Peshawar: Fake degree case: KP minister to be indicted on Nov 1
PESHAWAR: Local district and sessions judge Shehbar Khan on Thursday fixed Nov 1 for indictment of provincial sports minister Aqil Shah for corruption by filing fake graduation degree with the Election Commission for the 2008 general elections. The indictment will be made on the complaint of regional election commissioner (REC), who said as a case of the commission of corrupt practice had, prima facie, been made out against Aqil Shah, action might be taken against him in accordance with the law. If convicted, the minister could be sentenced up to three years imprisonment.
Mr Aqil appeared along with his lawyer Abdul Lateef Afridi and filed an application requesting the court to stay criminal proceedings as a civil suit filed by him before the civil judge in Lahore has still been pending.
Mr Afridi said the suit pertained to the same matter as they had challenged certain decision of the Higher Education Commission regarding the degree of Mr Aqil.
The court put on notice the REC in the said application and also fixed its hearing on Nov 1. The complainant said Mr Aqil contested election for the seat of provincial assembly from the PF-4, Peshawar constituency in 2008.
He said the accused filed his nomination papers before the returning officer declaring on oath therein that he was a graduate and that he was qualified under Article 62 and was not subject to any disqualification provided under Article 63 of the Constitution to become a candidate for the seat of the provincial assembly.
The REC said the bachelor’s degree of the accused allegedly issued by the University of Punjab on Oct 15, 2002 was scrutinised by the Higher Education Commission and was found fake on Aug 5, 2010.
He added that HEC supplied a copy of a letter of the University of Punjab wherein it was stated that no record of the accused existed in that university.
The complainant said the accused appeared before a nominated officer of the Election Commission on Nov 29, 2010, and submitted another copy of BA degree from Punjab University, attested on the back by HEC, which was also sent to HEC for verification. However, HEC reported that it was the same degree already declared bogus.
He said the accused produced before the nominated officer a copy of transcript of BA marks sheet issued on March 3, 2007 by Newports Institute of Communication and Economics, Karachi. He also submitted an affidavit, saying he disowned the BA degree from University of Punjab and claimed that he had attached a copy of the said marks sheet with his nomination paper. The complainant said the said copy was also sent to HEC for verification through Newports Institute of Communication and Economics, Karachi, but it was informed that the said marks sheet was not issued by them.
Meanwhile, in Sept 2011, the accused produced a BBA degree issued by the American International College, Lahore, which was sent to HEC for verification, but later, HEC declared the said institute non-chartered one and the degrees issued by it unrecognised by HEC.