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Lawmakers asked to submit matric, FA certificates to HEC

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission wrote letters to 428 lawmakers on Thursday asking them to immediately submit required documents to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to help it complete the process of verification of degrees.

The letters were written after the Election Commission received a letter from the HEC, saying that the verification of degrees of 428 lawmakers was not possible unless they provided matric and FA certificates and copies of their computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs).

Election Commission spokesman Muhammad Afzal Khan who is supervising the process of degree verification, told Dawn that the HEC letter and names of the 428 lawmakers had been received.

He said that besides sending letters to members of parliament and provincial assemblies, the commission would also request the Senate chairman and Speakers of the national and provincial assemblies to ask the members to act swiftly in their own interest. He said the lawmakers failing to do so would be assumed to have nothing in their defence.

“We would like the process to be completed by Oct 24, but would recommend lawmakers not to wait for the last date,” he said.

The HEC has pointed out in its letter that sets of educational documents of 428 lawmakers are incomplete and their record is not available with universities concerned.

The HEC also sought the help of the Election Commission in arranging the record to enable it to carry on the process.

Meanwhile, the HEC said on Thursday it was committed to completing the process of verification in cooperation with the Election Commission.

A spokesman for the HEC clarified in a statement that the HEC had neither returned any degree to the Election Commission nor had issued any statement saying it would stop verifying lawmakers’ degrees.

The rules governing the process have so far allowed well over 400 lawmakers to get away with suspected dodgy degrees. A number of them are highly influential people close to the government and unless the Election Commission puts its foot down, their cases may not be decided till the assemblies’ tenure.

The Election Commission, however, says it will continue to carry out the task assigned to it by the Supreme Court. The EC spokesman said the initial hearing of cases of 58 lawmakers accused of holding fake degrees would be completed in the two sittings slated to be held on Oct 18 and Oct 25.

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