Fake degree scandal: Federal communication minister accused of selling fake degrees

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ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif’s slogan of “Parha Likha Punjab” has become a tragic farce, as an institute Indus International Institute (III) in Dera Ghazi Khan inaugurated by him back in 2011, is allegedly involved in selling fake degrees since the last seven years, but no one can dare take action against the owner.

The institute is being run by the Federal Communication Minister Hafiz Abdul Kareem who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Due to his position and standing in the ruling party, the provincial government had refrained from taking any action against him, a protesting student told Pakistan Today.

After facing many disappointments, the affected students reached the federal capital to register their protest and set up a protest camp in front of Islamabad Press Club.

The protesting students chanted slogans against Kareem for destroying their future by luring them to take admission in the institute. They said that the minister was directly responsible for destroying the future of about 15,000 students.

They said that the university management had been issuing fake degrees to students since 2011, which had put the future of thousands of students at stake because the bogus degrees had no worth in the job market.

They alleged that Kareem managed to convince Shehbaz Sharif to be present at the institute’s inauguration. Later, Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana and Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashood Khan were invited for the convocation to award degrees in an attempt to win over the trust of both the students and their parents, despite being a certified bogus institute.

They said that action should be taken against the Punjab education minister because he was equally responsible for playing with their future, adding that it was impossible to think that the education minister was unaware about the bogus status of the institution.

The protesting students said that despite completion of their studies, they have been trying to get their original degrees from the institute but were refused. It is important to mention here that currently the institute is not affiliated with any recognised university.

They said that though the institute administration claimed that it was affiliated with the Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF) but GCUF Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali cancelled the bogus affiliation of the Indus International Institute with the university two weeks ago, thus putting the future of 1,500 students at stake.

They lamented that though they have been protesting for over two years and knocked at every door to get justice, but their efforts could not bear fruit since they were not well off and the university took advantage of this issue.

Further, the protesting students alleged that the security guard of the influential MNA started aerial firing when they were protesting outside the house of Abdul Kareem. They said that the police refused to arrest the security guard and instead threatened them with dire consequences if the protest was not called off.

“We face great embarrassment whenever we apply for jobs because no one accepts our degree in the market as the HEC did not verify our degrees and instead declared them fake,” the students complained.

A student, while talking to this scribe, said that the feudal system in Dera Ghazi Khan was intact even in the 21st century and no one dared to raise their voice against the few selected families who treated the people of the area as part of their fiefdom.

When this scribe contacted Abdul Kareem on his mobile phone, the call was received by someone else who informed this scribe that the minister was out of the country.