ISLAMABAD - Troublesome times possibly await 12 ex-lawmakers whose educational credentials were reconfirmed to be fake on Friday, following which, the Election Commission of Pakistan reserved its decision, to be announced today (Saturday).

Furthermore, the degrees of nine ex-lawmakers were confirmed valid while three former parliamentarians have been summoned by the commission today (Saturday) to explain their positions on fake degrees allegations.

A total of 24 ex-members of Parliament appeared before an ECP bench on Friday headed by the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, in connection with the fake degrees issue. Assigned with the duty of confirming the authenticity of the degrees of former elected representatives, a representative from Higher Education Commission (HEC) was also present in the courtroom. 

During the separate hearings conducted by the CEC and all the four Members Election Commission (MECs), the HEC representative did not verify the degrees of a dozen former lawmakers, confirming them as fake, while verifying those of nine. The fake degrees-holders comprised of four Members Provincial Assembly from Sindh and Punjab each, three senators and a MPA from Balochistan. They are: Petanber Sewani (Sindh), Rana Ejaz Ahmed Noon (Sindh), Bashir Ahmed Khan (Sindh), Mukesh Kumar (Sindh), Shabina Khan (Punjab), Shumaila Rana (Punjab), Samina Khawar Hayat (Punjab), Robina Khan (Punjab), Nawabzada Mir Nadir Magsi (Balochistan) and Senators Rehana Yahya Baloch, Mir Mohabbat Khan Mari and Mir Israrullah Zehri.

The nine ex-lawmakers cleared of fake degrees’ charges are: Gul Muhammad Lot, Dr Israr Hussain, Muhammad Shafeeq Gujjar, Syed Ameer Ali Shah Jamoot, Ghulam Sarwar Sial, Lieutenant Colonel (r) Shujaat Ahmed, Waseem Afzal Gondal, Haji Omar Gorgage and Syed Ashiq Hussain.

Seemal Kamran, Nawabzada Tariq Magsi and Muhammad Akbar are the three former parliamentarians who sought time till today, contending that their degrees were submitted to the HEC for verification. Their requests were entertained.   

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday had asked the ECP to decide on these 24 ex-lawmakers alleged to be fake degree-holders, by the coming Sunday. The educational degrees of some of these politicians were already declared as fake by the HEC while others did not have their degrees verified thus prompting the suspicions that their educational credentials were fake. The ECP, without consulting the HEC, had earlier closed cases against the 24 former MPs while ‘validating’ their degrees.

Meanwhile, a total of 162 non-Muslim candidates have submitted nomination papers for contesting the general elections. Out of them, the papers of 97 candidates have been rejected by the returning officers (ROs) on account of having fake degrees while the nomination papers of 57 candidates have been accepted. Of the remaining 13 candidates, 11 have been summoned today and two candidates summoned tomorrow (Sunday) to explain their positions regarding their degrees.