J&K minister in row over education details in EC affidavit

Srinagar: J&K Minister Asiea Naqash of PDP is at the centre of a controversy over information about her educational qualifications furnished in her affidavit filed with the Election Commission for Assembly polls last year.

In the affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Naqash, who is minister of state for Health and Social Welfare, claimed to have a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and a law degree from Kashmir University.

However, as per the declaration, Naqash completed her LLB in 1992 from Kashmir University followed by bachelor’s deg0ree in 1996. Although five-year integrated BA-LLB course was
started at Kashmir University in 2007, the first batch passed out only in 2012.

Opposition National Conference demanded an inquiry by the Election Commission into the issue but Naqash, a first time MLA from Hazratbal assembly segment, termed it as a “minor aberration” which should not be given too much importance.

“This is minor abberation… we should not focus on such small things. We should focus more on governance and development issues,” Naqash told PTI.

The Minister also said she will get the “mistakes corrected in the affidavit”.

“I have not done BA. I am a science graduate (Bachelor in Science). I will get these mistakes corrected,” she added.

Terming it as an issue of “grave” concern, National Conference sought an inquiry by the Election Commission into the information given in the affidavit as Naqash was not only an elected representative but also a minister.

“The Election Commission should order a probe into the matter. It is a grave concern… the issue has been in public domain and needs to be addressed,” NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu said.

Mattu said it was impossible to get a Law degree from Kashmir University before completing a bachelor’s degree, which is a basic requirement for admission to LLB course. “She (the minister) should have known this as she has claimed to be a law graduate,” he added.