ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will on Thursday hand over to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the first batch of fake degrees of thirty-seven federal and provincial legislators during their preliminary meeting scheduled on 5th August after which ECP would start its formal action against the fake degree holders from 7th August. This comes two months after the task of verification of the educational certificates of all the MPs was assigned to it.
According to the reliable sources in HEC, ECP has asked HEC to submit its report on verification of degrees after which it would start taking formal action against the fake degree holders as ordered by the apex court. “It’s basically a maiden meeting and also a beginning of our collaborative process in which we would decide the future roadmap of the process,” said the source.
The HEC focal person Rahim Bux Channa would provide detailed information about the fake degree holders that will include the name of educational institution which issued such document, the authority or official of such institution who signed such document and the grounds with regard to the degrees being fake or genuine.
A source said that the HEC would attach with its conclusion the reports about the thirty-seven MPs that it received from universities concerned, which established that their degrees were counterfeit. The official said that the Federal Education Ministry did not figure anywhere in this process because the ECP would proceed on the report of the HEC without the involvement of any other organization. Although the HEC has sent some of its findings to the Education Ministry, the ECP has not asked the latter for any kind of assistance or record, he added.
He said that the HEC has ignored the education minister’s assertion that it should avoid approaching the ECP directly on the issue of the counterfeit degrees and should route its reports through the ministry.
The official said that the ECP would provide any kind of documents that the HEC would require to realize the process of verification of the remaining degrees especially those that the HEC feels are doubtful. All HEC questions would be addressed, he said.
He said that although the ECP has been hearing a lot about the HEC findings regarding fake degrees whose number has kept ranging from thirty-seven to sixty-one, it would be the first time that the HEC would put before the ECP its details relating to different categories of certificates.
“The process of verification of degrees could have been completed weeks ago if only the graduation degree was to be verified but we have asked the universities to verify the matriculation and intermediate degrees as well besides the National Identity Card (NIC) of the MPs,” the source said.
“There are three categories of degrees - one that have been confirmed by the universities as genuine, second which are fake and third that are doubtful,” he said adding that considering the number of MPs, 1,170, the tally of bogus and dubious certificates is not very high.
The official said that on receiving the HEC report about thirty-seven bogus degrees, the ECP’s designated officer would issue notices to their holders. “They would be asked to produce the facts in black and white to establish that they were not guilty. For the ECP, everyone would be innocent unless proved guilty.”
He said that the ECP would not accept the HEC findings as final and would hold its own inquiry about each and every degree declared by the HEC to be fake. He said that the ECP’s designated official would give personal hearing to every such legislator.
Talking to ‘The News’ HEC focal person RB Channa conceded that he was going to attend the meeting with ECP where they would discuss the future roadmap as to how both commissions could go forward in a better way. “We are not really clear about the agenda but we are taking all relevant data with us,” he said.
Both the ECP and National Assembly Standing Committee on Education Chairman Abid Sher Ali delegated the job of verification of MPs’ degrees to the HEC. Initially, they worked in unison but Abid Sher has now expressed dissatisfaction over the ECP’s working and wants to file a reference against it. The official said that like the Education Ministry, the standing committee would also not figure in the ECP’s proceedings based on the HEC report.