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Three more legislators found guilty of fraud

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By: Hafeez Tunio

The degrees of at least three more public representatives – one MNA, and two MPAs (from Sindh and Punjab) – were found to be bogus on Tuesday. All three denied the charges when approached by The Express Tribune.

All three have denied the charges, pointing to a conspiracy.

The verification procedure currently under way at University of Karachi has thus far found the degrees of two public representatives to be bogus.

The degrees of Yaqoob Bizenjo, Member National Assembly from the Balochistan National Party (Awami) and Stephen Peter Member Provincial Assembly (Sindh) from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) face disqualification, but the two termed the discovery to be a conspiracy.

Official sources in the university said that the process of verification has almost been completed and that of the 106 degrees received by the university, most had been verified, and at least two found to be fake.

Talking to the media Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Karachi Dr Nasiruddin Khan said that the university had received about 106 degrees from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and their six-stage verification process has almost been completed. He added that, after the final process, the results would be sent to the HEC by July 13.

When asked about the degree of Bizenjo, he said the case of his degree is sub judice, and therefore he could not comment on it.

However, Bizenjo, a resident of Turbat, Kech district in Balochistan struck a defiant note. “I swear that my degree, bearing roll No. 685933, is genuine and I have done my BA from the University of Karachi in 2007,” said the MNA from BNP (Awami), while talking to The Express Tribune.

He said that he still remembers that his results had been announced on 17 July, about seven months before the general election. According to Bizenjo, Zubaida Jalal, who he defeated in the general elections, had previously challenged his degree, but the election tribunal decided in his favour and now the case is in the Balochistan Court.

“The officials of Karachi University had recorded their statement before the tribunal that the degree is genuine, so how they have declared it fake [now],” he questioned.

He termed it a conspiracy against him and added that he is ready to face every challenge.

Meanwhile, MPA Stephen Peter, who had been nominated for a reserved seat on the quota of the MQM, said that he had submitted his graduation degree at the office of Election Commission for verification, and claimed that it was genuine. When asked when he had graduated, the MPA did not answer – and asked The Express Tribune to call him back. However, he did not attend the phone later and his assistant said that he will present his version in a press conference to be held very soon.

It may be mentioned here that a three-member committee has been constituted the KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Pirzada Qasim to ensure that the degrees of legislators are authentic and valid.

KU Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Nasiruddin Khan, Registrar Prof. Kaleem Raza, and Department of Computer Science Chairman Dr Aquil Burney are members of the committee.

The degree of Samina Khawar Hayat, Member Provincial Assembly (Punjab) from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) was also found to be fake.

According to the records of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Hayat had submitted a BBA degree, which was dated 2004, from University of Rafa in Islamabad. However, the university had not even started the BBA programme till 2005. The stamps and spellings on the degree are also incorrect.

Hayat, however, insisted that she had gained admission to the university and obtained a degree. She said she was being targeted by certain elements. Nominated on a reserved seat for women on the PML-Q’s quota, Hayat came into the limelight after a quarrel with another MPA Sheikh Alauddin and allowing her husband to have a second marriage.

The disclosure that her degree was bogus came as a surprise for her fellow party members. “I am surprised to know that she got a fake degree,” said Seemal Kamran adding that, if Hayat is disqualified, then the PML-Q would nominate another female party member to the seat. “In queue, Humaira Owais Shahid would be elected on the seat,” said another PML-Q MPA Mohsin Leghari.

Meanwhile, over in Quetta, the University of Balochistan (UoB) received around 60 degrees of federal and provincial legislators for verification on Tuesday. For this purpose a committee had been constituted to investigate into the matter.

Sources said that the committee has started the procedure and that it would take about one week to complete the scrutiny of MNAs and MPAs’ degrees. “The names of the committee members were kept secret in order to avoid any outside influence of powerful people.”

They said that the process would be transparent, adding that the UoB has complete records about its students, so there are no chances of injustice.

It may be mentioned that a sizeable number of the legislators of Balochistan possess degrees from religious seminaries, which is viewed with great suspicion.


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