ISLAMABAD: Seemal Kamran, a woman member of the Punjab Assembly is among a few lawmakers who have been continuously ignoring notices issued by the Election Commission asking them to appear before its officer handling the issue of lawmakers’ degrees.
And she has a reason to stay away from proceedings as she claims to have graduated in 1996, but the degree she holds was issued in 1991. This emerged during the hearing of cases of lawmakers accused of holding fake or invalid degrees.
A report sent by the Punjab University said the degree was fake and had never been issued by it.
In all 15 lawmakers were asked to appear before the EC officer on Monday, but more than half of them neither appeared in person nor sent their counsel or representatives.
Seemal Kamran and three other members of the Punjab Assembly, Shamaila Rana, Farah Deeba and Syeda Majida Zaidi, have been given the last chance to appear on Oct 21, failing which it would be assumed that they had nothing in their defence and their cases will be closed and placed before the Chief Election Commissioner for final orders in the light of the Supreme Court’s directive on the matter.
Others who did not turn up and were given final notices for Oct 25 include members of the National Assembly Hayatullah Khan Tareen (NA-155), Ghulam Dastagir Rajar (NA-235), Mazhar Hayat (NA-138) and Punjab Assembly Member Muhammad Safdar Gill (PP-274).
For Ms Samina Khawar Hayat (PP-Reserved), an advocate appeared and filed a fresh power of attorney. The cause list of Lahore High Court was provided as evidence that the counsel previously engaged was busy and was unable to appear and Oct 25 was fixed for the next hearing.
Advocate Jehanzeb Akhtar representing Ijaz Ahmed (PP-209) sought two weeks’ adjournment for filing a reply and providing relevant documents. The committee provided him relevant order of the Supreme Court about degree cases and fixed Oct 25 for the next hearing.
Qasim Farooq, brother of Afshan Farooq (PP-Reserved), appeared as her representative and asked for an adjournment on the grounds that she was in Hyderabad and could not appear because of domestic engagements. This case also will be taken up on Oct 25 and the MPA was asked to appear positively on the date either in person or through the counsel.
Sohail Manzoor Khan representing Sardar Mir Badshah Khan Qaisrani (PP-240) provided previous court verdicts about his degree. The committee, after going through these court verdicts, asked him to provide the final judgment and fixed Oct 25 for the final hearing of the case.
Ms Nasim Nasir Khawaja appeared in person and asked for relevant documents for filing a reply. She was given the documents and asked to appear on Oct 21.
Muhammad Khan Toor, Balochistan Minister for Population Welfare (PB-16), appeared in person and provided original documents which were given to a representative of the Higher Education Commission for verification.
Advocate Rustam Khan Padhiar appeared for Saima Aziz (PP-Reserved) and pleaded that he had already submitted her academic documents.