LAHORE – It’s never too late. The country’s courts are fast doing which once was inconceivable. Former parliamentarians are being sentenced one after the other for presenting fake degrees to contest the 2008 elections and for lying about their dual nationality. The list of convicts is growing, as more of formerly ‘elected lawbreakers’ are being sent where they belong – jail.
On Wednesday, former KPK Assembly member Kishor Kumar’s appeal was rejected and he was jailed for having contested the previous general election on a fake degree. A bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), comprising Justice Qaisar Rashid Khan and Justice Laal Jan Khattak, dismissed Kumar’s appeal. Sentenced to one year in prison, Kumar, the JUI-F’s minority MPA, was arrested from courtroom and shifted to District Jail in Dera Ismail Khan.
Similarly, a sessions court declared Iqbal Ahmed Langrial, a former MP from Sahiwal, a proclaimed offender, whereas a sessions court in Quetta has summoned Ali Madad Jattak, an ex-provincial minister, for today (Thursday).
The political future of Jamshed Dasti, ex-MNA from Muzaffargarh, will be decided in a court today. District and Sessions Judge Abdur Rehman Niazi is conducting proceedings in a fake degree case against Dasti.
In Bahawalpur, a court issued arrest warrants for former MNA Amir Warran. The judge also ordered forfeiting his property and action against his guarantor. Warren had filed a review petition in the Lahore High Court’s Bahawalpur Bench. The LHC bench disposed of his petition and maintained the charge sheet framed by the sessions judge.
Also in Bahawalpur, a court issued arrest warrants for ex-MNA Rasheed Akbar Noorani and his brother, ex-MPA Saeed Akbar Noorani, for submitting fake degrees with their nomination papers for 2008 polls.
In Sahiwal, former MPA Iqbal Ahmed Langrial has been declared a proclaimed offender.
In Pakpattan, a returning officer rejected the nomination papers of former MNA Salman Mohsin Gillani over fake degree.
Former MNA Jamshed Dasti, who has been charged with possession of a fake degree, meanwhile has announced his decision to not contest in the general elections. Dasti’s decision comes a few days after he filed his nomination papers from NA 177 and 178 to run against former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar as an independent candidate.
All this comes on prodding from the Supreme Court which has given 189 ex-lawmakers until April 5 to submit their educational certificates for verification. It has also warned that all who defy would face criminal cases. These 189 aside; the ECP already has declared that the number of cases of confirmed fake degrees of former parliamentarians has risen to 69.
A report said degrees of 98 former parliamentarians, out of the 189, are yet to be confirmed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Educational degrees of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan have been verified. Chaudhary Nisar’s ‘O’ and ‘A’ level certificates were in question.
In the last days of the previous government, Nisar, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, particularly had been vocal against degrees’ verification.
According to a broadcast report, the other former parliamentarians whose degrees have been verified by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) included Chaudhry Naseer Bhutta, Syed Allauddin, Afrasiab Khattak, Syed Javed Ali, Nargis Faiz, Samsam Bukhari, Mehreen Anwar Raja, Ranan Nazir Ahmad, Atiq-ur-Rehman, Iffat Liaquat Ali Khan, Mehmood Hayat and Ghulam Bibi.
However, the HEC raised objection to PPP leader Manzoor Wattoo’s degree because he had difference of date of birth in his Matriculation certificate and national identity card.