IT is a matter of great shame that the government, in order to draw a veil over the fake degree predicament, is now using its muscle to coerce the HEC into toeing its line. Indeed, if the truth be told, the HEC has been stripped of its powers and put under the thumb of the Education Ministry, which from now on would be verifying the degrees. Lately, the Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali has given out that the report on MPs degrees would be first reviewed in consultation with the Law Ministry and then sent to the National Assemblys Standing Committee on Education. This should be condemned strongly because it is very clear why it been done - the PPP-led dispensation now wants to brush the issue under the carpet. Plainly speaking, fake degrees would cease to remain fake. The verification process can either be delayed indefinitely or bogus degrees can be termed as original. Also, perhaps the possibility that the government would be using the verification power to extend leverage and discredit opponents cannot be ruled out. The HEC is an autonomous body and its head is answerable only to the Prime Minister. Under no circumstances, is it supposed to work under the Education Minister or made a subordinate body of the Education Ministry. It is most unfortunate that yet another institution has been stopped from playing an honest and transparent role just for the sake of saving the skin of a few bad eggs in our democratic polity. Political expediency continues to get precedence over the rule of law and it only points at the leaderships hollow claims about strengthening institutions. Little wonder because of this rampant corruption and the tendency of successive governments to use state departments to their own advantage has resulted in an institutional graveyard. With such overt support for parliamentarians with bogus education credentials, the government is making an exhibition of itself and giving grist to the mill of those who accuse it of being corrupt. The condition of graduation might not be applicable in this point in time, but the issue here is that of forgery. How can a person who is a crook through and through and is willing to indulge in criminal behaviour for the attainment of personal gains claim to lead the nation in the legislature? The way the government had been virtually holding a pistol to Chairman Legharis head and forcing him to keep silent reflects poorly on Prime Minister Gilanis oft-repeated soap-box oratories on morality and transparency.