ISLAMABAD, April 17: A division bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday suspended a notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and de-notified Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri, a senator from Balochistan, on charges of having a fake degree.

The division bench, comprising of Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, took up the matter and issued notices to the ECP and sought their reply on it.

In the proceedings, Senator Zehri was represented by Shah Khawer advocate, who made the argument that Senator Zehri's degree is original and the problem is simply that the Higher Education Commission has not as yet recognized the issuing institute.

Advocate Khawer contended that the HEC in its letter on August 5, 2010 did not declare Zehri's degree fake, and that the ECP had de-notified his client without giving him a chance to present his point of view in a hearing.

The counsel argued that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has also maintained that parliamentarians should be given a fair chance in a hearing before making any decisions regarding the authenticity of their degrees.

To establish the merit of the senator's degree, Advocate Khawer further made the case that his client had obtained a Bachelors in Business Administration in Management and Agriculture in 2004, and the Returning Officer had approved his nomination papers for contesting the Senate elections without any objections.

In the proceedings, the petitioner implored the court to declare the ECP’s April 5 notification void.

The IHC bench, in response, suspended the notification for now, putting the matter on hold till the first week of May.

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