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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: mohsin814
Full Name: Mohammad M Ansari
User since: 21/Jan/2008
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Graduation condition deprives 97 % of population from contesting elections: AG, ISLAMABAD, April 18 (APP):

Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum Friday told the Supreme Court that the graduation condition has deprived about 97 per cent population of the country from contesting elections, which is contrary to the fundamental rights guaranteed in various articles of the Constitution.

Only 1.4 percent of the country's 160 million people and less than four percent of 68.1 million total registered voters were graduates, he said during the hearing of a petition challenging the graduation condition. The restriction was imposed through an "extra constitutional legislation", he said and gave various references in favour of the petition seeking removal of the graduation condition for contesting elections. The condition will create a new class of rulers and "elite democracy," he said adding that surprisingly one who did not have the B.A. degree could cast vote but could not contest election.

The seven-member bench directed the Attorney General to submit complete data about total population, registered voters and registered graduates, especially province-wise, at the next hearing on Monday. Kamran Murtaza advocate, representing the petitioners Nasir Mehmood and Shameer Ahmed, said that the condition was imposed through an ordinance amending the Representation of Peoples Act and was only meant for general elections held in October 2002. Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar who heads the bench observed that the condition of graduation was not included in Articles 62 and 63, which relates to the qualification and disqualification of a candidate to become member of the Parliament and provincial assemblies. Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar observed that the ordinance was given protection in Article 270 AA of the Constitution through 17th Amendment.

The bench asked the counsel to prove first that the restriction affects the fundamental rights and that the petition relates to public interest. Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar also observed that special seats were allocated for graduates in India but non graduates could also contest election.

Earlier, Mohammad Aslam Khaki submitted a Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA) pleading that the legislation for imposing condition of graduation was a right legislation and it should stay as every job or profession requires certain qualifications. The bench allowed the CMA of Aslam Khaki and permitted him to argue the case on Monday after the competition of arguments of Kamran Murtaza

Also in another news item (Jung News), news media says that the success of Qayyum in the graduation degree case will enable PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari to contest the by-polls as according to some reports Zardari is not a graduate degree holder.

However, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar told The News that that the condition of graduation degree as pre-requisite to contest the by-elections would be eradicated as part of Charter of Democracy (CoD) between the PPP and PML-N.

"We believe that Asif Ali Zardari is a graduate. He has taken a certificate from an institute of London and that, according to our understanding, is equivalent to a graduation degree in Pakistan. However, Asif Zardari hasn't acquired a required equivalence certificate needed to prove him a graduate in Pakistan for contesting the election as it was never needed."

The equivalence certificate will be obtained in due course of time if needed to be presented before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). When asked that according to a report the concerned institute in London had denied that any certificate was ever issued in the name of Asif Ali Zardari, Babar said, "We have asked the concerned institute to send us all the documents of Asif Ali Zardari's qualification and those will reach here in a few days."I can tell you one important thing that Asif Ali Zardari hasn't made a final decision to contest the elections yet, and maybe he decides not to contest the by-elections at all," he added.
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