Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court today warned that lawmakers holding fake-degrees could face criminal cases and gave 189 legislatures, who had not submitted their educational certificates, time until April 5 to submit their documents for verification.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed the hearing of the case pertaining to lawmakers with fake degrees.
During the hearing, the chief justice said that the degrees of 54 parliamentarians were declared as fake whereas 189 lawmakers had failed to submit their matric and intermediate certificates since the past two and a half years.
He added that according to the Constitution of Pakistan members of parliament could face criminal prosecution for intentionally submitting false statements and that the submission of fake degrees by lawmakers was in violation of Article 62 of the constitution.
Chaudhry further said that degrees should be issued from approved institutes and that the matter of degrees should be like an open book, the Dawn reported.
Secretary of the Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed told the court that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had informed the commission in writing about 69 cases of fake degrees held by lawmakers and that the cases were forwarded to the relevant courts for criminal proceedings.
Ishtiaq further said that FIRs were lodged against 21 lawmakers who held fake degrees and that the names of lawmakers holding fake degrees were uploaded on the election commission website.
The bench adjourned the next hearing over the case until April 8 and advised the election commission to send a notice to the 189 lawmakers, as a last chance, giving them time until April 5 to submit their educational certificates for verification, failing which they would declared as disqualified.
The issue of fake degrees has cast a shadow over the political future of scores of former lawmakers ahead of the May 11 general elections.
Having a graduation degree is no more a legal requirement, but anyone who is proved of having forged in the past stands disqualified to take part in elections.
Some big names include former opposition leader and PML-N member Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Sheikh Waqas Akram, Afrasiab Khattak, Bushra Gohar, Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, Samina Khalid Ghurki, and Tahira Aurangzaib, the Express Tribune reported.