PESHAWAR: A tug-of-war between teacher groups is having adverse effect on the smooth functioning of the University of Peshawar (UoP) as some senior members belonging to two prominent groups are out to blackmail each other apparently for vested interests.
Mohammad Zubair, an assistant professor and an active member of the Pakistan People’s Party-affiliated Progressive group, is in the forefront of the tussle with the Awami National Party-supported Friends group. He is in direct confrontation with Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Azmat Hayat, alleging his PhD thesis is plagiarised.
The university administration, on the other hand, claims that the LLM degree on the basis of which Mohammad Zubair had been promoted as assistant professor was fake. Zubair has submitted an appeal in the Supreme Court to look into the plagiarism issue and take action against the vice-chancellor.
The university administration, according to a senior official, has also moved the apex court to allow the university take action against Zubair for allegedly acquiring a fake degree.
Zubair has been alleging that Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Azmat Hayat Khan has committed plagiarism and intellectual dishonesty and thus has no justification to remain in office. He alleged that over 80 pages of the PhD thesis of the vice-chancellor were copied from the thesis of an Indian academician, Prof Dr Kulwant Kaur.
Zubair has also taken up the issue with the Higher Education Commission as he felt the vice-chancellor would get an opportunity to resign on his own. The vice-chancellor didn’t resign and Zubair then moved the court against him.
The university administration is of the opinion that the issue started on February 2 soon after the change of provincial governor, who also happens to be the chancellor of the public sector universities. Zubair reportedly organised Youm-e-Nijat at the university on the removal of former governor Owais Ahmad Ghani.
A senior official of the university told The News that the university administration got instructions from the Governor’s House to serve charge sheet on the teacher for organising the event. He said the university acted accordingly.
The official said that there was nothing wrong with the thesis of the vice-chancellor. Each and every page of the thesis has proper footnotes, endnotes and acknowledgement of the author in the bibliography, which is necessary for every research work.
Quoting the plagiarism policy of the Higher Education Commission, the official explained: “All the cases before the announcement of the plagiarism policy i.e. September 27, 2007 shall not be taken up, if the concerned author(s) are not claiming the credit in any way for the paper alleged to be plagiarised.”
A copy of this notification was provided to The News.
The university official pointed out that Azmat Hayat had completed his PhD in 1990 andd it was thus not a new case.The university official alleged that Zubair and his colleagues contacted the author, Kulwant Kaur, to take up the issue, which she refused, saying that she and Dr Azmat had worked almost on the same area and have thus used each other as references. Therefore, there was no issue of plagiarism at all, he added quoting the Indian author.
“As far as the fake LLM degree of Zubair is concerned, the issue was taken up by Usman Ali Khan when he (Zubair) was promoted as assistant professor on the basis of the same degree,” he alleged.
According to the official, Usman had complained that Zubair had never done any research or course work for LLM, while 60 per cent requirement for the degree was research and 40 per cent course. The university formed two committees — the fact-finding committee and cross check committee — but both found no evidence of the research or course work.
“When the university was about to cancel his LLM degree, Zubair moved the Peshawar High Court and got stay order to restrain the university administration from taking further action against him,” the official said.
The court transferred the case to the university syndicate to decide the issue. The university administration said the syndicate was currently non-existent owing to the fresh amendment to the University Act.
Therefore, the university moved the Supreme Court with the request that the said teacher should be asked to prove legitimacy of his LLM degree.
The university should also be provided an opportunity to explain its viewpoint in the case, the official said.The news