Pakistan News: In an unprecedented move, the prime minister has ordered verification of academic qualifications of all federal government employees.
An official announcement issued here on Saturday said: “Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has directed the Establishment Division that educational degrees/certificates of the employees working in all federal government institutions may be verified for authenticity by the respective heads of the institution.”
The prime minister has also expressed a desire that the Federal Public Service Commission should ensure authenticity of degrees and certificates of the candidates who appear in exams/tests for selection in the government service.
Although the announcement is silent about a possible action against government servants found guilty of possessing the fake degrees, legal experts say that such employees can lose their posts and privileges.
The motive behind the move is not clear, but some political analysts believe that some parliamentarians have been urging the prime minister to initiate the process because they believe that the exercise to verify their degrees is being carried out at the behest of forces in the so-called establishment and bureaucracy to malign the reputation of the elected representatives.
Some members of the Pakistan People`s Party had already expressed such views while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly.
The deadline to complete the process of verifying the degrees of government employees has been set as April 4.
Keeping in view the time being consumed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the ongoing process of verification of degrees of 1,098 members of the Senate and National and provincial assemblies, the two months` time given to complete the job seems very unrealistic because it is estimated that there are more than 350,000 federal government employees in various institutions and corporations across the country.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has recently sent cases of 14 parliamentarians to the respective district police officers for registration of an FIR to initiate legal process against them in light of the decision of the Supreme Court.
Sources in the ECP told the commission had so far verified degrees of 816 elected representatives and the degrees of 60 lawmakers had been found to be fake.
They said the degrees of 282 MPs could not be verified because they had not submitted copies of their matriculation and intermediate certificates.
The process to verify degrees of lawmakers was initiated in July last year when the Supreme Court, while hearing the petitions filed by various candidates against their rivals challenging their academic degrees, directed the ECP to carry out the exercise and take legal action against those who had committed forgery.
Later, the National Assembly`s standing committee on education, headed by PML-N`s Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali, also urged the HEC to verify the degrees.