LAHORE, Jan 22: Punjab University psychology and applied psychology department chairman Dr Mian Aftab Ahmad has been removed from the office and placed under suspension following establishment of, prima facie, plagiarism allegations levelled against him.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran, meanwhile, appointed Prof Dr Yasmin N Farooqi as the department chairperson till further orders, using his emergency powers in anticipation of the approval of the Syndicate.

Prof Farooqi assumed the new charge later in the evening.

It may be mentioned that Punjab Governor/Chancellor Khalid Maqbool had gone through the facts of the case of research articles’ plagiarism by Dr Aftab, including a plea taken by the accused in his defence, the findings of the inquiry committee set up to recommend action against the accused, if found guilty, as well as the recommendations of the education department.

The governor arrived at the conclusion that, prima facie, the allegations levelled against Dr Aftab stood established, which was tantamount to inefficiency and misconduct in terms of Section 3 of the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act (PEEDAA), 2006.

Consequently, the Punjab education department referred Dr Aftab’s plagiarism case back to the PU Syndicate in pursuance of the orders of the Punjab Governor/Chancellor, which called for the placement of the plagiarism case before the Syndicate.

The governor had also desired the accused officer be placed under suspension and the proceedings against him be completed within the period stipulated in the Act ibid and a report be submitted to him.

As the case was referred to the PU Syndicate, which was in session on Tuesday, it discussed the matter and found it was a fit case to be proceeded under the PEEDAA, 2006. The Syndicate authorised the vice-chancellor to take appropriate administrative action.

It may be mentioned that it was brought to the notice of the governor that Dr Aftab was involved in serious plagiarism and used an American psychologist’s research papers for the purpose. A copy of the complaint was forwarded to the then PU vice-chancellor last year with a request to inquire into the allegations levelled against Dr Aftab and submit a report to the governor.

In July last year, PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan informed the governor that although no formal inquiry had been conducted till date, the matter was referred to a subject expert outside the varsity, while the PU faculty of life sciences dean also reviewed the matter. The registrar stated that both the experts were of the view that the article by Dr Aftab Ahmad was a review and was duly supported by references, as such it could not be taken as plagiarised work.

Despite the registrar’s report, the governor constituted a committee comprising University of Health Sciences vice-chancellor Prof Dr Malik Husain Mubbashar (as committee head) and University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Botany department chairman Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf (as member) to investigate the matter and submit a report to him. The PU registrar was appointed as departmental representative.

It is learnt that the committee initiated inquiry stating that Dr Aftab had committed plagiarism in two research papers - “Socialization of the Physical Attractiveness Stereotype: Parental Expectations and Verbal Behaviours”, which was stated to be verbatim copy of the original published research work of Gerald R Adams, Mandy Hicken and Mahshid Salehi; Utah research article published in International Journal of Psychology 23 (1985). The committee also said Dr Aftab also falsely claimed that another research publication entitled: “The Role of Parents in the Socialization of Children: an Historical Overview”. It said Dr Aftab had copied the original research work of Dr Eleanor E Maccoby, Stanford University, USA, which was already published in Developmental Psychology 1992, Vol 28. No 6, 1006-1017.

Dr Mian Aftab Ahmad reportedly protested that the Higher Education Commission had referred his one paper “The Role of Parents in the Socialization of Children” terming it as identical in content with Stanford University’s Eleanor E Maccoby research paper published under the same title, while the UHS VC initiated inquiry about plagiarism of two papers. He also termed the committee members’ attitude “biased” against him.

Dr Aftab, however, did not appear before the committee and instead gave a representation to the Punjab governor, stating the two committee members appeared to be acting under a `bias’ created against him by the HEC. Accordingly, the Punjab education secretary gave him personal hearing on Jan 4.

Meanwhile, the probe committee had recommended the expulsion of Dr Aftab Ahmad from his job as chairman of the department.