ISLAMABAD The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission on Thursday to arrange by-elections for two National Assembly and one provincial assembly seats which fell vacant after the resignation of three legislators accused of holding fake educational degrees.
A six-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi, Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday took up petitions challenging the degrees of PPP legislator Jamshed Dasti (NA-178-III Muzafargarh) and Nazir Ahmed Jat (NA-167 Vehari) and Mohammad Ajmal (PP-63 Faisalabad) of the PML-Q.
The court also asked the secretary of Election Commission to issue within three days a notification about resignation of Jamshed Dasti, who also headed the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Sports.
Mr Dasti, who had been in the limelight for his tough stance against officials of different sports bodies for their extravagant lifestyle and poor performance, was stopped from attending the assembly session for three days after he had a quarrel with Faisal Saleh Hayat of the PML-Q last year.
Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed Khan Babar, son of late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, had accused Jamshed Dasti of holding fake degree.
A disoriented and visibly disturbed Dasti informed the bench that he had done his Masters in Islamiat from Al-Shahadat Al Almiya, Multan, in 1998. But he failed to satisfy the court about the period he had spent in the religious institution to get the degree.
He answered wrongly when asked by Justice Ramday about the names of Quranic paras and surahs and arithmetic table. He could not answer when asked about the names of the first two surahs of the Holy Quran.
“Why are you (Mr Dasti) doing wrong things? You are a representative of the public,” Justice Ramday said. “Why do we always misuse the name of God and Islam?” he asked.
Justice Khilji Arif said “You are disgracing the entire house (National Assembly).” Justice Tariq Parvez said that his (Dasti's) action could do more harm than feared.
The bench later asked Abdul Rauf, the counsel for Mr Dasti, to consult his client. The counsel later informed the bench that Mr Dasti had tendered his resignation.
Similarly, Advocate Zulfikar Maluka, representing Nazir Ahmed Jat, informed the court about the resignation of his client. Mr Jat was accused of tampering with contents of the degree he had received from Al-Khair University, AJK.
Justice Ramday asked Advocate Maluka to inform his client that he might land in jail if his degree was found to be bogus. The court was also informed that Mohammad Ajmal had resigned from his PP-63 seat on March 24. He had obtained a Sanad (certificate) from Darul Uloom Mehmoodia Azeemabadi in Bannu.