ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned all those persons involved in the Axact fake degree scandal on February 9.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the suo motu case regarding Axact fake degree scandal. The chief justice on January 18 had taken a suo motu notice of the Axact fake degree scam.

The chief justice observed that the country's image is being maligned and warned that no one would be spared and everyone's name would be placed on the Exit Control List.

The chief justice asked Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon to explain about the case, which is being brought again into limelight.

The FIA chief informed the court that the scandal first surfaced in May 2015 after the publication of an article in foreign media. He said that that websites of 330 global universities were created from the Axact headquarters in Karachi. He said that the telephone numbers on the websites were of foreign countries but operated from Karachi.

The FIA chief informed that the agency lodged four cases against Axact officials, adding in two cases, the suspects were acquitted but their appeals are pending with the Sindh High Court and the Islamabad High Court and one case in Peshawar could not be initiated against the Axact official as he is relative of a judicial officer.

Meanwhile, the court summoned the registrars of Islamabad and Sindh high courts on the next date of hearing.

Axact claims to be the "world's largest IT company" and allegedly operates hundreds of fake online universities run by agents from a Karachi-based call centre.

In 2015, it sold more than 215,000 fake qualifications globally through approximately 350 fictitious high schools and universities, making $51m (£37.5m).

Axact's chief executive was arrested and an investigation launched by the Pakistani authorities after a New York Times exposes the scandal in 2015. A senior manager of the company, Umair Hamid, was sentenced to 21 months in a US prison in August 2017 for his part in the Axact's fraud.