ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and a number of his cabinet colleagues are among over 400 lawmakers whose graduation degrees are yet to be verified by the Higher Education (HEC) because copies of their matriculation and intermediate certificates have not been submitted.
The HEC has informed the Election Commission that it is unable to verify the degrees unless it gets the certificates. A list sent by the HEC has the names of 23 senators, 138 members of the National Assembly, 153 provincial legislators of Punjab, 21 of Sindh, 83 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 11 of Balochistan.
Important people on the list include Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi, Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Communications Minister Arbab Alamgir Khan, Population Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Youth Affairs Minister Shahid Hasan Bhutto, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Food Minister Nazar Mohammad Gondal, Minister for Special Education and Social Welfare Samina Khalid Ghurki, Minister of State for Information Samsam Bukhari, Minister of State for Housing Chaudhry Tariq Anis, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mehreen Anwar Raja and Benazir Income Support Programme’s Chairperson Farzana Raja.
Interestingly, the name of Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, whose Oxford degree has been verified by the HEC, also appears on the list. Apparently because he had also submitted his BA degree obtained from the Punjab University along with his nomination papers.
Abdul Qayyum Jatoi, who recently lost the post of minister for defence production for his remarks against the judiciary and the army, is among those whose documents are incomplete.
The list also contains the names of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Awami National Party’s chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, former president Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, former interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, Kashmala Tariq, Attiya Inayatullah, Amir Muqam and Fauzia Habib. The list of senators includes the names of Law Minister Babar Awan, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Wasim Sajjad, Pakistan Muslim League-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former finance minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar, former minister of state for information Tariq Azeem, Afrasiab Khatak and Gulzar Ahmad Khan, father of Privatisation Minister Waqar Ahmad Khan whose degree has been declared genuine.
Punjab Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira and Sanaullah Masti Khel, who gained prominence after moving a resolution in the Punjab Assembly against the role of media, are also on the list.
The MPAs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the list include former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, former federal minister Anwar Saifullah Khan and Basheer Ahmad Bilour.