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Friday Feb 09 2018

PBA urges SC to monitor cases against Axact, Bol


KARACHI: Voicing concerns over “criminal money” used by Axact to launch BOL, the Pakistan Broadcaster Association (PBA) has urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to monitor all cases and investigations pertaining to Axact and BOL.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has also welcomed the suo moto notice, saying black money and criminal elements "should not be allowed to perpetuate their shameful and criminal practices in the garb of media".

In a press statement on Thursday, PBA requested the apex court to allow the body to become a party to the suo motu case in the Axact fake degree scandal.

PBA said that the “Axact scam, and its continuance, represents the most shameful phenomenon in the history of our country, embarrassing Pakistan all over the world and causing embarrassment for our state institutions as being perceived as weak and collusive. PBA has appealed to the Chief Justice and the Prime Minster of Pakistan in this regard multiple times”.

“…Axact has used its criminal money to launch its media channels BOL and Pak News. Considering media is the fourth pillar of the state and is tasked with safeguarding public interest, no criminal elements can be allowed to enter the media industry with their black money.”

The PBA blamed BOL and Axact of “consistently abusing the legal system and exploiting the investigative process using their black money to keep their criminal empire running”.

It also alleged that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is “deliberately attempting to hide or omit critical facts” in its report submitted in the SC.

“PBA reiterates that it is important to make an example out of AXACT and BOL so no other criminal syndicate can attempt to infiltrate our institutions and pillars with nefarious intentions in the future.”

Black money, criminals have no place in media: APNS

The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has welcomed the suo moto notice taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the matter of corruption, extortion and fake degree scam by Axact, and hoped that the action by the apex court will be conclusive and help in weeding out the “black sheep and criminals” from the media industry in particular and the Pakistani society in general.

President APNS Sarmad Ali, in a statement, noted that the shameful and nefarious activities have not only lowered the repute of the country but has also affected the credibility of Pakistani academia all over the world.

“But the runners of the scam remained scot-free for obvious reasons though they were found guilty and sentenced in foreign countries,” the statement read, appreciating the much-needed suo moto notice taken by the chief justice of Pakistan.

“The APNS is of the considered opinion that black money and criminal elements have no place in the ranks of media and should not be allowed to perpetuate their shameful and criminal practices in the garb of media,” it said further.

“The APNS is confident that the action by the Supreme Court would result in nipping the criminals in the bud,” the statement added.

'Our heads hang in shame'

The chief justice had taken suo motu notice of the scandal on January 19.

Axact executive pleads guilty in 'diploma mill' scam, faces 20 years in US prison

The chief justice had remarked, “our heads hang in shame due to the scandal,” adding that those bringing a bad name to Pakistan will not be allowed to go scot-free.

Axact claims to be the "world's largest IT company" and operates hundreds of fake online universities run by agents from a Karachi-based call centre. In 2015, it sold more than 215,000 fake qualifications globally through approximately 350 fictitious high schools and universities, making $51m (£37.5m) that year alone.

Axact's chief executive was arrested and an investigation launched by the Pakistani authorities after a New York Times expose in 2015. A senior manager of the company, Umair Hamid, was sentenced to 21 months in a US prison in August 2017 for his part in Axact's fraud. 

The chief justice took suo motu notice of the scandal on January 19.


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