The regional election commissioner (REC) has filed a complaint in the court of district and sessions judge against Provincial Minister for Sports and Tourism Syed Aqil Shah for submitting fake graduation degree during the general elections of 2008.
The REC requested the court that as a case of commission of corrupt practice had, prima facie, been made against the minister action may be taken against him in accordance with law.
The judge, Mr Shehbar Khan, put on notice Mr Shah, who was elected on the ticket of Awami National Party, and fixed Oct 11 for hearing the complaint.
If convicted, the minister could be sentenced up to three years imprisonment.
The REC stated in the complaint that Election Commission of Pakistan after hearing the counsel for Mr Shah had prima facie held through a short order on Sept 7, 2012, followed by detailed order on Sept 11 that he committed an offence of corrupt practice within the meaning of section 78 (3) (d) Representation of Peoples Act, which was punishable under section 82 and is cognisable under section 94 of the Act read with section 199 (false statement made in declaration), 200 (using as true a false statement) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of Pakistan Penal Code.
The complainant stated that Mr Shah contested election for the seat of provincial assembly from constituency PF-4 Peshawar in 2008. He said that 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 provincial assembly.The REC said that bachelor degree of the accused issued by Punjab University on Oct 15, 2002, was scrutinised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) and was found fake on Aug 5, 2010. He added that in support, HEC supplied a copy of a letter of the university stating therein that no record of the accused existed there.
The complainant said that the accused appeared before a nominated officer of Election Commission on Nov 29, 2010, and submitted another copy of BA degree from Punjab University, attested on its back by HEC. It was also sent to HEC for verification but HEC reported that it was the same degree, which was already declared bogus, he added.
Thereafter, he stated, 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 wherein he disowned the BA degree from Punjab University and claimed that he had attached copy of the said marks sheet with his nomination paper.
The complainant added that the said copy was also sent to HEC for verification through Newports, but it said that the marks sheet was not issued by it.
Meanwhile, in Sept 2011 the accused produced a BBA degree issued by American International College Lahore, which was sent to HEC for verification. According to HEC, the said institute was non-chartered and the degree issued by it was not recognised by HEC.
This article originally appeared on dawn