ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan vowed Saturday that a probe into the Axact fake degree scandal would be transparent, and urged the media not to give into speculation.
He was speaking to reporters while holding a press conference in the federal capital during which he also underscored that complete investigation would be carried out into the allegations made in the explosive New York Times (NYT) story authored by Declan Walsh.
Nisar said that a decision will be made regarding the filing of a First Information Report (FIR) within the next 10 days.
“Interior ministry will be contacting US intelligence agency FBI to provide legal assistance to FIA for carrying out investigations in America,” said Nisar.
It will also contact Interpol to unearth the alleged fake universities, he added.
Nisar urged media representatives not to spread false or unconfirmed information, citing “so called FIA sources”.
He said that two FIA officers — Inam Ghani and Shahid Hayat — have been appointed in Islamabad and Karachi respectively, and any information regarding the case would come from them.
He said media should not be used to spread personal vendettas.
“This case has got international repercussions. I request the media to avoid point scoring on the matter.”
He later made a sarcastic comment about the force of the united Pakistani media. “If the media unites against someone, only God can save them.”
Last week, action against Axact kicked off after Nisar ordered an inquiry into the story published by The New York Times that claimed the company was issuing fake degrees as part of a massive, global scam.
The minister in his directive also said that the FIA was to determine whether the contents of the NYT story were true and whether the company was involved in any illegal business which may bring a “bad name” to Pakistan.
The detailed NYT report titled “Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions” and written by New York Times Pakistan bureau chief Declan Walsh outlined how Axact — referred to as a “secretive Pakistani software company” — allegedly earned millions of dollars from scams involving fake degrees, non-existent online universities and manipulation of customers.
According to the report, Axact created a series of fake websites involving “professors” and students who it said were in fact paid actors.