-called democratic representatives. The performance of both the free Press and independent judiciary won the hearts of the masses.


Reportedly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared the eligibility of a large number of parliamentarians declared doubtful, as they had not deposited their secondary and higher secondary school certificates with it. The figure is stated to be around 300. What astonished the common people is the alleged abuse of democracy by rulers and coalition partners to get re-elected to assemblies their candidates although they possessed fake degrees.


Similarly, common people have not yet forgotten the statement of a leader who said the parliament is the mother of all institutions. They say how can an assembly be a truly pure `mother institution` when it contains spurious elements and is never spunky; most members of such a `mother institution` remain dormant most of time. What the MPs have done so far for the social progress and economic benefit of the common man and his family, especially easy access of his child to quality education? The public opinion is not the same as it was yesterday: people now say politicians, whichever party or group they may belong to, are birds who flock together for self-interest.


Interaction with parents and close relatives of a number of men and women now in Europe and Canada provided a lot of information the other day about their education and job worries caused by reports of fake degrees of the parliament members. An educated woman of Rawalpindi, now in Canada, possessed genuine graduate and post-graduate degrees, but she was asked by the institutions concerned arrange for issuance of fresh degrees by the relevant universities directly to them. The woman had to face the problem.


The Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Kamran Mujahid and Allama Iqbal Open University`s regional director concerned came to her rescue. There are many such instances in that regard. The question that comes to mind is: how long the people, here and abroad, will continue to suffer because of the politicians` wrong way of doing things. When will they think of changing their mind-set and start working hard to serve the cause of the country and its masses honestly? The common people want a parliament comprising real representatives elected by them directly to meet the social and economic challenges. They say only honest, selfless, brave and determined and full-of-enthusiasm representatives can help solve the problems of the downtrodden and deprived people. zasarwar@hotmail.com


(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English -- Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


Election Commission Failed to Punish Legislators With Fake Degrees
The News Online
Monday, December 12, 2011



Report by Mumtaz Alvi: “ECP loses interest in legislators` fake degree issue”


With incumbent Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Ali Mirza poised to bow out on March 16 next year, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has shown little interest of late in taking the erstwhile hot issue of legislators` fake degrees to its logical conclusion.


The electoral body enjoys powers equivalent to a high court under the Representation of People Act 1976 and Political Parties Order-2002 to initiate contempt proceedings against any institution or person for not implementing its order or decision, the ECP sources claimed.


They pointed out the rules were very clear about the unique character of the electoral body that emphasised any direction or order of the ECO shall be enforced throughout Pakistan and it would be executed as if it had been issued by a high court.


“This should remove ambiguity, if any in the mind of someone regarding the status and authority of the electoral body and hence the chief election commissioner or its members can push for implementation of the body`s orders or decisions,” they maintained.


Two Election Commissioners, when approached for their views on the matter, confirmed the ECP had options to take the fake degree issue to its logical conclusion by ensuring punishment to the cheating lawmakers besides their disqualification.


They said the mechanism was reviewed and instead of giving a month or two for hearing, a maximum one-week was given to the legislators, who faced the charge of fake degree. However, some lawmakers still pressure the ECP members to give them more and more time so that either assemblies are dissolved or they manage to complete their term.


Requesting anonymity, they contended, in case, the concerned DPOs were not cooperating in furnishing the process for prosecution, inspector general of police of the concerned Punjab in this count and similarly, the relevant high court chief justice could also be approached to play its role in awarding punishment to the fakers within the stipulated period of three months.


They were of the view that cheaters, in no way, should be allowed to represent people of their constituencies, as this was absolutely unethical and the Constitution had a clear prescription for such people.


However, despite passage of over a year, only one lawmaker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was arrested out of 22 fake degree holders, who also secured bail few weeks back, it was learnt. The rest have not been touched. So much so, not even FIR could be registered so far against eleven of them.


It is quite obvious that a member of parliament or a provincial assembly commands massive influence in his or her constituency, particularly over the government departments, more significantly on the police, therefore, it could not be expected from this department to proceed against the fakers.


“Therefore, after having deliberations, we decided to send cases of proven fake degree holders to our provincial election commissioners instead of DPOs to accelerate the process,” these members said.


On the direction of the Supreme Court, the ECP had initiated the verification of 1,170 senators, MNAs and MPAs in July last year. A special panel was established at the Election Commission to assist the Higher Education Commission. As many as 58 of these faced disqualification for having counterfeit degrees.


After giving more than enough time to legislators to clear their position before the panel headed by the ECP joint secretary (budget: Muhammad Afzal Khan), cases of 22 of these lawmakers were sent to the concerned DPOs and provincial election commissioners.


Through this process, not even a single legislator has been so far punished i.e. forced to resign as a lawmaker and face criminal proceedings.


(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English -- Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


Pakistan: Report Views Mysterious Silence of Lawmaker Over Fake Degrees Case
The News Online
Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Report by Sabir Shah: Why is whistle-blowing Abid Sher Ali suddenly mum?


LAHORE: The 39-year old PML-N legislator Abid Sher Ali, who was the first to accuse his fellow legislators of holding fake degrees, has of late, mysteriously gone quiet on the subject, raising many questions in circles that have supported him throughout his eventful whistle-blowing spree for a good part of this year.


While courts continue to disqualify legislators holding phony educational degrees, the most recent case being that of a PML-N Punjab Assembly member Farah Deeba, Abid Sher Ali continues to remain mum at a juncture when even the degree of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani`s son Abdul Qadir Gilani is being scrutinized by the Punjab University for the last couple of months.


Whistleblowers around the world have frequently faced reprisal from the people they have targeted for a right cause, as was acknowledged during the recent 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Bangkok between November 10 and 13 this year. Also participated by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, the moot had noted: “Whistle-blowing plays a critical role in detecting and preventing corruption and other malpractices. However, rather than being seen as champions of the public good, whistle-blowers are often perceived as disloyal to their employers or even as traitors or snitches. Their disclosures may not be followed-up and they often face reprisal at their workplace against which they are not adequately protected. The need for more effective whistle-blowing and adequate protection of whistleblowers is increasingly recognized. Yet there is a huge potential for more whistle blowing which remains unexploited. The aim of this session is to explore ways of moving the promotion of whistle-blowing to the next level.” In the case of Abid Sher Ali, Education Minister Sardar Assef Ali had submitted a reference against him to the National Assembly Speaker on August 6 this year for allegedly overstepping his mandate.


Earlier, a lot of criticism was hurled against the head of the National Assembly`s standing committee on Education (Abid Sher Ali) by the afore-mentioned elderly minister and many of his other colleagues sitting in country`s legislative houses. Abid`s mission becomes even tougher when one takes into account the fact that whistle-blowers in various corruption-ridden countries like Pakistan are not protected by law and have often been persecuted at will by those involved in wrongdoings. As whistleblowers are commonly seen as selfless martyrs for public interest, Abid stands no exception to the rule as he has been alleged by the Federal Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali of pursuing personal glory and fame by raising the issue of phony degrees.


Perched on a privilege position, Abid must otherwise deem himself lucky on a few counts because whistle-blowers have either been bullied at their respective workplaces by both fellow colleagues and their employers, or have faced `mobbing` which is a practice to eliminate such people from an organization. Many have even been assassinated for unveiling what they should not have. For example, an Indian civil servant Satyendra Dubey was assassinated in 2003 after he had accused his employers of resorting to corruption in India`s highway construction projects. In a letter to the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Dubey had revealed some classified information in this regard.


Similarly, a US Department of Defence auditor called Ernest Fitzgerald was fired in 1973 by President Nixon for exposing certain weapon-related details to the Congress. After prolonged litigation, Fitzgerald was reinstated to service and continued to report cost overruns and military contractor fraud, including discovery that the US Air Force was being charged $400 for hammers and $600 for toilet seats.


In Canada, a government official servant, Duncan Edmonds, was fired by his country`s Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1984 for reporting that Defence Minister Robert Coates had visited a West German strip club with confidential NATO documents in his possession. Defence Minister Coates was also consequently asked to resign. However, there is no denying the fact that a bit of legal protection for whistle-blowers does exist in countries like the United States and England. The first US law adopted specifically to protect whistleblowers was the Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912. Although it guaranteed the right of federal employees to furnish information to the United States Congress, most American courts have found it difficult to ensure at times that such whistle-blowers are protected from retaliation.


Under most US Federal statutes related to whistle blowing, in order to be considered a whistle-blower, the federal employee must have a solid reason to believe that his/her employer has violated some regulation. Despite the fact that the US law provides some protection to the whistle-blowers, there have been many cases where people have been terminated, suspended, demoted and subjected to harsh wage garnishment by their employers for opening their mouths. A research conducted by The News reveals even in the US, most whistleblower protection laws provide for only limited remedies for employment losses if whistle-blower retaliation is proven, but a law definitely exists there to promise some respite to these people having no ordinary nerves. It is significant to note that when the US House of Representatives had passed the Whistle-blower Protection Act of 2007, the then President George Bush, had pledged to veto the bill if it was enacted into law by the Congress. Bush had then cited national security concerns, as the basis of his decision.


In the UK, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 provides a framework of legal protection for whistle-blowers from victimization and dismissal from jobs.


While whistle-blowers have mostly suffered for unearthing the wrongdoings around them, there have been a few lucky ones who have been rewarded for their fearlessness and gallantry. To quote one rare example in this context, a US Sandia National Laboratories staffer was sacked for bringing to light the fact that a group of hackers was penetrating the computer networks at major US military installations and government agencies to access sensitive information. The unfortunate employee, Shawn Carpenter, told his superiors about the development but he was directed not to share the information with anyone. An extremely concerned Shawn Carpenter, however, went on to voluntarily work with the US Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to address the problem. When his company discovered his actions, he was shown the door forthwith. In 2007, a New Mexico State Court had awarded him $4.7 million in damages from his employers-the Sandia Corporation-- for firing him with a malicious intent.


(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English -- Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


Higher Education Commission Declares 7 More Lawmakers Degrees as Fake
The News Online
Wednesday, October 6, 2010



Unattributed report: “Degrees of seven more legislators declared fake”


ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has handed over seven more fake degrees to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after confirmation. The HEC also handed over 150 genuine degrees to the ECP.


The parliamentarians, whose degrees have been confirmed fake, included Mohaish Kumar Malani, Sindh Assembly member and provincial minister, Deewan Ashique, member National Assembly, Mir Ali Shah, Javed Latif, Member Punjab Assembly and Iftikhar Ahmad. The number of parliamentarians with fake degrees has reached 57.


Meanwhile, none of the five parliamentarians summoned before the hearing by special committee of the ECP appeared in connection with fake degree cases, while only two parliamentarians voluntarily appeared before the committee. These parliamentarians include Yar Muhammad Rind, Sindh Assembly member and former federal minister, Mir Ahmadan Khan, National Assembly member and Haji Sher Azam, provincial minister for labour.


The fifth hearing on fake/invalid degrees of MNAs and MPAs was held on Thursday under the chairmanship of Muhammad Afzal Khan, nominated officer of the ECP under the direction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Representative/focal person of the HEC Rahim Bux Channa was also present.


In all, the five members, who were issued notices to appear on Thursday, remained absent. Yar Muhammad (PB-31) and Mir Ahmadan Khan (NA-265) did not appear and the committee decided to re-issue them notices for October 11, 2010. Shakeel Ahmed Advocate appeared on behalf of Ms Shama Parveen Magsi (PB-Reserved Seat) and stated that she was abroad and will be back after three weeks. Therefore, he requested for copies of documents and adjournment till her arrival to file the reply. The committee adjourned the case and the next date will be fixed later.


Kashif Hussain, the representative of Shaukat Aziz (PP-4), appeared before the committee and requested that as Shaukat Aziz was busy in flood relief activities, therefore, his case may be adjourned for some other suitable date. The committee adjourned the case on his request and fixed October 11 for the next hearing.


Waseem Afzal Gondal (PP-119), who was issued notice for August 23, 2010, appeared in person voluntarily and stated that as he was abroad at the previous hearing, therefore, he could not appear. He requested for supply of copies of relevant documents and sought an adjournment. The committee adjourned the case and the next date of hearing will be fixed later. Sher Azam Khan Wazir (KP-71) did not appear and the next date of hearing is October 4, 2010.


(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English -- Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)


© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


 


 


 


 



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