HEC gives clean chit to another 42 lawmakers
By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has given a clean chit to another 42 lawmakers taking the total number of those declared to be possessing genuine degrees to 289.
Sources told Dawn that National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza, Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim and former federal minister Ghous Bux Mehr are among those in the ‘clean’ list.
The list was handed over by HEC’s Rahim Bux Channa on Monday to the Election Commission’s spokesman Mohammad Afzal Khan, who has been given the task of supervising the process of verification of degrees.
Prominent among those whose degrees are yet to be verified include Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, National Assembly’s Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Leader of Opposition in the Senate Wasim Sajjad, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and dozens of federal and provincial ministers. Interestingly, the degree of the chairman of the National Assembly’s standing committee on education Abid Sher Ali, who was instrumental in initiating the entire process, is yet to be verified.
Prominent among those already declared to be holding genuine degrees include Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Privatisation Minister Waqar Ahmad Khan, Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Khan Ghori, Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, Minister for Labour and Manpower Dr Farooq Sattar, Minister for Industries and Production Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Ports and Shipping Nabeel Gabol, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Social Sector Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naek, Deputy Chairman Jan Mohammad Jamali, PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, PML (like-minded) chairman Salim Saifullah Khan, JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, PML-Q leader S. M. Zafar, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Hyderi (JUI-F), Prof Khursheed Ahmad (JI), Ilyas Ahmad Bilour (ANP), Mian Raza Rabbani and Faisal Raza Abidi.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah is the only chief minister to have been given a clean chit by the HEC so far.
The sources said the name of former Balochistan Minister Robina Irfan had erroneously been included in the list of 47 lawmakers holding fake or genuine degrees.
They said her name had been included in the list only because she was holding an MBA degree obtained from a foreign non-chartered university, whereas the requirement at the time of election was a valid graduation degree.
Since she was holding a valid BA degree obtained from the Balochistan University, the copies of which were provided to both the HEC and the Election Commission, her name was struck off the negative list.
Talking to Dawn, Rubina Irfan said it was embarrassing for her to know that her name appeared on both the negative and positive lists.
She said she had written letters to both the Election Commission and the HEC to clarify the position.
She said that the Election Commission should have sent only the degrees required under the law to contest the election to the HEC for verification.