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QAU sexual harassment | Disaster management degree

QAU sexual harassment cases: Two faculty members set to lose jobs
Islamabad, July 29: Two faculty members of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) facing charges of sexual harassment are likely to lose their jobs as a probe committee unveils its findings before the university's syndicate today.

The committee, formed under the anti-harassment law passed in December last year, will inform the syndicate made up of parliamentarians, senior faculty members, Higher Education Commission (HEC) representatives about its findings in two cases of sexual harassment.

According to sources, a controller examination would be given forced retirement and an IT lecturer would likely be handed down a termination letter.

"The four-member committee has a statutory standing. It has studied the two harassment cases in QAU and will disclose their recommendations for implementation. That also includes fixing punishment according to provisions in the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act," said QAU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Masoom Yasinzai. He added that the committee made up of senior QAU faculty members had 30 days to share its findings.

According to the VC, the syndicate, which met last Saturday to go through all relevant documents, was bound to implement the committee's recommendations.

"Failing to implement the recommendations, the committee can knock on the doors of ombudsperson who can then force the competent authority to carry them out," Dr Yasinzai said, adding that the VC or the syndicate could not influence the committee's decisions.

Some faculty members and parents believed that some good had come out of the probe.

"The two cases are precedents where students did what was right report to authorities. The committee's findings could restore confidence in students and parents alike that people responsible for such unimaginable behaviour are held accountable," said a faculty member

Emphasising that the anti-harassment law should be introduced in all workplaces, Dr Yasinzai said, "Things are different today. We must know our jobs and what is required of us."

The VC also believed that the anti-harassment law was in line with values, society and religion and should be supported as long as it was not abused. Dawn

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22 scholars to leave for US next month
Islamabad: As many as 22 scholars and professionals from all over Pakistan who will be departing for the US in August on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar and Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programmes attended pre-departure orientation on Thursday.

United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) arranged the orientation for the departing grantees where they were briefed about the programmes and other aspects of living and working in the US.

The orientation was followed by a networking session. While addressing the departing students, US Cultural Attache Brent Beemer urged the students to make most of their time in the US. "As much as your own life will change for the better on account of your experience in the US, as ambassadors of Pakistan you will change American lives even more," he added.

The Fulbright Scholar Programme provides a 9-12 month opportunity for scholars, artists and professionals to research as well as lecture at US universities and share their knowledge, expertise and experience with America.

The 2011 batch comprises 10 scholars from universities/research institutions across Pakistan, including three women.

Since Fulbright's inception in Pakistan in 1951, around 300 Pakistanis have participated in this program. Twelve Pakistani professionals are taking part in the Humphrey Fellowship program. Initiated to honour the memory and accomplishments of the late Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the Humphrey Fellowship Programme brings accomplished mid-career professionals from designated countries around the world to the US for a year of practical professional development and non-degree academic study. Of the 12 participants, 4 are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3 from Punjab, 3 from Sindh, and 2 from Islamabad Capital Territory.

Both programs are funded by the U.S. Department of State with travel, living stipends, health insurance and tuition for the entire period of study fully covered.

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Lecture on 'Islam and the West'
Islamabad: Iqbal International Institute of Research and Dialogue (IIIRD) of International Islamic University (IIU) is organising a lecture on 'Islam and the West' today at the Faisal Mosque Campus of the IIU. A Denmark-based Pakistani scholar, Irfan Gilani, would deliver the lecture on the topic, says a press release issued here on Thursday.

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UoP starts BS, MSc in disaster management
Peshawar: The faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, Thursday approved the first-ever four-year BS degree and two-year MSc programme in disaster management at the Centre of Disaster Preparedness and Management (CDPM) of the university. The faculty board met under the leadership of the dean of the faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences Prof Dr Farrukh Tufail. All the board members including the chairpersons, professors and directors of all the departments and the centres of the faculty attended the meeting.

Director of the CDPM Prof Dr Amir Nawaz Khan briefed the meeting about the proposed plan of the centre. The meeting also approved MPhil and PhD in the disaster management. Dr Amir Nawaz said it was for the first time in the country as well as in South Asia that a formal bachelor and master degree programme in disaster management is being started.

He said the board of studies has already approved the programme. "Now it would be presented before the academic council, after which it would go to the syndicate and then to the senate and thus the bachelor and master degree programmes would be formally started," he said.

He was optimistic that the programme would be started from the next session. Established in April 2001, the centre has been offering diploma in disaster management. Several training workshops in the disaster management have also been organised by the centre. Various national and international exhibitions on disaster management have also been arranged under the aegis of the centre to create awareness about disasters. The news

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Court asks HEC to continue plagiarism probe against VC
Peshawar: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to continue with the inquiry regarding the case of alleged plagiarism by the University of Peshawar's vice-chancellor, but restrained it from taking any adverse action against him.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel conducted preliminary hearing in a writ petition filed by the vice-chancellor, Dr Azmat Hayat Khan, challenging the holding of an inquiry by the HEC regarding the allegations of plagiarism.

The bench summoned the executive director of HEC for the next hearing with the direction to produce all the relevant record including a letter written by the concerned writer about whom it was alleged that from her book certain portions were copied by the vice-chancellor in his PhD thesis.

A university teacher, Mohammad Zubair, himself facing charges of having a dubious LLM degree and is presently under suspension, had sent a letter to the HEC wherein he had charged the vice-chancellor of plagiarism.

He alleged that Dr Hayat copied in his book tilted 'The Durand land: its geo strategic importance', published by the Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar, and Hanns Seidel Foundation, some passages from the book 'Pak-Afghan Relations', written by Dr Kulwant Kaur of Jammu University, Jammu, and published by Deep and Deep publications in 1985.

The vice-chancellor has challenged the jurisdiction of the HEC in dealing with cases of plagiarism. He contended that the HEC could not entertain and adjudicate upon any alleged act of plagiarism hence the very initiation of proceedings to this effect would have no backing from the law laid down on the subject hence liable to interference in the exercise of constitutional jurisdiction of the court.

Senior advocate Abdul Samad Khan appeared for the petitioner and contended that there existed nothing in the HEC Ordinance itself on basis of which the commission could take cognizance of the matter.

Mr Samad Khan contended even if for the sake of argument it was presumed that the matter was in the domain of the HEC, even then as per HEC plagiarism policy, cases prior to 2007, the year in which the policy was framed, could not be opened, as such, degree of the petitioner being of 1990 is prior to the coming into force of the policy hence could not become subject matter of proceedings on the alleged ground of plagiarism.

He contended that the entire process smacked of mala fide as the petitioner did his PhD in 1990 whereas the charges had now been leveled against him in 2011.

He contended that the charges against the petitioner were baseless and no fruitful results would ensue even if the case proceeds further. He argued that in the HEC Ordinance, no penalty was prescribed even if plagiarism was proven on the face of the record so much so that a single word was not forthcoming in entire ordinance where from one could infer that anyone indulging in plagiarism could be visited with penalties.

During the course of proceedings, the bench observed that when a student could be banned for many years if found indulged in cheating, why action should not be taken against an officer serving against a senior position if his degree was fake? Dawn

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