RAWALPINDI, Nov 1: A sessions’ court of Rawalpindi issued non-bailable arrest warrants for a member of the Punjab Assembly, in a fake degree case.

The warrants were issued after the legislator remained absent from court proceedings, despite issuance of summons.

District and sessions Judge Maroof Ali on October 23, had summoned MPA Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to appear in court on November 1.

He was summoned to respond to a complaint filed by the deputy election commissioner Rawalpindi (DEC), Zahoor Ahmed Pasha against the MPA, for allegedly submitting a fake degree of Punjab University, for the 2008 general elections. The accused later tried to replace it with a diploma issued by Victoria College, London.

The degree actually belonged to Shaukat Aziz Sheikh, an official at social security hospital, Islamabad, who had done his graduation in 1992.

Mr Bhatti obtained the same degree from the Punjab University. Subsequently, the Election Commission forwarded the matter to the Gujar Khan police for registration of criminal case against Mr Bhatti.

After being dissatisfied with the investigations of the Gujar Khan police, the DEC approached the court seeking an action against the MPA for committing forgery and submitting fake documents.

The Gujar Khan police had registered a criminal case against MPA Bhatti on the complaint of the Election Commission of Pakistan for submitting the fake degree, following the 2010 Supreme Court verdict.

The police absolved the MPA, saying he did not submit a Punjab University bachelor’s degree but only a diploma in business administration from London.

However, in the complaint filed through Advocate Raja Shujaur Rehman, the DEC maintained that the degree was checked by the university, who informed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) that the admission form was filled by Shaukat Aziz Sheikh and not Raja Shaukat Aziz. No degree had been issued to Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti by the university.

According to the contents of the complaint, after registration of the criminal case, the MPA with the help of the concerned staff replaced the degree with the diploma in the judicial record.

The MPA was elected in 2008 on a PML-Q ticket and later joined the PML-N. The court would take up the matter again on Nov 6.

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