Pak SC calls fake degrees scandal a "national shame"

Pakistan's Supreme Court today termed as "national shame" the fake degrees scandal involving a Pakistani company and ordered a probe by the country's top investigating agency in the so-called "diploma mill" that sold thousands of sham qualifications to British nationals.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered the head of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a detailed report in the court within 10 days about the scandal involving Axact company.

"It is an issue of national shame for us if the allegations are correct," the judge observed.

According to a report on Tuesday by the BBC, Axact sold more than 3,000 qualifications in Britain between 2013 and 2014, including PhDs and doctorates, the BBC reported.

The company reportedly invented hundreds of universities online and used fake news stories in an attempt to dupe employers who might check the references on applicants' CVs, the report said.

Axact, which claims to be the "world's largest IT company" and has invented names such as Brooklyn Park University and Nixon University, is run by agents from a call centre in Karachi, it said.

Axact fake degree scam first surfaced in 2015 when a New York Times report titled "Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions" was published.

Pakistan government launched a case against the company and also arrested its CEO Shoaib Sheikh and several other employees.

The case against Axact is still pending with the Sindh High Court, which granted bail to Sheikh and 13 other co- accused in August 2016. After coming out of custody, Sheikh launched Bol TV channels network.

However, Umair Hamid, a vice president of Axact, was last year sentenced to 21 months in prison in the US for his role in selling degrees to US nationals.

The company denies all wrongdoing.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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