Chief Court disqualifies Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan in fake degree case

GILGIT: A three-member bench of the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court has disqualified Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid as a member of GB Assembly, effectively bringing an end to his tenure.

Led by Justice Malik Inayatur Rehman, the three-member bench ruled that the, now, former CM failed to prove autenticity of his University of London’s law degree, and, thus, ceased to be “Sadiq” and “Ameen”. Speaker of GB Assembly was directed in a short order issued to approach the Election Commission of Gilgit-Baltistan with the information.

Petitioner Ghulam Shehzad Agha, member of the opposition, had submitted a petition seeking disqualification of CM Khurshid after a report revealed that the later had submitted a fake degree to get membership of the bar.

Election Commission of GB has issued a notification disqualifying CM Khalid Khurshid

Higher Education Commission, responsible for authenticating educational qualifications, later cancelled an equivlancy certificate given to Khalid Khurshid, after they reportedly failed to get confirmation of authenticity from the University of London. The news about the fake degree was first reported by Shabbir Mir, a noted Gilgit based journalist.

Hearings concluded earelir today and then the verdict was announced, ending Khalid Khurshid’ short stint as the region’s Chief Minister, 2 years and 7 months after he was sworn in.

Amjad Hussain Advocate, who is also the opposition leader in Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly, was representing the petitioner Ghulam Shehzad Agha, while Advocate Asad Ullah was leading the team representing Khalir Khurshid.

Surprise for the Petitioner, Ghulam Shehzad Agha

The verdict announced by the Chief Court also had a surprise for the petitioner, Ghulam Shehzad Agha, who now faces disqualification for ‘concealment of facts’. The short order says that Agha deliberately concealed information from the court during the trial that he was on a terrorism watch list under Article IV of the Anti-Terrorism laws.

It is pertinent to note that Agha joined Pakistan Peoples Party a few years ago. He was a nationalist leader before joining PPP. He is a technocrate member of the GB Assembly.

Reactions to the Verdict

The verdict was announced amid tight security around the courthouse. Heavy contintents of Police, FC and Rangers were deployed to maintain law and order.

PTI’s supporters had gathered in large numbers around the court and chanted slogans against the verdict. They said that CM was being punished because he chose to stand with PTI’s embattled leader Imran Khan.

Opposition party supporters, from PPP and PMLN, celeberated the verdict, dancing and distributing sweets.

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