PU dean of sciences: Faculty irked over appointment of plagiarist

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LAHORE: Punjab University (PU) science teachers have voiced concern over the appointment of an alleged plagiarist as the dean of sciences.

Some faculty members will write an application to the chief minister (CM) in a few days to voice their concerns. The same teachers had written to the CM and the governor a few weeks ago to bring the nomination of the professor to their notice.

According to documents available with The Tribune, Dr Mujahid Kamran, the current vice chancellor but then a Physics professor, had filed a complaint of plagiarism against Prof Haris Rashid on September 6, 2007. Gen Arshad Mahmood, the then VC, however, did not proceed in the case against

Prof Rashid, who was a member of the syndicate and the president of the All Pakistan Federation of Academic Staff Associations of Universities, a group supported by Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT). Dr Kamran then moved the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan to take up the case and conduct the investigations. The HEC appointed Prof Mohammad Aslam Baig, of the Quaid-e-Azam University department of physics, to investigate the reported plagiarism by Prof Rashid.

Prof Baig in his report wrote that, “Looking at the provided material and the supporting documentation, it seems very plausible that the author(s) have taken the material from another paper(s) and presented this material in their research paper. It is unethical, immoral and clearly academic cheating.”

Aurangzeb, the PU additional registrar, confirmed that Dr Rashid had been investigated in a plagiarism case. The case was forwarded to the HEC but no action was ever taken, he added.

Prof Rashid denied all the charges against him. He told The Tribune that Dr Kamran had accused six people of plagiarism, including him, and the HEC inquiry found four of them guilty and one of them innocent. He said that he had never been questioned during the inquiry, let alone declared guilty.

Sources in the Higher Education Department (HED) told that Additional Secretary Akram Chaudhry had forwarded just one name to the CM to consider for the post of dean of sciences. However, they said, as per the law the CM had to be referred at least three names. They said Chaudhry was suspended by the CM three days ago for misuse of his position. Prof Rashid said he did not know why only his name was sent to the CM.

“I am not aware of the working of the HED, so I cannot comment on why an additional secretary forwarded just one name for the appointment,” he said. Aurangzeb said that PU had recommended three candidates for the post of dean to the HED. “It is now up to them to choose one as the dean,” he said.

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