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PESHAWAR, May 10: A writ petition seeking disqualification of MMA MPs on academic grounds has sent the six-party ruling alliance in a state of tizzy in the NWFP where more than a dozen of its members fall short of the required education qualification.

Academic record obtained by Dawn shows that 18 of the total 69 MMA MPAs hold certificates of Shahadat ul Alamiat and Shahadat ul Fazilat ul Rasimia — a qualification challenged in the Supreme Court as being not equivalent to a bachelor’s degree as required in Article 8-A of the Conduct of General Elections 2002.

Aslam Khaki advocate, who has filed the petition, has sought disqualification of 65 MMA members of parliament and provincial assemblies on this ground.

The petitioner has argued that the assertion by the Election Commission that these certificates had been recognized by the University Grants Commission as being equivalent to a bachelor’s degree was wrong in that the UGC had accepted them only for teaching purposes only.

Legal experts say that Gen Zia, through his Eighth Constitutional Amendment, had made Shahadat ul Alamiat equivalent to a bachelor’s degree but that it was meant for academic and teaching purposes only. They say in real terms the certificate will be considered equal to a bachelor’s degree only if the candidate passed any two optional subjects at the graduate level.

The petition is coming up for hearing on May 19 and it will be interesting to know the stand to be taken by the attorney-general on behalf of the state.

The petition has generated a great deal of interest, evoking an angry response from Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who threatened to go to the public if the MMA parliamentarians were disqualified. The maulana, who himself holds a Shahadat ul Alamiat certificate, told newsmen here on Saturday that such matters could only be decided by the Election Commission. He said the judges who had taken the oath under the Legal Framework Order had become controversial.

He said the MMA wanted to resolve the LFO issue through negotiations but such tactics could sabotage the ongoing process of dialogue.

The 18 MMA MPAs who have sanads of Shahadat ul Alamiat and who, according to the petitioner, are not qualified to be elected to parliament are: Ibrahim Khan (PF-4, Peshawar-IV), Maulana Mohammad Mujahid (PF-14, Nowshera-III), Maulana Mohammad Idrees (PF-20, Charsadda-IV), Musamir Shah (PF-22, Charsadda-VI), Amanat Shah (PF-24, Mardan-II), Maulana Hafiz Akhtar Ali (PF-28, Mardan-VI), Tajul Amin (PF-30, Mardan-VIII), Qari Mohammad Abdullah (PF-43, Hangu-II), Maulana Dildar Ahmad (PF-61, Kohistan-I), Maulana Asmatullah (PF-62, Kohistan-II), Maulana Qari Gul Azeem Khan (PF-71, Bannu-I), Hamid Shah (PF-72, Bannu-II), Maulvi Abdur Razzaq (PF-73, Bannu-IV), Maulana Irfanullah (PF-82, Swat-III), Qari Mehmood (PF-84, Swat-V), Mufti Hussain Ahmad (PF-86, Swat-VII), Maulana Abdul Rehman (PF-89, Chitral-I) and Maulana Jehangir (PF-90, Chitral-II).

There are 21 MNAs, including five from tribal areas, who hold certificates issued by religious seminaries and whose fate now has to be decided by the Supreme Court. They are: Maulana Rahmatullah (NA-2, Peshawar-II), Maulana Gohar Shah (NA-7, Charsadda-I), Mufti Ibrar Sultan (NA-14, Kohat), Shah Abdul Aziz (NA-15, Karak), Akhunzada Mohammad Sadiq (NA-16, Hangu), Maulana Abdul Malik (NA-21, Mansehra-II), Qari Mohammad Yousaf (NA-22, Battgram), Maulvi Abdul Haleem (NA-23, Kohistan), Maulana Fazlur Rehman (NA-24, Dera Ismail Khan-I), Maulana Nasib Ali Shah (NA- 26, Bannu), Maulana Amanullah Khan (NA-27, Lakki Marwat), Qari Abdul Baees (NA-29, Swat-I), Maulana Abdul Akbar (NA-32, Chitral), Maulana Asadullah (NA-33, Upper Dir), Ahmad Ghafoor Ghawas (NA-34, Lower Dir) and Maulana Inayatur Rehman (NA-35, Malakand).

The five Fata MNAs who hold certificates of Shahadat ul Alamiat are: Maulvi Nek Zaman (NA-40 North Waziristan), Abdul Malik (NA-41, South Waziristan), Mohammad Mirajuddin (NA-42, South Waziristan), Maulvi Mohammad Sadiq (NA-43, Bajaur) and Maulana Khalilur Rehman (NA-46, Khyber Agency).