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Ex-lawmaker jailed in fake degree case

Updated February 18, 2017

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GUJRAT: Former MNA Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhary was sentenced to three-year imprisonment by a Mandi Bahauddin sessions court on Friday after an election tribunal found in 2014 that his educational degree was fake.

He was arrested and sent to the Mandi Bahauddin district jail after Additional District and Sessions Judge Nisar Ahmed issued the verdict.

The Gujranwala division’s election commission had filed the case against the former lawmaker on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Mr Chaudhary was elected a member of the National Assembly in the 2013 general elections as an independent candidate from NA-108 (Phalia-Mandi Bahauddin). He then joined the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, but his rival, Mumtaz Ahmed Tarrar, a PML-N candidate at the time, challenged his bachelor’s degree and accused him of concealing assets while filing nomination papers.

In March 2014, the election tribunal of the Lahore High Court disqualified Mr Chaudhary and a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court later rejected his plea and declared him disqualified on April 13, 2015.

Mr Chaudhary joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) before he was disqualified by the Supreme Court and remains affiliated with the party.

Earlier, he had contested an election for the National Assembly in 2002 on a PML-Quaid ticket and later joined the PML-N in 2008. The party did not give him a ticket for the election so he contested it as an independent candidate.

Following his disqualification, a by-election was held in June 2015, which PML-N’s Mumtaz Ahmed Tarrar won by defeating Tariq Tarrar Raika of the PTI, a former PPP MNA from that constituency.

The petitioner had alleged that Mr Chaudhary had never been to the Philippines but had submitted a bachelor’s degree from an educational institution of that country.

He also claimed that the respondent and two of his brothers — Imtiaz Ahmed, a former district naib nazim and former tehsil nazim of Mandi Bahauddin, and Ishfaq Ahmed — had been allotted seven-marla plots each in a low-income housing scheme in 1989, but concealed this in the nomination papers.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2017