Pakistan’s Fake Degrees : Students usually work for years to gain a university degree, but a network of shady online institutions is offering degrees without any study or exams.
Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are taking up this too-good-to-be-true offer. Alarmingly, some of them then use these fake qualifications to get jobs as doctors, teachers and engineers.
101 East exposes the sales tactics used by these fictitious online universities, with alleged links to Pakistani company, Axact.
After media reports exposed how Axact’s network appeared to be profiting from bogus degrees, the company’s founder, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, was arrested and charged with fraud.
Police raids at the company’s headquarters in Karachi found lists of fake universities, blank degree certificates, names and phone numbers of their customers and call recordings of Axact staff trying to extract money from them.
But Shaikh insists his company is only running a call centre to render services to the fake universities.
Meanwhile, there are fears that people who have bought fake degrees are now working in professions where extensive training and knowledge is critical.
“It could be a huge disaster,” says Atta Ur Rahman, a former official of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission.
“You have medical doctors who are practising medicine without knowing medicine. There are accountants in the field of accountancy without knowing anything about accounts and this applies across various fields.”
101 East follows the case against Axact and its founder, as it stalls in Pakistan’s courts amid accusations of witness intimidation and bribery.