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HEC now probing case of IIUI Copy casters

ISLAMABAD The plagiarism committee of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has asked the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to investigate academic credentials of a senior professor who has been selected by the commission under its Foreign Faculty Hiring Programme (FFHP).

According to the IIUI, Dr Syed Shahid Ali, who has been placed at the varsity`senvironmental sciences department by the HEC, has claimed to have supervised and written research articles which actually belonged to others.

Reliable sources close to the development told Dawn that the IIUI had formally asked the quarters concerned at the HEC to take necessary action against the person allegedly involved in academic fraud.

However, according to them, HEC officials were reluctant to take any action and were trying to whitewash the whole case.

The sources said in case the findings of the IIUI committee proved right, someone at the HEC would have to accept the responsibility; hence, they were dragging their feet on the episode.

Under the FFPH, a brainchild of former HEC chairman Dr Attaur Rehman, Pakistanis teaching at foreign universities were offered handsome salary packages to teach at localuniversities. At the moment, Dr Shahid is drawing nearly Rs200,000 monthly salary.

When Mr Wasim Hashmi Syed, Project Director FFHP at the HEC, was contacted, he refused to accept existence of any such correspondence between the IIUI and HEC. In a written response, he said: “HEC has not received any official complaint of plagiarism from IIU against Dr Shahid Ali.”

On the contrary, Dr Mohammad Irfan Khan, who heads the plagiarism committee of the varsity, confirmed to Dawn that he had a complete set of evidences duly informed HEC`s authorities about the case. In response to a question, he said selection of teachers under the FFHP was the sole responsibility of the HEC; therefore, IIUI could not be blamed for taking Dr Shahid on board.

In a letter written to the HEC, the IIUI plagiarism committee stated that Dr Shahid claimed research theses which he never supervised and research articles which he never wrote.

Interestingly, one of the theses which Dr Shahid claimed to have supervised was actually supervised by Dr Irfan Khan of the IIUI. The research was conducted on removal of arsenic from water in district Dadu. Its transcript has been provided to the HEC as evidence. The IIUI has also asked the HEC to conduct a through investigation into his reported research articles which he has included in his CV.

The plagiarism committee also suggested to the HEC officials to review credentials of many of its professors hired under FFPH and list of its approved PhD supervisors.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Shahid said he was unaware of any such development that the IIU has moved against him. He said he was only internal examiner of the research student who did the project on district Dadu. But his CV available on HEC website showed he supervised it. Under academic rules, an examiner cannot claim supervision of research project.

According to sources in the HEC, there were many cases in which people with mediocre academic careers were appointed under the FFPH. Many of these FFPH teachers just happened to be at some lowly Middle Eastern universities and managed to get the jobs under the HEC`s programme.Dawn.

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