ELECTION COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
Islamabad, the 27th February, 2013.- The Election Commission of Pakistan was shocked early in the morning of 27th February, 2013 when it read the news which appeared in the daily “The News” captioned as follow:-
“ECP declares 27 fake degrees as OK, on its own”
2. Chief Election Commissioner at Karachi was also disturbed and asked the Members ECP to look into the matter and verify the correctness of the aforesaid news.
3. The ECP has taken serious objection to the following part of the news:-
“ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been hit by a mega scandal just two weeks before the announcement of the schedule of general elections as the commission has been found to have illegally ‘cleared’ 27 degrees of sitting MPs which were declared invalid by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).”
4. The aforesaid paragraph is totally ill founded, based on surmises and conjectures, distorted and devoid of truth.
5. The Election Commission derives its jurisdiction from the constitution and law as well as directions issued from time to time by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan delivered in the case of Muhammad Rizwan Gill versus Nadia Aziz and others reported in PLD 2010 SC 828 mandated the ECP to enquire the genuineness of Bachelor Degrees and Sanads. For facility of reference the relevant paragraph is reproduced:-
“The Election Commission was directed by Supreme Court to initiate action against all such persons who were accused of commission of corrupt practices; of committing forgery and of using, as genuine, documents which they knew or at least had reason to believe to be forged. The Election Commission shall ensure that the investigations in these matters are conducted honestly, efficiently and expeditiously and shall depute one of its senior officers to supervise the same. The Sessions Judges to whom these trials shall then be entrusted, were also directed to conclude the same without any delay, in consonance with the spirit of the Elections laws as displayed, inter alia, by the Provisos newly added to subsection (1-A) of section 67 of Representation of the People Act, 1976 through the Amending Act No.IV of 2009 promulgated on 2-11-2009. In any case, it should not take each Sessions Judge who gets seized of the matter, more than three months to conclude the same.”
6. The Election Commission of Pakistan soon after receiving the mandate described above started examining the Bachelor Degrees of the Parliamentarians in aegis with the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Reverting to 27 cases the Election Commission of Pakistan has ventured to give the details of these cases category-wise:-
I) Degrees verified by HEC/concerned Universities
1) Mr. Shafiq Ahmed Gujjar, PP-68. The degree of the Parliamentarian was cancelled as fake by the concerned University earlier but later it was restored by HEC after a second probe by the University, as such, it was declared as genuine and the case was closed on 22-11-2010.
2) Rubina Irfan, PP- on Reserved Seat. HEC by mistake put the name of MPA in the list of fake degree holders but later declared the degree as genuine.
3) Gull Muhammad Lot, Senator from Sindh. The degree was declared as genuine by the concerned University. Resultantly HEC closed the case on 30th November, 2010.
4) Syed Ameer Ali Shah Jamot, NA-221. Concerned University in its subsequent report submitted to HEC declared the degree as genuine, as such, HEC closed the matter on 25th October, 2010.
5) Ghulam Sarwar Sial, PS-35. The HEC reversed its earlier decision after the concerned University informed that the degree was genuine.
6) Lt. Col. (R) Shujait Ahmed, PP-136. HEC closed the matter when the concerned University declared the degree as genuine.
7) Mukhesh Kumar, PS-Reserved Seat. The Commission closed the case on 6th August, 2011 because the concerned University declared the degree as genuine.
8) Bashir Ahmed Khan, MPA, PS-56. The Election Commission on 26th December, 2011 closed the case as HEC/concerned University declared the degree as genuine.
9) Ms. Samina Khawar Hayat, PP Reserved Seat. The Election Commission on 26th January, 2012 closed the case after recording evidence of the employee of the concerned University, who declared the degree as genuine after producing the relevant record.
Section 76 of the Senate (Election) Act, 1975 provides as under “limitation for prosecution for corrupt or illegal practices” No prosecution for an offence under section 58 or section 65 shall be commenced except (a) within six months of the commission of the offence.
1) Mr. Israrullah Khan, Senator from Balochistan. The time taken to verify his degree was consumed for a period of more than six months, as such, following the dictates of law the Commission closed the case on 11th August, 2011 due to the legal bar referred above. Similarly
2) Mir Mohabat Khan Mari, Senator from Balochistan. The case was also closed by the Election Commission on 31st January, 2012 on the same ground.
3) Mrs. Rehana Yahya Baloch, Senator from Balochistan. The case was also closed on 21st May, 2012 on the same ground.
4) Mr. Wali Muhammad, Senator from Balochistan. The case of the Senator was closed on 15th December, 2010 on the ground that he was returned as Senator in 2009 when the condition of BA degree was not compulsory.
5) Nawabzada Muhammad Akbar, Senator from Balochistan. He also contested the Senate Elections in 2009 when the condition of possessing a graduation degree was not compulsory.
6) Dr. Israr Hussain, candidate for Senate. It was pointed out by the petitioner Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan that he has approached Session Court for prosecuting Senator Dr. Israr Hussain and cognizance of the offence has been taken up by the Court, therefore, he did not want to proceed any further and desired to take back his petition. The Chief Election Commissioner on 7th January, 2011 disposed off the case as withdrawn.
III) Cases where the Parliamentarians died
1) Mr. Gulistan Khan, PF-69. The case of the Parliamentarian was closed on 5th January, 2011 by Chief Election Commissioner due o his death.
2) Movi Obaidullh, PF-61. The MPA died on 7th October, 2010 and, as such, his case was closed on 21st November, 2011 by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
IV) Resignation of the Parliamentarians
1) Ms. Shumaila Rana, PP-Reserved Seat. The case was closed by the Chief Election Commissioner on 15th January, 2011 due to her resignation as MPA
2) Ms. Shabina Khan, PP-Reserved Seat. The case was closed on 15th January, 2011 by the Chief Election Commissioner as the MPA resigned from her seat.
V) Cases where the condition of Graduate Degree not applicable
1) Nawabzada Tariq Magsi, PB-32. The case was closed on 27th November, 2010 as the said MPA elected in bye-election when the condition of possession of bachelor degree was lifted.
2) Seemal Kamran, MPA- PP-Reserved Seat. The case was closed on 23rd March, 2012 as the Parliamentarian was elected against Reserved Seat on 13th April, 2009 after the death of Mst. Ghazala Farhat earlier elected against the Reserved Seat in the General Elections 2008.
VI) Cases closed due to the decision/pendency of the High Courts/Supreme Court of Pakistan
1) Haji Muhammad Omer Gorgaje, MNA, NA-260. Initially the case was heard by the Election Commission but the proceeding was dropped on 7th September, 2012 in the light of the decision of the Balochistan High Court.
2) Dewan Syed Ashiq Hussain, NA-1530. The case was heard by the Election Commission of Pakistan on 11th August, 2011 but later on, on the petition of the Parliamentarian the case was closed as the same issue was also pending before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, who subsequently decided the matter in favour of the MNA.
VII) Cases of Parliamentarian whose degrees were found to be genuine/valid
1) Rana Ejaz Ahmad Noon, PP-209. The case was closed by the Election Commission of Pakistan on 26th September, 2011 as the educational institute, which issued the Sanad was found to be affiliated with Tanzeemul Madaras (recognized by HEC) at the time when Sanad was issued.
2) Petanber Sewani, PS-Reserved Seat. The Election Commission heard the case on 26th December, 2011 but later on the matter was closed as the degree was found to be genuine.
3) Mr. Wasim Afzal Gondal, PP-119. The case was closed on 31st January, 2012 as the respondent produced the judgment and decree passed by the Civil Court, Multan
4) Nawabzada Mir Nadir Magsi, PS-40. The Election Commission of Pakistan on 19th January, 2012 closed the case as allegation of corrupt practices could not to be proved.
7. Extensive exercise undertaken by the Election Commission of Pakistan should remove all doubts of the so called mega scandal portrayed by the author of the news referred to above.