A (fake) revolution

Published: August 2, 2010

We have already destroyed our education system, why ruin it further?

For the sake of the upcoming generations of Pakistan, this is a plea to rulers to look ahead and use this opportunity to do their best to wash away some of their nasty political past.

The saddest chapter of this shameful crisis was the discrimination towards the Higher Education Commission’s chairman and his brother.

The names of elected MNA’s, MPA’s and Senators of Pakistan continue to be added to the list of fake degree holders being discovered daily by educational institutes.

HEC has the opportunity to make a difference in Pakistan and bring us the much awaited ‘educational revolution’ at least, if not a political one.

The government, first arrested HEC Chairman Javaid Leghari’s brother as soon as degree verification was ordered by the Supreme Court, and later raided the chairman’s house, arrested his domestic staff and threatened to confiscate his land and properties. The raid was in reaction to the HEC’s earlier statement that President’s sister’s degree may be ‘doubtful’ because there were no attendance records. The Chairman of HEC is close to the ruling party, but because of his family name and relatives, it was politically correct for the ‘Jiyalas’ to have pressured him, because the President’s sister was defamed.

It was a relief to note the Prime Minister had immediately consented to meet with the Chairman of HEC upon his request, and had accepted the procedure the HEC would adopt for verification, and had announced that the HEC must not be pressurised and must complete its work as fairly as possible. This was a very responsible action promptly taken by the PM. The PM had also ordered the release of Leghari’s brother from custody during the meeting.

However, such tactics highlight the ‘political will and sincerity’ our leaders have.

The crises of fake degrees is of a great magnitude. We have legislators completing bachelors after masters, possessing degrees from colleges that do not exist; people with zero credentials. It is also not limited to fake degrees, as many institutions these people claim to have attended either do not exist or were not recognised by the HEC. Some institutes claim that they need more time to verify degrees stretching the process to around two months.

The next fake degree is actually very original and can be verified too, but the person holding the degree had hardly attended the institution and got someone else to sit his place during finals. There is no way to have this verified and these are the lucky ones which will remain respected in society.

A punishment for the deceivers must be announced with disqualification — possibly for life — for cheating the system. Along with them, all the applied contenders of the 2008 elections, should be treated the same way and their degrees too must be verified, to understand their intentions for coming to power, and their misuse of the electoral process.

This a chance for the nation to bring ordinary tax payers to the parliament, and do away with people who thrive on the feudal culture for remaining in power and are truly very less in number. I am sure every Pakistani will be ready to support this move by the government. We must understand that the degree requirement was abolished in the year 2008 to accommodate the president to hold office.

The ECP or parliament while giving the verdict on the fate of the fake degree holder must also legislate to amend the rule book and include a mandatory “qualification exam” for anyone interested in serving the country with honesty and dedication. It may be undemocratic but our requirements are a bit different from the rest of the world who have seen these days and have overcome them.

I fail to understand how one can defend a person with a fake educational declaration.

Being uneducated or less educated compared to degree holders is a completely different domain. At present we have people who had desired to be lawmakers but had cheated the system, the law, the constitution and their people by submitting fake credentials.

Initially, there was a mixed reaction, some said the politicians are being targeted for character assassination, most blamed it as the fruit of a dictator and a some wanted the judiciary and the people to focus on more important issues. However, the media and civil society started to express the feelings of the masses and talk shows picked up pace.

Almost all political parties have started aligning with public opinion and this is the only way to move forward to save ourselves and the future of the Pakistani child who will be entering the market in a few years.

But since the Wikileaks incident, and the tragic Airblue crash along with HEC submitting to the Education ministry for reporting (although this should be in direct violation of the Supreme Court orders) the media has fallen quiet and the fake degrees issue is dying down.

Let us hope and request that the political parties will not come out with a new NRO and try to have these unethical lawmakers avoid punishment.

The Ministry of Education has demanded that all records present with the HEC must be transferred to the education ministry immediately, and that the HEC is to report to the Education Ministry.

The excuse: HEC it is a product of a dictator and an incompetent unit.

I seriously doubt the intentions of the Education Ministry, and I can only hope the HEC will not weaken from its revolutionary stand. If the government is interested in reform of HEC, they must wait until the verification to complete as mandated by the Prime Minister.

We have already destroyed our education system, why ruin it further?

The Government has to be respected and trusted to maintain its writ, or there is no other solution. Believe me if the fake degree holders go unpunished, we will suffer for the rest of our lives. It will bring problems for Pakistani’s living locally or abroad, as nobody will trust your genuine degree too. Politicians are a reflection of the society. We are already under a lot of external pressure, let’s at least do something right, and let the HEC and Election Commission of Pakistan remain on the Supreme Court’s orders, and complete the job as fairly as possible.

Pakistan holds the potential to be reformed like any other democratic country. We are going through severe law and order problems and are the direct affectees of the war on terrorism. I pray that the HEC, judiciary and the parliament win this crises for the better of the educational system of Pakistan. We will never forget this “Fake Revolution” if it is meant to be.


Syed Ali Raza Abidi

A businessman who writes on politics and civic issues. He completed his masters in business administration from Boston University. He tweets @abidifactor.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shahid Saeed

    Being in support of prosecuting fake degree holders, I fail to understand certain terms you use.

    Firstly, people are not going to “suffer” if they go free. Accountability will definitely suffer.

    Secondly, nobody, absolutely nobody has stated that HEC was reconstituted as an independent body from the remains of the UGC during Musharraf’s tenure and therefore should not oversee the matter. This is not just a flawed argument, this is a pure mis-statement. Your love for a fascist dictator should not force you to imagine such statements and conjure arguments out of thin air.

    Thirdly, all self styled moralists and self-righteous “patriots” deliberately never mention that the whole scandal is based in the fact that a “politician” (read with all the contempt the urban upper middle class deserves for this name), namely MNA Abid Sher Ali has pursued the case. His intentions have been questioned, however ignoring that a “politician” started the prosecution of other “politicians” is deliberate. The SC deserves very, very little credit for the whole issue.

    Fourthly, all moralists and catch-the-corurpt-politician bloggers deliberately fail to mention that the Charmian HEC is a former PPP Senator who resigned from his senate seat to become the Chairman HEC and his place was filled by Shaukat Tarin and now is occupied by Hafiz Sheikh. I guess you people realize that the argument and moralist critique looses some ground if it is mentioned that the guy being “harassed” is himself a former PPP senator.

    Fifthly, please bring forward any “credible report” that states that the process of verification has been stopped at any time. I challenge you to bring any real evidence. Ansar Abbasi reports of events do not qualify as evidence.

    Sixthly, as I stated the whole issue has been proceeding as expected. There has been vocal denial of the fact that more than 40 people have been declared forgers and cheats and that this is a new dawn in our political history.

    PS: NRO claims do not fit well with MQM people. Recommend

  • Zulfiqar ali

    AS it is positive so what ever is being written on the This Topic “fake Degree” is being considered positive……but i’m surprise…..how our Parliament be ready to be run by the hands of non educated persons… if they have fake degrees…why not they easily catch at the first stage of session during their duties…..is that mean our political governmental work is so simple that even a undergraduate person can do…amazing…..why we are always ready to degrade the persons….if they do have fake degrees….why we are eager to verify them…to degrade them…why not we make such system they if they elected…they attend some schools and give lectures and their documents automatically got proof….and no one will try to beat a road to that is hard to them…because it is too easy to enter here in the parliament so they did…and did not do anything wrong….everyone amongst us do whenever he/she got a chance to progress using shortcuts…so they did so…now it is not a time to verify…but accept them as a victim of our fake system….election commission should abandon after that….our parliament should seek nations pardon that she is feeding such persons who are sucking the blood of educated nation….we should leave fake degree holder free and just put a system around them…they will Inshaallah run away because their capabilities will not meet the situation…what you think..???Recommend

  • Patriot

    Shahid, who is a fascist? dont forget that your statement is seeing the light of day because of thos “Fascist dictator”. It is because of people like you that 99% of Karachi is sitting at home during a weekday!Recommend

  • Sultan Ahmed.

    Fake degree holder are not alone responsible for this crime
    there is long chain and so many important personality attributed
    to it.

    What can be done,
    arrested fake degree holder
    because they are on front
    but those who are co accused in the case
    and hidden anywhere,who will bring them to justice?Recommend

  • abid


    All that I want to say has been summed up excellently by Mr. Cyril AlmeidaRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @Shahid, I can understand your sentiments when MQM stood for principals and realized its mistake of going with the NRO when PPP was offered it. The basic idea of NRO as agreed upon was for the cases which were created by the then PMLN, and PPP Government as political victimization. But the NRO was instead offered to the corrupt and bank defaulters, where MQM had decided to walk away, and let you alone :)

    Why bring in Abid Sher Ali, when this crises started because of Jamshed Dasti? Sher Ali is heading a committee which is reflecting the people’s will, when it should actually be Pakistan “People’s” Party which should be closest to the sentiments of the “Roti, Kapra, Makkan” awam.

    Yourself being an armchair analysis do not know what happens on ground, and live on news sources of your choice.

    Refer to the news items where Zulfiqar Mirza had ordered a raid on the HEC chairman’s house, and Sharmila Farooqui, protest outside the press club as a direct attack on PPP’s very own ex-Senator who appeared to be the right job.

    The process was stopped, when the HEC chairman’s farm house was raided, and he had to go to the PM for protection and release of his brother. Please check related news sources for it. 2nd time if was halted, was because Sardar Assef demanded all records and asked to report to Education ministry, when the SC has clearly ordered the ECP to be handling this issue for final report.

    But believe me, this time, the Media and civil society is not going to let PPP get away with the fake fakeers it has in the ruling seats. Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed

    I appreciate your reply. Now let me get to the point.
    1. Being an arm-chair does not make my points invalid. Self styled “true patriots” should know better.
    2. MQM’s “NRO was for PPP” argument becomes worthless when your party leadership befitted most from the black law (with Gov. Ibad receiving patronage and withdrawls when he came back in 2002). I hope you have seen this list :-http://yfrog.com/7f41557546j
    3. Why take away the credit from Abid Sher Ali? Does a legislator have no individual opinion?
    4. Don’t play the victim card. MQM has benefited from the NRO. Good PR does not mean that you can claim to be morally superior.
    5. Zulfiqar Mirza and party harassing Laghari’s brother has been settled or not? Did the process of verification stop at any time, because that is the main point?
    6. Being we’re-clean-and-peaceful-take-moral-stands are the the least apt words for MQM supporters. You know your history regardless of however you’ve tried to transform the party. Political affiliations should not stop you from looking beyond your party stance.
    7. Since in your opinion, I happen to be siding with the PPP, which is very much expected of ill-thought political commentary, I’d like you to again present any evidence as to how legislators with verified “fake degrees” are getting away. Their names are becoming public on a daily basis and as soon as it is completed (which may take some time), we can then speculate and hypothesize on the nature of their punishments. I do hope that disqualifications alone are not the punishment, rather there should be criminal sentences but the MQM supporters’ holier than thou attitude irks me since there are a lot of questions that have been left unasnwered in your case and moral superiority seems weird for MQM. I’m not the only person who has raised this point on your usual commentary and blind support for the MQM.
    8. Is this a new dawn in our history where legislators are being investigated (in a limited area) and their fate hangs in the balance, all supported by public opinion? Yes, it is.\Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @Shahid – Please read the blog again, and thank you for accepting the mess created by ZM, SF for JL of HEC. Also, lets stay on the subject, otherwise we both have a lot to talk about, as certainly there is a difference of beliefs and opinion.

    I thought you would proudly affiliate yourself with PPP? but am surprised by your reply. I am a proud supporter, but NOT MQM spokesperson or social media face. For that MQM has a Media wing which operates 24/7. Moreover, I am a civil society self-initiated-activist, with my own thoughts and not of or dictated by MQM. This you may clarify from my other blogposts on this page. I have an opinion, you may not. Also it really does not bother me who is being declared a fake degree holder or not, and if you read again, I never said they are being let free, but I disclose my fear in advance, because of actions of the Presidency (Not PM) towards it. Therefore, they should be warned… to not even try it!

    The reality is MQM or PPP has not benefited from the NRO but the cases are with the judiciary and being thrown out left an right which were were politically motivated and without evidence. The corruption and cases with evidence are being pursued, just like they were a day before signing of the NRO.

    With regards to Honorable Governor Sindh taking advantage of the NRO, please refer to these authentic news items http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ki847NaOrA and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4RzUKWdSss

    History is not important right now, this is a case in hand, and these people need to be black listed and kicked out, regardless of their affiliations, and I hope that the Government will be able to earn fame and “people’s” will. Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed

    Nice to hear such profoundly thought-of remarks.

    ZM acted to harass JL. How can you or anybody else state with authority that the order came out of the Aiwan e Sadr? Any proof beyond hunhces and it-must-be, we-all-know statements?

    I never claimed that Gov. Ibad had his cases cleared under the NRO. They were wiped off in 2002 when he became Gov. I never said he was guilty. We all know the nature of the cases and the victimization that went behind them. However, I still find it funny when MQM as a party (isolating you in this statement) maintains its holy status over the NRO and it’s seems really funny.

    You have hypothesized that a certain action is bound to take place. There must be some evidence to suggest that. If you’re relying on let’s say even some historical evidence of a similar nature, it becomes an Ansar Abbasi/Shaheen Sehbai/Saleh Zafar post.

    I hope this does not get treated as a you’re-supporting-AAZ statement, since I happen o value objectivity beyond and above my own hypothesis and predictions, for which I reserve certain other places to express myself.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    @Shahid: I am sure you will pleased to read this news: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=254710Recommend

  • Tania Bashir

    Role of Jang Group [do keep in mind that Jang always incite Clash and Fasad] Human Memory is short and in case of Liars Reporters/Journalists of Pakistan i.e. Mr. Shaheen Sehbai and Mr. Ansar Abbasi it is proven beoynd doubt that Allah snatch Memory from Liars because in the above news Jang Groups quotes and Intelligence Agency Report [read table story] whereas both of these Journalists indulged in Yellow Journalism to the core had themselves running an Election Campaign for Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry by filing reports about the same Sindhi Nationalists, read How Mr. Shaheen and Mr. Ansar incited Ethnic Hate themselves through Daily Jang/The News International and GEO TV.
    Jang Group/Express News VS Sindhi Community.Recommend

  • http://fakedegrees.zzl.org Jamil

    You can check out a complete list of these fake degree holders at http://fakedegrees.zzl.orgRecommend

  • http://diploma-world.com/ fake degree

    my thought is that the fake degree holders are less responsible for this scam, the most responsible are the universities who provide the fake degrees to them, the students think that they got a easy degree without exam, but they are unknown about its harms.Recommend