Peshawar: KP minister indicted in fake degree case
PESHAWAR: Local district and sessions judge Shaibar Khan on Thursday indicted provincial sports minister Aqil Shah for corruption by producing fake graduation degree before the Election Commission during the 2008 elections. Mr Aqil pleaded not guilty and decided to stand trial. The court later fixed for Nov 15 the next hearing into the case while summoned the witnesses. The minister claimed that he had submitted only one degree along with his election papers and that was issued by American International College Lahore. He added that he had instituted a civil suit against the said college and that had been pending with the court of a Lahore civil judge.
The indictment was made on the written complaint of the regional election commissioner (REC), who said a case of commission of corrupt practice has, prima facie, been made out against Mr Aqil and therefore, action should be taken against him in accordance with the law.
Abdul Lateef Afridi, lawyer for Mr Aqil, requested the court to stay the proceedings as a civil suit had been pending in Lahore on the same issue. The court also fixed for Nov 15 the hearing into the application about staying the trial. The charge was framed against the minister on six counts.
“Aqil Shah’s bachelor’s degree was scrutinised by Higher Education Commission and found the same invalid and fake vide letter No. 5-3/ HEC/ A&A/ 2010 dated Aug 5, 2010. That you fraudulently used the forged/ fake degree as genuine and deceived the Election Commission of Pakistan, hence you thereby committed an offence punishable under sections 417, 471 and 420 of Pakistan Penal Code,” the charge sheet said. Also, the court charged him with fraudulently deceiving EC as he had provided another forged copy of BA degree of Punjab University which was later on declared forged by HEC and even attestation on the back of the said degree was found fake.
Another charge against the minister is that he again produced before the nominated officer of EC a forged copy of BA mark sheet purportedly issued on Mar 3, 2007, by Newsports Institute of Communication and Economics (NICE), Karachi along with an affidavit wherein he disowned the earlier BA degree of the Punjab University. The said transcript of the marks sheet was also verified by HEC and it was found that the said marks sheet was not issued to him by NICE.
The charge sheet said in the third round of his appearance before the nominated officer of EC, the accused produced a copy of BBA degree issued by American International College, Lahore on Sept 5, 2007.
The said degree along with connected documents was sent to HEC for verification on Nov 22, 2011, and HEC held that the aforesaid BBA degree was from non-chartered university/ institution and that HEC did not recognise the said degree, as such knowingly the accused fraudulently deceived EC.
The court further charged him for the offence that by presenting forged/faked degrees before a public servant he had committed corrupt practice within the meaning of Section 78(3) of Representation of Peoples Act, 1976, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 82 read with Section 94 of RPA.