ISLAMABAD - The disqualification of fake degree holder politicians is still a far cry as big guns, allegedly, still influence the degrees scrutiny process carried out by Election Commission of Pakistan, it is learnt. Apart from the 22 cases that have been sent by the ECP to the district police officers (DPOs) concerned for legal and criminal action, almost as many as 15 cases of fake or invalid degrees are still pending with the ECP, the fate of which is yet to be decided. The remaining 15 cases are pending in the courts. According to official sources, the ECP is not closing the 15 cases due to alleged political pressure coming from top quarters in the corridors of power. It is also learnt that the ruling elites in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are pressurising the DPOs concerned not to register FIRs against their party candidates on fake degrees charges. This explains why the FIRs against only seven politicians have been registered of the total 22 whose cases were sent by ECP to the DPOs for initiating legal and criminal action against them. Of the remaining 15, three politicians have filed review appeals before the ECP including PML-Q MPA Muhammad Khan Toor, MPA Rana Ijaz Ahmed (independent) and Khalifa Abdul Qayum MPA (independent). The PML-Q MPA Seemal Kamran has also appealed for review before ECP but her case is pending and not included in the aforementioned 22 politicians list. In addition, only one fake degree accused Sardar Ali MPA (independent) was put behind the bars after registration of FIR against him. He got bail from the court concerned. The remaining six against whom FIRs were registered got pre-arrest brails and they include PPP MPA Ali Madad Jaddak, former PPP MNA leader Amir Yar Waran, ex-PML-N MPA Haji Nasir Mehmood, ex-PML-N MPA Rizwan Gill, PML-Q MPA Shaukat Aziz Bhatti, and former MPA (independent) Zahoor Hussain Khosa. ECP Spokesperson Afzal Khan was repeatedly called and texts were dropped at his two cellular numbers seeking ECPs version on Monday regarding the slow pace of progress in fake degrees issue due to alleged political pressures but he did not respond till filing of this report. One of the reasons, sources say, in the way of speedy legal and criminal action against the accused fake degree holder politicians is that DPOs concerned are not time-bound as far as registration of FIRs is concerned. As per rules, the ECP closes the case of any politician found guilty of having a fake degree(s) and sends his/her case to DPO. After the registration of FIR, the DPO presents the case to sessions judge concerned who is bound to decide the case within 90 days. On the other hand, there is no timeframe that bounds DPOs to register FIRs within any specified time and present the case before courts. The DPO can register an FIR and present the case before court at will. Meanwhile, Khalifa Abdul Qayum appeared before the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on Monday and sought more time in order to complete documentation regarding his madrassa degree, which is not registered. The sources said that Khalifa told the CEC that he was trying since 2003 to get the madrassa that he had built registered but the former as well as present government created hitches in this regard. The CEC gave him three-month time and instructed him to appear on June 15 2011.