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Not Education, but Political Dishonesty

(A modified version published in the Daily Times on 04.07.2003)

Nadeem Yousaf

 

Musharraf’s government made it mandatory through an ordinance that elections contestants must be graduates. As a matter of fact, the imposed law had no justification, especially, in a country where illiteracy rate is so high, except fulfilling the hidden agenda to disqualify many seasoned politicians. Although, the mandatory law was unjust but still candidates followed the instructions. The election commission scrutinized level of education before allowing individuals to contest the elections 2002.  The election commission was in knowledge that many contestant of MMA had obtained degrees from the Madrassas but it accepted their education as equivalent to B.A. degree. It is strange when their degrees were accepted at that time without any objection, how the election tribunal, comprising Justice Tariq Pervaiz of the Peshawar High Court, could disqualify Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s MNA, Mufti Ibrar Sultan on the grounds that his religious education is not equivalent to the formal graduation degree. Moreover, the argument of Attorney General (AG) of Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan is completely unconvincing that the University Grants Commission (UGC) had no power to declare the degrees of religious institution-Wifaqul Madaris as equivalent to the formal graduation degrees of the universities. It is part of the UGC to accredit the degrees of local and foreign universities. The timings of the tribunal verdict is also alarming because a constitutional petition has already been filed by advocate Aslam Khaki against 65 parliamentarians before the Apex Court of Pakistan and the danger is that it might influence the result of the pending petition.  

 

The fact that pre-election rigging did not bring the desired for Musharraf’s government; his regime did not expect that MMA would win so many provincial and national seats and become a nuisance for the government. After election, his government put in best efforts to tame the opposition through using political means but could not; so now it seems that the government has decided to use the legal system to get the desired result.  The tribunal court verdict prior to the Supreme Court decision is seems to be a signal to the MMA that if they would not act upon as the government wants they would be thrown out of the parliament through back door means.

 

Obviously, such unjust political tactics would not improve the image of the current government in the minds political conscious people. Using legal courts for achieving political objectives will further hamper justice system in Pakistan, which is already in miserable condition. The recent verdict of the elections tribunal will most probably bring political instability more in the country. Musharraf must remember if he reaches to the point where he uses power to roll back the so-called democracy, he shall be blamed and not the politician. The problem with Musharraf is that he wants democratic institutions to serve him, which is not possible. Of course people have sent members in the parliament to control him and not the vice versa. Unfortunately, we have yet to understand that it is not education but dishonesty is the chief reason of political instability in the country.

 

02.07.2003

 

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