MMA MPs disqualification case
Supreme Court allows amending plea
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned proceedings of a constitutional petition challenging the educational qualification of 65 Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) parliamentarians till June 12 when the petitioner sought time to add new names to the petition.
The petitioner, Dr Aslam Khaki, said he wanted to add the names of a few more parliamentarians, as they also did not fulfil the educational criterion prescribed for being a parliamentarian or possessed fake degrees. Mr Khaki said these new parliamentarians belonged to political parties other than the MMA.
Pakistan Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan was supposed to submit his reply on Monday but also asked for more time. He told the SC that due to the Eid Miladun Nabi holidays and other business, he could not prepare a reply. He said the case was of an utmost significance and the petitioner had also requested for amending the petition so he (Mr Khan) needed sufficient time to prepare a reply for the court’s assistance. The court conceded the requests and adjourned the case till June 12 allowing the petitioner to add the new names.
Acknowledging the case’s significance, CJ Sheikh Riaz Ahmed on Monday headed the five-member larger bench consisting of Justices Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Qazi Muhammad Farooq, Mian Muhammad Ajmal and Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi. Earlier, a three-member bench had taken the case in the previous hearings. The petitioner maintained that 65 MMA MPs possessed degrees of different unregistered madrassahs, which were considered equivalent to a Masters (MA) in Islamiat, but only for teaching purposes. According to the University Grants Commission’s rules, the madrassah degree (Dars-e-Nizami and Sharia etc) would be considered equivalent to an MA only for teaching purposes and if such a degree holder would like to use it for a purpose other than teaching, he would have to take additional examinations in any two optional subjects other than Islamiat and Bachelors (BA) level Arabic. Only then the degree would be considered as a graduation degree.
According to Article 8A of the Conduct of General Election Order 2002, being a graduate was the minimum qualification for contesting the election for the parliament. The aforesaid article was challenged in the SC, but the court dismissed the petition and upheld the graduation condition.