RAWALPINDI – District and Sessions Judge Syed Mahroof Ahmed Ali framed charges on Monday against PML-N MPA from Gujar Khan Shaukat Aziz Bhatti for allegedly submitting fake degrees with the Election Commission (EC) to contest the 2008 general elections.

The court postponed the case proceeding till December 1 ordering the EC Rawalpindi, the prosecution in the case, to produce their witnesses in the case.

Meanwhile, the court granted pre-arrest bail to the accused PML-N MPA against the surety bond worth Rs 100,000.

Before indicting the PML-N MPA, the judge dismissed his plea for acquittal observing the case could be decided only after normal trial.

Through his lawyer Malik Waheed Anjum, Shaukat had pleaded for acquittal saying Police Station (PS) Gujar Khan officials had already given him a clean chit in the case and the area magistrate had duly agreed with the investigation officer and quashed the FIR.

He added that after the cancellation of the FIR any fresh criminal proceedings could not be held against any one on same charges.

He said that he never placed BA degree issued by the Punjab University (PU), Lahore, with his nomination papers in 2008 rather he had attached a diploma issued by the Victoria College of London.

He said that the criminal complaint filed by the court was based on mala-fide intention, as there was no evidence against him in the case.

Raja Shujah-ur-Rehman, who appeared before the court on behalf of the EC Rawalpindi, argued before the court that the case was not that of double jeopardy. He said that the FIR was cancelled on the report of the police and not after a trial under due process.

Shujah further said that an inquiry by an Additional District and Sessions Judge Gujar Khan on the complaint of EC had held that tempering was made in the record and the BA degree was replaced with the diploma from the Victoria College of London.

The lawyer further said if the accused MPA filed the diploma from foreign educational institution he must have under the rules submitted an equivalent certificate that was not furnished with his nomination papers.

“There was no bad intention of the Rawalpindi Election Commission as the proceedings were initiated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2010 to get verified the educational degrees of the elected representatives” he said adding that the bachelor degree of MPA Shaukat Aziz Bhatti issued by the PU, Lahore was not verified by the university administration.

It is important to note here that Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC) Rawalpindi Zahoor Pasha had filed a criminal complaint against the MPA to get him penalized for giving ECP the fake educational documents to contest general elections of 2008.