By Mahvish Akhtar, MMNS Pakistan Correspondent
Former Pakistan National Assembly Member Jamshed Ahmad Dasti resigned in March 2010, because he was accused of presenting a fake Bachelors degree. His resignation came to avoid disqualification because of the forged degree.
He nominated himself when nomination to fill up the same seat that he resigned from.
Mr. Jamshed Dasti is also a candidate for NA-178 by-elections. On May 3rd, 2010 a registered voter of Muzaffargarhâ€™s NA-178 constituency had challenged the approval of nomination papers of Dasti.
The petitionerâ€™s council Mr. Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana had asked the judge to resolve the case before the election begins.
On the May 13th 2010 acting Chief Election Commissioner Justice Javed Iqbal ordered on Thursday prosecution of lawmakers whose educational degrees had been declared to be fake and bogus by courts. The order said that such people must not be allowed to contest any election in future.
Speaking in the National Assembly on the same date as the order, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr.Yousuf Raza Gilani said that degrees should not be a hurdle in eligibility for election. Graduate degrees had never been a condition for standing in election in a democratic setup, he claimed.
Along side the claim that degrees should not be a condition or a hurdle The Prime Minister also said that in future the political parties should not give ticket to fake degree holders because this causes embarrassment.
Mr. Gilani added that this has never been a problem before; it only surfaces in Mr. Musharrafâ€™s time the reasons being that he wanted to keep his opponents away from the general elections of 2002.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan also went to an election rally for Mr. Jamshed Dasti and announced development funds in the constituency of Jamshed Dasti. He defended his act by saying that his brother was also applied for the same seat and if he did not support it would seem like he is holding a grudge against Mr. Dasti for his nomination rather than his brother.
The Prime Minister went on to claim that he did not do anything unethical by announcing development projects in Mr. Jamshed Dastiâ€™s area, he said these were already included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PDSP). The prime minister said parliament should legislate on the issue of fake educational degrees of public representatives.
Justice Javed Iqbal headed the three-member bench of the Supreme Court, which decided honesty and fair play as the criterion for holders of public offices. The Supreme Court also observed that a person deceiving people with a counterfeit degree did not qualify to be a part of any elections.
Informed sources said that 142 election petitions were pending before election tribunals and many of them challenged the qualification of successful candidates on the plea that they were holding fake degrees. The sources said the Election Commission had asked the provincial election commissioners to provide details of the petitions.
The elections took place on May 15, 2010 and still the names of those who allegedly have fake degrees and are running in the elections are not decided.
This situation brings us to an even larger question in the context of our nation. If these people who are supposed to represent the Pakistani public and serve them are lying about something as basic as their education, what else are they lying to us about?
A person who cannot be trusted in one area most likely cannot be trusted in other areas as well. Point that needs to be noted here is that even though the public knows that most of these people are not being completely honest with them they still vote for them and put them in power, or do they?