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Plagiarism scam hits Karachi varsity

Published Apr 16, 2012 03:22am


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Higher Education Commission (HEC) has received a case of plagiarism in which a student of Karachi University has alleged that her teacher stole her thesis and got it published with her name to get financial benefits.—Photo by Eefa Khalid/

ISLAMABAD: Higher Education Commission (HEC) has received a case of plagiarism in which a student of Karachi University has alleged that her teacher stole her thesis and got it published with her name to get financial benefits, Dawn has learnt reliably.

According to sources, Mehwish Hameed, a PhD Scholar in Botany from Karachi University has alleged that her supervisor plagiarised her whole research work on: ‘Conservation of Fresh Water in Karachi’ and got it published with her own name to win over Rs0.7million research productivity allowance granted by Pakistan Scientific Research Council (PSRC).

Now, she further alleged, the supervisor is continuously creating hurdles at each step of her studies and even cancelled her admission in 2007.

Mehwish further stated she contacted the ombudsman’s office in Sindh the same year who gave a decision in her favour too saying: “If people like Mehwish’s supervisor are not punished then more students will be victimised”. The ombudsman in his decision directed vice chancellor of the university to, “move a case to Governor Sindh, the varsity’s chancellor, initiating action against the accused for committing gross misconduct.”

The ombudsman also directed the university authorities that complainant should neither be harassed nor victimised in pursuing her studies.

Respondents at Karachi University however failed to comply as the case was never forwarded.

After that Mehwish filed a case at Sindh High Court (SHC) to get her degree where she is contesting the case herself as she said she was a poor student and could not afford the hefty fees of the lawyers. The case had been facing delays since then due to her ignorance of the legal affairs.

She said that on the directions of Col Mohyuddin, Investigation Officer at Mohtasib Department, she was allowed to continue her education at the university where she submitted her thesis along with evaluation fee and was waiting for issuance of the doctorate degree.

While talking to Dawn Mehwish Hameed said she completed her thesis work in 2010 and had been waiting to get her degree since then but management of the university was not issuing it.

She further said: “I have applied for the post of lecturer offered by the HEC and got selected but the commission has been demanding the degree due to which I am not being appointed.

“I have submitted an application with the Executive Director HEC, Dr Sohail Naqvi requesting him to take notice of the issue and ensure justice in my case but so far no one has contacted me.”

Dr Sohail Naqvi while talking to Dawn confirmed he has had correspondence with Mehwish regarding the case.

“According to rules, we have to send such cases to relevant university first and in case it fails to address the grievances only then we can take action.

“On Monday (today) I will personally ask about the case and will ensure that justice is done to the affected student,” he assured.

Spokesperson for the university Farheen Zehra said the registrar has already formed an inquiry committee but so far its findings have not been received. Action will be taken after completion of the inquiry. When asked to get an update from the inquiry committee, she said she joined the university on March 1 and did not have cell numbers of its members.

Vice Chancellor of Karachi University Dr Mohammad Qaisar talking to Dawn said: “The student is mentally disturbed and is deliberately spoiling the image of the university by dragging it to the court.

“She can be awarded an MPhil degree but awarding her the PhD degree was out of question.”

Commenting on the inquiry he said: “We formed an inquiry committee earlier on the directions of ombudsman that decided against the student”.


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Comments (32) Closed

mohsinrahimoon Apr 16, 2012 09:42pm
Voice Chancellor of KU instead supporting to the victim he is supporting Cruel? he had done something wrong with student, we have been seen lot of these sort of case.I salute you Mahish.she is brave student.
El Cid Apr 16, 2012 11:58pm
Absolutely. Not only the Vice-Chancellor but the University is in the dock for at least a million dollar civil suite. Malice and theft of grant may also be proveable, if medical evidence of the student's mental state is not forth coming...defense of the thesis may however be required.
naseem Qureshi Apr 16, 2012 11:11pm
I fully agree with Prof. Zubari's comments....if his mental status was not appropriate why he was admitted in Ph.D. secondly, Vice chancellor must solve the real issue of victimisation, palgiarisim and other issues rather than awarding FREE DOCTORATE DEGREES TO CORRUPT POLITICIANS.....
aien007 Apr 17, 2012 10:28am
very true until or unless a person has been proven to be guilty no one has the right to comment like this!!!!
aien007 Apr 17, 2012 10:26am
this hows how we value research....that is the only reason we invest so minimal on R&D and we fail to compete with the developed world.....this is one of the reason of our failures.....i am so depressed while reading this......what can i say......
Khalid Apr 17, 2012 09:42am
Case should be handled with a Forum of subject experts of different universities of Pakistan and will be decided by HEC of Pakistan. KU VC statement before completion of inquiry seems biased.
Major General Zubiar Apr 17, 2012 11:07pm
mehwish dont u worry.i can do it.inshallah u just send me mail wid details. Major General Zubiar
Naeem Apr 16, 2012 05:35pm
Well said. I can't imaging how the VC of a University could be that irresponsible! Hope this poor kid gets some justice. It's nothing but blatant victimization.
G.K. Shahani Apr 17, 2012 07:24am
This is not happening first time, plagiarism is a common practice in Pakistani universities. That's why our education is always rated in foreign universities at the time of admissions for higher education or job placement etc.I think first of all check the credentials regarding research work of Ms. Mehwish Hameed, a PhD Scholar and then decide the case!
Zebra Apr 17, 2012 07:01am
Shame on you Karachi university and shame on you Pakistani establishment. This is the reason why Pakistan is where it is today!! If you are poor and a female there is no justice in Pakistan .. What can you expect from a country who has criminals running the country'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A concerned student Apr 17, 2012 07:00am
I have utmost respect for Professor Zubairi. His stance has weight. However, I beg to say, it has no merit in the "country of the pure" inhabited by the "adulterated". This incident at the Karachi University appropriately reflects the general state of affairs in the country, including the legislative, lower judiciary, executive, and businesses. What else should we expect? In fact, the administration of the KU will not be wrong to claim a case of being discriminated against. Why should we single them out? How are they different to the rest of the institutions in our beloved Pakistan? Please do not discriminate against the KU. Didn't the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) warn us against discrimination in his last Khutbah? No Arab has superiority over the Ajami! I agree with the the first part of the KU Vice Chancellor -that is, the student must be "mentally disturbed" to have claimed her right in an institution such as the KU. Only a mentally disturbed person can expect justice in Pakistan. However, I totally disagree with the second part of his statement. The student is not "deliberately spoiling the image of the university". What reputation is the VC concerned about? A few years ago, two professors of the same University (one from the Chemistry department) along with an MPhil student were caught when trying to plagiarize in an international journal of repute. The journal reported the matter to the KU VC, who hid the case under the carpets. The HEC intervened, however, no appropriate action was taken against the professors. However, the student was expelled, I believe. As was expected, the smaller thief was punished, and the big thiefs got away! The last Vice Chancellor {Pirzada Qasim Siddiqi} awarded an Honorary Doctorate to the honorable Abdul Rehman Malik - the sitting Federal Minister for Internal Affairs. The KU Teachers Society strongly reacted against the decision (how insane of them!). However, sanity prevailed and no one moved. Lastly, as Rehman Malik would have said in a situation like this, "No one will be allowed to destroy" the reputation of the prestigious KU.
kanwal Apr 16, 2012 07:37pm
If the student did the work, she should be clearly acknowledged. I think there must also be a system of keeping watch on the professors who use students to do their labor work and fail to tell them in the first few months whther they should stay in research or not. This is nt the norm abroad. When you tell a student after so many years of her youth are taken that she cant take the degree she wanted, of course she will become disturbed.
heart2woman Apr 18, 2012 01:50am
While reading this, I wasn't surprised a tiny bit! Why you ask? Mainly because I used to study at Karachi University and this sort of stuff happening there seems rather 'acceptable', not because people are alright with it, but maybe because they're not averse to it. I hope things sort out for Mehwish Hameed.
heart2woman Apr 18, 2012 01:51am
Is there anyway I could get in touch with Mehwish Hameed? I'd like to do a bit of research on her story too.
Saleem Khan Apr 16, 2012 05:54pm
I hope there are more people like you to address this situation. I hope someone will help this poor student and this incident will not discourage others to pursue higher education.
naseem Qureshi Apr 16, 2012 11:07pm
Very sorry, these type of professors are present every university of Pakistan. It is our responsibility to solve the grivencess who approached and should be an independent, impartial and must need to provide justice. These are the outcomes of hefty policies of Prof. Atta (former HEJAIL DIRECTOR and HEC Chairman) whichh had not only helped sleeping communities to produce more plagiarisim, unfair and bogus bills. I hope things must need to change from bottom. Educational culprits should be brought to justice and justice must be done. Dr. Naseem Qureshi PGR (Germany ), Ph.D (UK), PDR (London) A freelance critic writer
Sachal Smith Apr 16, 2012 02:22pm
University of Karachi has always this perennial policy of victimizing the students by delaying at every step the administrative processes ranging from admission to the issue of degrees. In my humble opinion one should never undertake his/her studies in such a pressurized environment at any condition.
Ali Akber Jamal Apr 17, 2012 03:54pm
Sir according to the story, the student enrolled in 2007 and submission of a Doctorial thesis in 2010... Don’t you feel that 3-years for a doctorial research in this frictional university environment are a little too pacey, much too fast for KU system as we know it? To me it sounds irrational. What is your opinion? And brilliant Idea, the girl should at get a medical mental examination to prove to the university VC of her condition and otherwise make him eat his words. That would be a shame indeed, and a lesson for that people being in responsible position should not loose talk about anyone. !
Tahir Apr 16, 2012 01:37pm
If Mehwish is right then she has taken a brave step. I wish she succeeds in her endevours. Its quite unfortunate that almost all the universities do not have their policies easily available to the students and faculty preferably on the web. Everyone should be made aware of his/her rights.
Daneez Apr 16, 2012 08:42pm
Somethings NEVER change. KU is known for always blaming other people and nver holding their own people responsible.
Munna Apr 16, 2012 01:16pm
Vice Chancellor of Karachi University Dr Mohammad Qaisar is already bargaining. How can he make an offer without giving her the full due process. This is again the pathetic affair of education system.
JUNAID AHMED Apr 17, 2012 01:10am
I totally agree with you Sir, the VC should be kicked out for such a slanderous statement for the student.. rather to check whether the inquiry is being been held or just being delayed the VC is giving such statement so why not the members of Inquiry Committee get more n more strong.. and let the student remain without a doctorate and be suffered..... how can we see our education system to go ahead....
shuaib Apr 16, 2012 02:44pm
If Rehman Malik can get a doctorate, why not this deserving poor child (if her story is correct)
I am a responsible a Apr 16, 2012 08:17pm
Agree with you Sir
Prof. Zubairi Apr 16, 2012 06:15pm
The case should be refered to subject experts outside KU with a targeted date of reasonable time, not years. Unless there is medical evidence of student's mental state , the Vice-Chancellor should be sued and probably discharged for making slanderous statements against the student. ( Dr. Zubairi, USA. Former Prof. KU).
M M Aslam Apr 17, 2012 12:20am
No words to describe the act of the Supervisor...I have no doubts that the girl in this case is 100% right...The cases of exploitation of the students' research works have been reported in the West too, however, in Pakistan where there is already a dearth od dedicated researchers such an incident is not tolerable at all. The irony is that like in all other fields of life the girl is being denied JUTICE for over 4 years top it up the 'Honorable VC' has declared the girl 'Mentally Disturbed'....JUST SHAMEFUL!!!!!!!!!!
Shahida Khan Apr 17, 2012 01:15am
absolutely correct
Raheel A Apr 18, 2012 06:44am
Hmmm same University that awarded a doctorate to 'He loves to speak Baboo English'.....what credibility does KU have in awarding such degrees?
Waqas Apr 18, 2012 07:09am
Not sure how the grant system works but if the professor is found to be guilty of plagirism does that put KU at risk of losing the 0.7M grant? does it affect KU's ability to obtain future grants for the research? if so, that explains why the KU administration seemes unwilling to do the "right" thing...
Junaid Apr 18, 2012 10:21am
I 100% agree with you. Same was the situation in my uni (UET Lahore). Professors are very corrupt there.
hussain Apr 19, 2012 05:37pm
being a KU student , i belierve mostly prof of KU are corrupt,
Baig Ali Toojik Apr 19, 2012 10:05pm
Very difficult to comments without knowing the factual facts.