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IHC dismisses judge for taking bribe in Axact fake degree case

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News Analysis |

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday removed the additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Pervaizul Qadir Memon from service for taking a Rs. 5 million bribe for acquitting Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh and other employees in a fake degree case on October 31st, 2016.

The registrar of the IHC issued a notification of removing ADSJ Pervaizul Qadir Memon from his service.

Allegations had emerged earlier that the judge had admitted of taking Rs. 5 million bribe to acquit the Axact CEO and others. Upon inquiry, Chief Justice of IHC Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi has found the accused guilty of committing a crime and was inflicted with the maximum penalty of removal from service with immediate effect.

Moreover, the decision to run the cases against the Axact owners on priority basis on the order of CJP is also praiseworthy which requires both the IHC and the Sindh High Court (SHC) to decide on Axact cases within two & three-weeks respectively.

The case against the judge was brought forward when Memon challenged the Departmental Promotion Committee decision to not grant him a promotion. He was due to be promoted to the post of district and sessions judge in the IHC.

This decision went against him as the registrar of the IHC issued him a show-cause notice which required him to explain his decision to acquit the Axact and Bol news network chairman Shoaib Sheikh and other employees of Axact. After the self-confessional statement on receiving the bribe in the Axact case, he was suspended by the IHC on June 7th, 2017.

Read more: Supreme Court orders prompt decision on Axact cases

After this, a show-cause notice was issued by the chief justice of IHC which stated that the Memon had acquitted Shoaib Sheikh and other employees of Axact after taking a bribe from the accused, despite the presence of ample evidence against them.

In the show cause notice, Memon had confessed to receiving the bribe in front of the Departmental Promotion Committee constituting of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

The backlash prompted CJP Mian Saqib Nisar to take action and he decided to punish the culprits and said, “Our heads are bowed in shame because of this scandal.” The decision to remove Memon is commendable. It speaks volumes of the presence of accountability within some institutions of Pakistan.

This committee had recommended the removal of Memon from his position as additional district and session’s judge. In the final notice issued on Thursday, the ousted judge was asked by the chief justice of IHC why he should not be removed from service after agreeing with the recommendations of the committee to remove the accused.

After the much-publicized revelations of the New York Times in exposing the murky face of Axact’s business operations and the subsequent closure of Axcat indicated the swift possibility of justice in this case. Thousands of bogus degrees and other material was recovered by FIA. Despite, so much apparent proof, fate of the case in courts has been appalling as prosecutors struggled to convict the culprits.

Read more: Axact back in the limelight over fake degrees scandal

After the acquittal of the accused in fake degree cases, the reputed international publications issued investigative reports regarding the issuance of fake degrees to UK and Canadian nationals.

A show-cause notice was issued by the chief justice of IHC which stated that the Memon had acquitted Shoaib Sheikh and other employees of Axact after taking a bribe from the accused, despite the presence of ample evidence against them.

BBC Radio 4 had reported that thousands of UK nationals have bought fake degrees from a multi-million pound “diploma mill” in Pakistan. Even more in-depth investigations were done by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in a program marketplace, which explained the real business of Axact behind the banner of being an IT-firm. 

In response to these reports, national broadcasters also republished the old stories and reignited the forgotten issue after the bails were granted to the main accused in this high profile case. The backlash prompted CJP Mian Saqib Nisar to take action and he decided to punish the culprits and said, “Our heads are bowed in shame because of this scandal.”

Read more: Supreme Court reserves its verdict on disqualification case under Article 62(1)(f)

The decision to remove Memon is commendable. It speaks volumes of the presence of accountability within some institutions of Pakistan. Moreover, the decision to run the cases against the Axact owners on priority basis on the order of CJP is also praiseworthy which requires both the IHC and the Sindh High Court (SHC) to decide on Axact cases within two & three-weeks respectively.


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