Taking a plea of “law”, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday revealed that it gave clean chit to at least seven lawmakers who contested last general elections on the basis of fake degrees.
In a press release, the commission said under Section 76 of the Senate Election Act 1975, no prosecution for an offence under Section 58 shall be commenced except (a) within six months of the commission of the offence.
The commission said due to the law, no action was taken against six fake degree-holding senators.
They include Israrullah Khan Zehri, Mir Mohabat Khan Mari, Rehana Yahya Baloch, Nawabzada Muhammad Akbar and Dr Israr Hussain.
Israrullah Khan: The commission said the time taken to verify his degree was consumed for a period of more than six months, as such, following the dictates of law, the commission closed the case on August 11, 2011 due to the legal bar referred above.
Mir Mohabat Khan Mari: The ECP said the case was also closed on January 31, 2012 on the same ground.
Rehana Yahya Baloch: The case was closed on May 21, 2012 on the same ground.
Senator Wali Muhammad: The commission said the case was closed on December 15, 2010 on the ground that he returned as Senator in 2009 when the condition of BA degree was not compulsory.
Nawabzada Muhammad Akbar: Defending the lawmaker, the ECP said he contested the Senate Elections in 2009 when the condition of possessing a graduation degree was not compulsory.
Dr Israr Hussain: The ECP said it had been pointed out by the petitioner Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan that he had approached a sessions court for prosecuting Senator Dr Israr Hussain and cognisance of the offence had been taken up by the court, therefore, he did not want to proceed any further and desired to take back the petition. The case was disposed of on January 7, 2011.
The ECP added that it did not take action against two female fake degree-holding lawmakers as they submitted their resignations.
They included Shumaila Rana and Shabina Khan.
The case was closed by the chief election commissioner on January 15, 2011 due to the resignation.
The press release added that the ECP derived its jurisdiction from the constitution and law, as well as directions issued from time to time by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“The Election Commission was directed by Supreme Court to initiate action against all such persons who were accused of commission of corrupt practices; of committing forgery and of using, as genuine, documents which they knew or at least had reason to believe to be forged.”
“The Election Commission shall ensure that the investigations in these matters are conducted honestly, efficiently and expeditiously and shall depute one of its senior officers to supervise the same.”
It said the sessions judges to whom these trials would then be entrusted, had also been directed to conclude the same without any delay, “in consonance with the spirit of the Elections laws as displayed, inter alia, by the Provisos newly added to subsection (1-A) of section 67 of Representation of the People Act, 1976 through the Amending Act No IV of 2009 promulgated on November 2,-2009”.