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May 20, 2015

Fake degrees scam echoes in Senate

Top Story

May 20, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday referred the issue of the issuance of thousands of fake degrees by a Karachi-based private firm to the concerned standing committee and called for furnishing a probe report in a month.
Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan raised the issue as a matter of public importance and said extremely disgusting appeared in today’s newspapers, which unfortunately were being attributed to Pakistan.
He said though the head of the company was yet to explain his position, the US newspaper’s story appeared to be based on facts and the head of every Pakistani should hang in shame.The senator wanted the House to hold a debate on the issue, as to how expert some Pakistanis were in making counterfeit things, regretting that among 200 countries, whenever an issue of dishonesty surfaced it usually found its roots in Pakistan.
Leader of the House Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, when asked by the chair, supported referral of the matter to the House standing committee. The issue of appointment of Shujaat Azim as special assistant to Prime Minister despite the Supreme Court (SC) had objected to his posting as advisor and shifting of head office of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) from Karachi to Islamabad, was also referred to the House standing committee and it was asked to report back to the House within 45 days.
Questions over Azim’s appointment were raised by Saeed Ghani and Tahir Hussain Mashhadi after Ghani moved a calling attention notice regarding shifting of the CAA headquarters and the Civil Aviation Authority Training Institute from Hyderabad to any other province.
Ghani pointed out that Shujaat Azim, who was court-martialed and was sent home as advisor to Prime Minister, following submission of a petition in the Supreme Court, had been made special assistant. He questioned, “Could he be made? He wanted to know was the CAA head office and its training institute shifting discussed and approved by the

Council of Common Interests, the federal cabinet or authority’s own board of directors?
He wondered what would be the future of its 1600-2000 employees. “Would all of them be terminated or forced to shift to Islamabad and how would they manage it with their families, already settled in Karachi?” he questioned and feared expenditure would massively increase.
Replying to the notice, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad said that no final decision had been taken so far about shifting of the CAA head office and its institute, but said that issues were frequently raised in the standing committees, forcing its officials to come to Islamabad while CAA was directly under the Prime Minister, as he had the concerned portfolio.
He said it was necessary to have the offices here, as airports were being built in Mirpur, Mansehra, Gwadar and the Islamabad airport is being expanded. He added law and order situation was worsening that was why it was important to shift the training institute from Hyderabad.
On this, Mashhadi rose to point out that none of the questions asked by Ghani had been answered by the minister and wondered when the apex curt did not allow a person to be given job in the government, could he still be given one.
Ghani also complained that his questions had not been answered by the minister. “Tomorrow, if someone from Sindh is made minister, will he again order shifting of the offices and institute to Sindh,” he said and dismissed the logic given by the minister.
The minister said he had learnt from the concerned department that presently there was no case against Shujaat Azim and expressed his ignorance about restraint by the apex court. Aftab said he had no objection if the matter was referred to the House committee. “How can he qualify for the job after the Supreme Court’s finding in this connection? It is very sad, the minister could not give proper answers, therefore, the matter is referred to the House standing committee,” the chair said
The House offered fateha for Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Burhan Muhammad, who died in Singapore today. He had sustained serious injuries in Naltar copter crash incident. The Senate constituted a Committee to consider reforms for providing inexpensive and speedy justice to people: the decision was made Monday on this count. A motion to this effect was moved by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq. The first meeting of the committee will be held on Wednesday (May 20) at 11:00am and it will submit its report within four months.
Responding to a call attention notice moved by Shahi Syed about imprisonment of 16 Pakistani nationals in the prisons of Israel, Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan had no diplomatic relations with Israel but it had contacted the country through the United Nation, the US and Jordan to verify the presence of the prisoners. He said, “This was a humanitarian issue and if Israel confirmed presence of Pakistani prisoners in their jail, we will make efforts through indirect channels to secure their release”.

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