Pak minister indicted for possessing fake degree



Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Thursday indicted a provincial minister for possessing a fake degree and adjourned the case against him till November 15.

District and Sessions Judge Shehbar Khan indicted Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa Sports Minister Syed Aqil Shah in Peshawar on a charge of filing a fake graduation degree with the Election Commission to contest the 2008 elections. Shah refused to accept the charge.

The provincial election commissioner filed a complaint in the court against the minister for submitting a fake degree.

He said Shah filed his nomination papers with a returning officer after declaring on oath that he was a graduate and met the qualification requirements under the Constitution.

The complaint contended that Shah had contested the election from a constituency in Peshawar on the basis of a fake degree. The Higher Education Commission scrutinised the degree in August 2010 and declared it was fake.

Besides, the University of Punjab had stated that it had no records for Shah. The court had earlier issued a bailable warrant for the minister after he failed to appear before the judge.

The warrant was withdrawn when Shah appeared in person before the judge. According to legal experts, those who contested polls with a fake degree could face charges under both election and criminal laws.

If convicted under elections laws, the minister could be given a prison sentence of up to three years, experts said.

PTI