Fake Ph.D degree came back to haunts Babar Awan
The Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended the license of Babar Awan temporarily in the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) presidential reference case on January 17th. The court informed President Asif Ali Zardari through Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to seek another representation as his counsel’s license has been suspended. Adding insult to the injury court also sought for complete educational record of former law minister Babar Awan who also holds Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Vice President post. Awan is facing two contempt of court notices for using ‘extremely derogatory’ language in a press conference on the formation of a commission by the Supreme Court for investigating Memogate case. Following the suspension of Awan license by SC, media report were circulating that President Zardari is considering appointing him as law minister replacing Maula Bux Chandio. Later Chandio said that these reports related to his resignation and Awan appointment were complete false and maintained that there is no clash between the government and the judiciary.
Babar Awan, who was a student leader in college life, initially joined PML during the time of former Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. He joined Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in 1996. Awan came closer to PPP leadership during the 90s when several PPP leaders of second Benazir Bhutto’s overthrown regime appointed him to represent them in corruption cases created by the newly created government of Nawaz Sharif. He was also pressured by Sharif government several times to quit representing those cases. In November 2008 he was appointed as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and later promoted to Federal Law Minister in December 2009. He resigns along with the rest of the cabinet in early 2011, but he was brought back to office within 48 hours. He resigned in 2011 as minister to peruse Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) murder case. Interestingly one of his brother is a worker of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Punjab. Some detractor and supports of PPP have criticize Baber Awan elevation within the party, especially during Zardari led government, as he is one of the one who distributed sweets on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hanging. At that time he was supporting Zia-ul-haq regime. Mumtaz Bhutto has also pointed that both Babar Awan and Hakim Ali Zardari were enemies of Bhutto and opportunist who had changed their stance to avail benefit arising from the changing times.
Former minister Babar Awan claimed that he had acquired Ph.D from Hawaii based Monticello University between 1997 & 98. He had purchased certificate from an Unaccredited Diploma Mill incorporated in Hawaii and based in Kansas issuing fake degrees. Home base operator of diploma mill Leslie Edwin Snell (aka Gretchen Snell Deckker) was found guilty for issuing invalid degrees in 2000 which Kansas has also accused of being phony. The Circuit Court of the First Circuit in the State of Hawaii has ordered university to not advertise itself for legally qualified to issue any degrees. But Awan claimed that his purchased Ph.D. certificate was awarded to in recognition of his outstanding experience and it is still a valid credential. His claim reminded Baluchistan Chief Minister Akber Raisani famous statement that “Real or fake, degree is degree!”
Zardari led PPP government is stuck in an endless turmoil and is being represented by people whose credentials are highly doubtful and in fact blemish. As the plight of common man remained unaddressed, the government continues to collide with institutions and shamelessly claim to working for the sovereignty of the parliament and democracy.