ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Election Commission (EC) were locked in a verbal duel on Wednesday, with the HEC saying it had informed the EC that verification of degrees of 428 lawmakers was not possible unless their matriculation and intermediate certificates were provided and the EC denying having received any such communication.
Sources in the HEC told Dawn that sets of educational documents of 428 lawmakers were incomplete and their record was not available with the universities either. “In a situation when neither the previous record is available nor are the lawmakers providing copies of their certificates to the HEC, it is practically not possible for us to carry out the scrutiny process,” an HEC official said.
Election Commission spokesman Mohammad Afzal Khan, who is supervising the process of degree verification on the directives of the Supreme Court, said the commission had received no such report from the HEC. He said the issue was also not raised by an HEC official who visited the Election Commission offices on Monday.
The spokesman praised the work done by the HEC which has so far verified the graduation degrees of over 600 legislators. He said the Election Commission would help the HEC if it was facing any problem.
Under Article 220 of the Constitution, all executive authorities in the federation and provinces were bound to assist the chief election commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of their functions, he said.
Another official expressed his displeasure over HEC’s move to raise issues through the media, instead of using the normal channels of communication.
He said the Election Commission had received copies of the degrees of five lawmakers on Wednesday and forwarded them to the HEC.
He said the lawmakers, including Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi, had submitted the documents voluntarily.
Sources close to the minister who had challenged media reports accusing him of holding a fake degree said he had never been asked by the HEC to provide copies of his matriculation and FA certificates.
The HEC has so far verified the degrees of 603 of over 1,100 lawmakers who had contested elections when being a graduate was a condition to be an eligible candidate.
Of them, 545 have been given a clean chit and 58 degrees have been declared fake or invalid.
The lawmakers accused of holding invalid or fake degrees include two federal ministers, Mir Israrullah Zehri and Humayun Kurd.