Monday, November 18, 2013

The mentality of Pakistani politicians: a glimpse

A member of the national assembly is disqualified by the Supreme Court for holding a fake / forged degree. See the details and especially her reaction; she did not a bit feel ashamed of her misdeed:

SC disqualifies Sumaira Malik in fake degree case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Monday declared Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Sumaira Malik as ineligible for holding a fake degree, Geo News reported. 
The SC had reserved the ruling in a case pertaining to alleged bogus degree of PML-N leader and MNA Sumaira Malik. The court also declared 2008 notification as null and void, declaring her successful in 2008.

A three-member bench of apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed announce the verdict reserved on October 09, 2013.

It is worth mentioning here that Malik Umar Aslam Awan had filed civil appeal against high court verdict given in fake degree case against Sumaira Malik.

Sumaira Malik was an elected member of National Assembly from constituency NA-69 of Khushab district in Punjab on PML-N ticket in 2008.

During the course of hearing, Hamid Khan Advocate appeared on behalf of applicant Umar Aslam Awan while Barrister Iftikhar Gilani argued the case on behalf of Sumaira Malik.

[The News, October 28, 2013]

SC disqualifies Sumaira Malik over fake degree

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday disqualified the ruling PML-N MNA Sumaira Malik for possessing a fake degree and ruled that she would not be entitled to contest future elections. 

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, disqualified Sumaira Malik under Article 62(1) (f) of the Constitution. 

The court ruled that the PML-N MNA was not qualified to contest the elections in terms of constitutional provisions and she was not holding the office of MNA from Constituency 69 with lawful authority, as a disqualified person had no right to represent the electorate of the country. 

“Therefore, on account of such qualification she would not be entitled to contest the election in future as well, and if she does contest elections and is declared as successful, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shall be bound to de-notify her,” the court ruled in its judgment. 

The court noted when she submitted nomination papers she was not qualified, as according to the findings so recorded by the court, she had obtained a BA degree through impersonation and as it was normally disclosed by the candidates in the nominations papers, she had proved herself not to be a truthful person. 

The court after allowing the appeal filed by Malik Omar Aslam, the rival candidate of Sumaira Malik, declared the notification dated 01.03.2008, notifying Sumaira Malik as the returned candidate from the Constituency NA-69 (Khushab-I) in the general elections held on 18.02.2008, to be void.

“Sumaira Malik is hereby declared to be disqualified from becoming member of parliament with all its consequences and a copy of the judgment be sent to the ECP for further proceeding in accordance with law,” says the verdict. The court also ruled that appellant was also held entitled to the cost throughout. 
Sumaira Malik was elected an MNA on PML-N’s ticket from Khushab in 2008. However, Malik Omar Aslam challenged her victory in the Supreme Court, stating that she had fake academic record and that she hired a person impersonating her in degree examinations. 

The court observed that Sumaira Malik had obtained a BA degree by way of impersonation meaning thereby that at the time when she filed nomination papers she was not qualified to contest and had proved herself not sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and Ameen in terms of Article 62(1) (f) of the Constitution, as has held in the case of Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi’s case (PLD 2012 SC 1089). 

“It may be noted that under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan there are certain disqualifications which are of temporary nature and a person disqualified under Article 63 can become qualified after lapse of certain period as mentioned therein, whereas, the requirements of Article 62 are of permanent nature and a person has to fulfill certain qualifications/conditions to become eligible to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), otherwise he is not eligible to be a Member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament),” the verdict observed.

[The News, October 29, 2013]

SC finds Sumaira Malik’s husband guilty of manipulation

ISLAMABAD: Sumaira Malik’s husband, a government servant and the key position he held when she did her fake graduation from the Punjab University, found mention in the Supreme Court judgment that disqualified her as an MNA and found the husband guilty of manipulation. 

“Tahir Sarfraz was in a position to have his way with university officials who were dependent on him and he could manipulate matter in the university and actually did so,” the judgment said. 

What senior bureaucrat Tahir Sarfraz did for his spouse was nothing out of the ordinary but was normal as husbands do for wives, without knowing that one day even such a routine favour would turn out to the great disadvantage of their life partners. 

The ruling said that it may be noted that at the time of submission of application form for examination of Bachelors of Arts in the Punjab University, Tahir Sarfraz, was Additional Secretary (Schools) in the Punjab Education Department and had attested her alleged admission form. 

In reply, Sumaira Malik denied the allegation as false and her stand was that she was bona fide graduate and the allegation was highly degrading and vague. However, the Election Tribunal (ET), which dismissed the petition against her, referred to the statement of Muhammad Rauf Nawaz, Deputy Controller (Examination), who appeared as prosecution witness, and also discussed the details of the record, including the statement of Rauf Nawaz and details of the document, which according to him was admittedly part of the record of the university. 

The judgment said it is important to note that the ET also observed that what is important to note is that the allegation of impersonation was leveled by the petitioner, Umar Aslam, against Sumaira Malik for the first time in the year 2002 by way of an application before the Punjab University. These charges were not proved and after due inquiry in which the both parties participated, her degree was found to be valid and the charge of impersonation was found to be baseless. The ET relied upon the university findings. 

It said that the so called enquiry and its findings are evidently fake, false and manipulated in order to cover up the impersonation. There is no notice of proceedings of enquiry for 2002 as is evident from the report of December 10, 2002. She does not seem to have appeared before any enquiry committee and the writing and signatures appears to have been procured because she does not remember the number of committee members, who was its head, what were their designations, what is thedate of appearance before the committee and who dictated her writing. 

According to the judgment, her husband at the given time held a very important position being Additional Secretary (Schools) and the Punjab University is controlled by the Provincial Education Department as per the rules of Business of the Punjab Government. Thus, Tahir Sarfraz was in a position to have his way with university officials who were dependent on him, and he could manipulate matter in the university and actually did so, the decision said. 

Sumaira Malik’s election in 2008 from Khushab was challenged the same year, but the ET handed down its decision in her favour in 2013.The apex court did not approve such long delay and said that the provisions of section 67(1A) of the Representation of Peoples Act(RPA) are mandatory in nature. This is evident as the section contains penal consequences for taking adjournments and failing to decide an election petition within four months. 

In this regard it is instructive to have recourse to the decision of apex court in the case of Maulana Nurul Haq v Ibrahim Khalili (2000 SCMR 1305), wherein it was held that it is abundantly clear that Section 67(1A) is a mandatory provision of law that entails penal consequences for non-compliance. Therefore, the ET failed to penalize Sumaira Malik for repeatedly delaying the proceedings. 

The decision quoted the law, which said where a petition is not decided within four months, further adjournment sought by any party will be granted only on payment of special cost of Rs10,000 per adjournment, and adjournment will not be granted for more than three days. If the ET itself adjourns it will record reasons for it. Where delay in the proceedings is occasioned by any act or omission of a returned candidate or any other person acting on his behalf, the ET itself, or on application of the aggrieved party, will after issuance the show cause notice to the returned candidate, within 15 days from the date of show cause notice may order that the returned candidate has ceased to perform the functions of his office either till the conclusion of the proceedings or for such period as the ET may direct. 

The ruling said that It has been noticed that not only in the instant case but in so many other identical cases pertaining to elections, timely decisions are not taken by the ETs because they are ordinarily presided by high court judges, who remain unable to conclude matters expeditiously on account of their other judicial commitments, or because of delaying tactics employed by respondents who, having been declared as returned candidates enjoy the status of member of the National or Provincial Assembly. 

“We are of the considered opinion that, as held by this Court in Muhammad Usman Achakzai v Election Tribunal Balochistan PLD 2010 SC 943), such delays in disposal of election petitions before the Tribunal in fact deprive a large number of electors of the constituency to have their due representation in the elected Houses, particularly in those matters where a whole term has been enjoyed by a winning candidate, who may later turn out to be disqualified on any count.”

Thus, the decision said, delay causes the people of constituency to be represented by a person who is not duly elected. This clearly negates the principle of democratic system of government. There is wisdom in fixing the period for decision of such cases that there should be no uncertainty for the persons, who have been elected or who have challenged the election before the ET or the court and after expeditious disposal of the same. They should consume all their energies for the welfare of the people whom they represent, instead of wasting time in pursuing such matters before the courts, it said. 

It was held that the contention of an appellant that fair hearing was not afforded to him was without merit and in fact spoke volumes of his propensity to prolong litigation at any cost. It is thus clear that a legal duty has been cast upon the ET to reach a conclusion expeditiously by following stringent/coercive measures of imposing a cost and assigning the reasons if cases are adjourned by the ET.

[The News, October 29, 2013]

Procuring a fake degree: Top court disqualifies PML-N’s Sumaira Malik

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Sumaira Malik for holding a fake degree. She has proven not to be a truthful person, the court judgment held on Monday, asking the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to proceed against her and not allow her to contest elections in future.

Malik had emerged victorious in the elections in constituency NA-69 Khushab in 2008.
The apex court said that Malik should be asked to reimburse all the expenditure incurred while she was in office. The decision was reserved by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on October 9 and was announced by the court on Monday. Malik’s sister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member Ayla Malik was also disqualified in July for the same reason.

“It is clear that in order to make herself qualified for contesting elections in the year 2002, she arranged for a Bachelor of Arts degree by way of impersonation to fulfil the requirements of Article 8-A of the Conduct of General Election Order, 2002. After having passed her Intermediate exam in the year 1981, it was not necessity for her to obtain a BA degree,” the judgment says.

The court further held that as a disqualified person she has no right to represent the electorate of the country and on account of such qualification, she would not be entitled to contest the election in future as well. Meanwhile, if she does contest elections and is declared successful, the election commission shall be bound to de-notify her win.

According to the defendant, the record does indicate that she actually took the BA examination herself. However, the complainant argues that in the absence of having her photographs on the application form, registration record, as well as the record of examination, someone else took the examination on her behalf and Sumaira Malik procured a bogus degree.

It was further argued that if there is any record with the university, it was falsely created under the direct and unlawful influence of her husband, Malik Tahir Sarfraz, who was then serving as Additional Secretary, Schools, and had attested her alleged admission form.

Earlier, a Punjab University committee had given a clean chit to Sumaira Malik, whereas, an Election Tribunal also relied on the committee’s findings. However, the case remained pending before the courts and finally landed in the Supreme Court, which resulted in her disqualification.

“A plain comparison of the signature on the ID Card bearing No 128-64-180716, handwritten samples and the signatures on the admission form clearly indicate that there is lot of difference….” the court observed in the judgment.

The court defended the delay in this case: “It has been noticed that in so many other identical cases pertaining to elections, timely decisions are not taken because, inter alia, election tribunals are ordinarily presided by learned Judges of the High Courts who remain unable to conclude matters expeditiously on account of their other judicial commitments.”

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) had received over a hundred degrees for verification belonging to legislators from the National Assembly as well as the provincial assemblies.
Official figures had revealed that around 50 MNAs and MPAs with alleged dubious or fake degrees belong to the ruling PML-N. It is followed by PTI, the party ruling in K-P, which has degrees of 24 MPAs and MNAs being challenged in the courts.

[The Express Tribune, October 29, 2013]

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