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Fake degree: PML-N lawmaker Mian Ziaur Rehman disqualified

A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker from Mansehra district has been de-seated after the Peshawar High Court on Tuesday upheld an election tribunal’s decision which ruled that an educational certificate of the lawmaker was a fake.

Mian Ziaur Rehman from Balakot Tehsil had been elected to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly from PK-54 Mansehra II on a PML-N ticket in the 2013 general elections. He had won the seat after securing 24,283 votes, beating off competition from Pakistan Peoples Party’s former provincial minister Syed Ahmed Shah – who secured 13,978 votes – and Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl’s former MPA Syed Junaid Qasim – who secured 12,993 votes.

Shah and Qasim had moved the election tribunal challenging his educational credentials, especially a certificate equivalent to intermediate, which he had obtained from a seminary based in Ghotki, Sindh. Later, Rehman had passed his Bachelors in Arts from the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai University in Khairpur.

The petitioners had contended that the MPA had passed his matriculation from the Government High School in Balakot in April 1996. Moreover, they pointed to documents attached with Rehman’s nomination papers submitted with the returning officer during the 2008 general elections where the PML-N MPA had attached a certificate showing the he had passed the seminary’s exam equivalent to an intermediate in December 1996. On the basis of this document, Rehman had claimed that he had taken admission in Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai University in Khairpur and completed his BA exams.

The petitioners had attached proofs of their claim in their petition and urged the court to disqualify him since he had violated constitutional provisions under Article 62 and 63.

The election tribunal in Abbottabad, after hearing arguments from both sides, had disqualified Rehman in October 2013 for possessing a fake intermediate certificate from the Darul Uloom Ghotki after the seminary’s administration failed to confirm the veracity of the document.

The then tribunal’s judge, Ziauddin Khatak had in his judgement asked the election commission to announce a fresh schedule for by-polls on the vacant seat following Rehman’s disqualification.

However, Rehman had challenged the election tribunal’s order in the Peshawar High Court.

After deliberating the matter for around three and half years, the PHC decided the case on Tuesday.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Zulfiqar, upheld the election tribunal’s decision of de-seating the MPA.

After the election tribunal had initially de-seated the MPA in October 2013, his supporters had staged a massive protest against the election tribunal, blocking the Kaghan Road for multiple hours.

During his time in the K-P assembly, Rehman had served as a member of the assembly’s standing committee on procedures and conduct of business rules, committee on transport and the standing committee on health.

After his disqualification, PML-N’s strength in K-P assembly has fallen
to 13.

Further, another PML-N lawmaker Wajihuz Zaman Khan from PK -56 Mansehra IV, is also facing disqualification after he switched over to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.