Sensitizing the Degrees Verification Process – Saleh Zafir’s role

With no National Assembly in session currently where Saleh Zafir could write his salees Urdu and applaud the 2 hour long speeches of Chaudhry Nisar. Neither is the Prime Minister traveling that Saleh Zafir would be free loading a trip on public money. In such a situation, his new fancy is giving a spin to the Degrees Verification Process in which all guns are somehow to be pointed towards the Presidency.

In his report in The News of 11th July, 2010, he claims that Election Commission has slowed down the MP’s degree verification process. In the sub-headline, he also claims that Dr. Javed  Leghari’s brother has been removed as DCO. I have not been following the farcical reporting of the degrees fiasco, however, this sub-headline intrigued me.

In the whole report, there is no reference of the brother being removed as a DCO. The report in the end talks about some sort of pressure being exerted by Sindh Government on Javed Leghari, but what that pressure is, only Saleh Zafir would know. It also boggles my mind, why would Sindh Government pressurize Javed Leghari as till now only one MPA from Sindh’s documents have not been found in order.

I think the reason is simple. Saleh Zafir knows of the power of headline. Not everyone reads the full news. The chatter box would say “Javed Leghari is being pressurized and his brother has been removed” but how do you know of it? Saleh Zafir’s headline. Such abject liars!

ECP slows down MPs’ degrees verification process 

HEC chairman’s brother removed as DCO

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a move to slow down the verification process of the MPs’ degrees has withheld 31 degrees without assigning any reason.

The ECP handed over 130 degrees to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) after more than two weeks delay on Thursday last while the HEC would dispatch the documents tomorrow (Monday) to the respective universities for verification.

It is understood that the Presidency has initiated four-pronged efforts to get the verification process slowed down. It is contemplating on bringing about legislation with retrospective effect to make the degree issue redundant.

For the purpose, it is out to exploit tactics to get the job slowed down.

In an interesting development, the candidates who lost the 2008 polls and were sure their opponents had fake degrees contacted the HEC and Chairman Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Education. They are providing clues and documents about their opponents to both the authorities. They had to undertake this exercise at the time of scrutiny of the nomination papers in 2007 but they failed and now they have become active. The Presidency has approached the HEC to get the process frozen at least for one year. Moreover, it is establishing contacts with the universities through their governors who are also the chancellors. The ECP has been approached in this regard and lastly, it is thinking of introducing a legislation. If summoning of the National Assembly is not possible, the government will promulgate an ordinance for the purpose.

Well-placed sources told The News here on Saturday that the Presidency was establishing contacts with the HEC directly and through the Ministry of Education to know about the real number of the fake degree holder MPs. It is certain that in the final tally, the number would exceed one-third members of the assemblies, as they will lose moral and constitutional ground for contesting the elections. In the light of the Supreme Court’s verdict, the proven forgers would be sent to prison for three years besides facing lifetime disqualification from contesting the polls.

The sources said that it would be premature to say with certainty who would lead the race of disqualification because Punjab University (313 degrees), University of Sindh (108 degrees), University of Peshawar (105 degrees), and 161 more degrees had yet to be dispatched officially and the fate of their status would be determined through the scrutiny. The Presidency fears the outcome of the degrees episode because a large number of fake degrees could enforce mid-term polls in the country. The opposition PML-N apparently opposed holding of mid-term elections but at the end it would favour it. The MQM is another party that would be ready to go for fresh polls but the rest of the parties, including the ANP, JUI-F and Fata members, would not favour this exercise because these groups are not hopeful of returning to the assemblies.

The Sindh government has started pressurising HEC Chairman Dr Javed Leghari to slow down the process. Leghari has not given assurances in this regard and it is expected that a new strategy would be evolved about the HEC chairman next week to ‘deal’ with him when Asif Zardari will be back in the federal capital.



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