First lawmaker arrested for fake degree in Peshawar
PESHAWAR: In the first arrest since the fake degrees saga made headlines, a member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was arrested on Saturday for possessing an unauthentic degree.
Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sardar Ali was taken into custody by officials of the Chota Lahore police station from the courtroom after the local additional sessions judge, Jehangir Khan, rejected his bail application.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials on January 21 had moved an application to the District Police Officer (DPO) Swabi to register a case against Ali for contesting elections on a fake degree. The MPA had moved a pre-arrest bail application on January 25.
Meanwhile, ECP sources said that the First Information Report (FIR) was registered against the MPA on January 21 on charges of being involved in corrupt practices under Section 78(3)(d) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976, and sections 94, 199, 471, 200 and 420 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The court fixed Monday for the next hearing.
Ali had contested the 2002 general elections for the provincial assembly from PF-34 Swabi as an independent candidate and defeated the candidates of major political parties including Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). His closest rival in the elections was PPP-Sherpao’s Abdul Karim Khan of Tordher. Ali was also associated with the PPP-S but he contested elections as an independent candidate in protest after the party’s leadership awarded a ticket to Khan and Sardar defeated him in the elections.
In June last year, the Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission to take action against all politicians who had contested the 2008 general elections using forged documents and academic degrees. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) summoned all parliamentarians’ degrees and sent them for verification to respective universities. Degrees and documents that could not be verified were sent to a committee formed by the ECP, headed by Afzal Khan, which conducted hearings into these cases.
In December last year, the ECP started criminal proceedings against fake degree holders and Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza sent cases to district police officers.