Islamabad - A private college located on the fringe of the federal capital has been offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in humanities, science, management, computer sciences and law without being affiliated with any university and meeting other legal requirements.

The dubious credentials of Muslim School and College, Tramri Chowk, Islamabad, have put the future of hundreds of enrolled and passed out students in its various programmes at stake. Though its nursery to secondary and higher secondary level programmes are stated to be affiliated with the concerned boards and departments, its graduate and post-graduate programmes of LLB and LLM are neither affiliated with Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) nor they have consent of the Higher Education Commission.

But the college claiming to have affiliation of the said university has been awarding degrees fraudulently, corresponding with the university through another law college - Islamabad Law College, G-12/4 - that has secured affiliation.  Registrar IUB Dr Abdul Sattar Khan, when contacted, said the neither does university have any such deal with the college nor it is affiliated with the university.

Director (Media) HEC Aayesha Ikram also maintained that the respective college is not authorised to award degrees since it is not a degree awarding institute. “Award of degree is the responsibility of the affiliating university and in such cases the degree awarding university will be responsible for consequences,” she added.

It is mandatory that the college gets proper affiliation from the respective public sector university; otherwise the degree programmes will not be recognised by the HEC, she stated. “If the college lies in the territory of the federal capital, NOC from HEC is mandatory. Furthermore, the college also needs to seek NOC from Pakistan Bar Council; otherwise LLB programs will not be recognised by HEC.”

The college had applied for seeking recognition from HEC, she said, “but it was found deficient in certain requirements, therefore certain discrepancies were communicated to them. Since then no communication has been received from their side.”

Started in 2011, the law programme has passed out many students with sham degrees, with many still enrolled who will know at a later stage in their life that their hard earned money and time have gone down the drain.

Umair Inayat, a student of LLB third year, has paid the price for being a student of an unrecognised institute. He had applied for the UK visa to pursue bar-at-law there but it was refused to him for up to 10 years for making false representations in the application.

“I had written in my application that I’m studying LLB course at Muslim Law College that is an affiliated with Islamia University Bahawalpur, as claimed by the college, but the British High Commission revealed that that the college was not affiliated with any university,” said Umair.    

“The college has not only wasted my time, money and hard work but also put a black mark on my credentials,” he said. “Now I will have to wait for 10 years if I want to pursue higher education in England.”

The student has sued the college demanding Rs 500 million for defaming and ruining his career. He has also filed a complaint with Koral police station to registrar FIR against the principal.

Since then the college principal Sohail has gone into hiding and his office is locked. His cell phone is also switched off. Thus, he couldn’t be contacted for his point of view but Tanvir Ahmad, Admin officer, said only the in-charge or principal of the college can tell about the affiliation issue.

“I only deal with admissions sent via another law college or privately. Such affiliation or NOC issues are looked after by the principal or higher management itself,” he explained.

It is not the only college that is functioning fraudulently and putting at risk the future of students, as the list goes on. The HEC puts the number of unrecognised/under evaluation institutions at 163 across the country and out of them many colleges are offering higher education programmes.

The HEC gives public alerts in electronic and print media and the information regarding recognised HEIs/colleges is also placed at HEC website. The students and parents are also advised only to take admissions in recognised institutions. Still hundreds of students are enrolled in such illegal programmes offered by various university sub-campuses or colleges.

The HEC officials say they can only refuse degree verification of such illegal institutions and write to provincial governments and concerned universities to take action against them. The Commission ordinance does not allow more than this, added the officials.