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SC annuls ECP order against PTI MPA over fake degree

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday annulled a decision by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to register a case against PTI MPA Faisal Zaman for possessing a fake degree.

Faisal Zaman was elected a member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly from Haripur district. The ECP had ordered registration of the case against him in 2013 for possessing a fake degree.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the case. The counsel for Zaman told the court that his client’s degree had been verified by the university and it was beyond the ECP’s domain to take up such cases.

The top court observed that the election commission was not a court of law and was authorized to send a criminal matter to the sessions court. The court declared the order of launching criminal proceedings against Faisal Zaman as null and void.

“The election commissions on the recommendation of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), declared him disqualified but the HEC is not a court of law”, the court observed. “No one can be declared disqualified without recording witness accounts,” the bench said.

Earlier on January 12, an anti-terrorism court in Abbottabad sent Faisal Zaman to prison after the cancellation of his bail in the murder case of PTI activist Malik Tahir Iqbal who was killed in Haripur district a few months back.

Faisal Zaman was arrested on the spot by CTD police. Unidentified gunmen had shot dead PTI leader Tahir Iqbal and his driver Sardar Gul Nawaz on September 14, 2020 in Kotera village of Ghazi tehsil in Haripur.

The suspect s had fled the scene and leaving their motorcycles which were seized by police. They were arrested from Battagram and revealed that Faisal Zaman had paid them for the murder.

The CTD raided the house of accused MPA Faisal Zaman but the police failed to arrest him. However, the accused received interim bail by an ATC Special Court.