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Plagiarism going unpunished at KU

Karachi, March 13, 2008: Plagiarism, which has plagued various universities of the country, has now spread its tentacles to the University of Karachi (KU), that too in the most unexpected of quarters the Faculty of Islamic Studies.

The person who has allegedly committed the act is no other than Dr Jalaluddin Noori, professor and the dean of faculty. While Dr Noori denies the charges, documents present incriminating evidence. Even his colleagues and high-ups in the university do not doubt the allegation.

Chambers Dictionary defines a plagiarist as a kind of thief "one who steals the thoughts or writings of others and gives them out as his own." When this is also used for gain in a University, to gain credits for a module or modules then an additional dimension of dishonesty is added.

When contacted Dr Noori on Wednesday to find out what he has to say in his defence. According to him, the affair was so old that it had simply gotten 'stale' and hence had no importance. He reminded in a subdued but defiant tone that, "one should offer some proof for such allegations."

Prof. Pirzada Qasim, the Vice Chancellor, was adamant that the university had zero tolerance against plagiarism and that he will take quick action to weed out any teacher committing this criminal act. He said that Dr Abdul Rashid, Noori's PhD supervisor, had reservations about the thesis that was submitted by Noori. He sent the thesis to Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, who was the dean of faculty at the time, informing him that there were indications and a possibility of plagiarism. Dr Ahmed, however, played down the matter and sent the thesis to the Board of Advanced Studies and Research (BASR) anyway. Dr Manzooruddin Ahmed was the Vice Chancellor at that time and Noori received the PhD degree. Dr Ahmed retired in 1993 and is currently teaching in Brunei Darussalam.

Sources in the university informed that Prof. Pirzada Qasim considered Dr Akhtar Saeed, a senior professor at the faculty, a far better candidate for the deanship; however, Noori's manoeuvring, pressure and lobbying paved the way for him becoming the dean.

Dr Naseer Ahmed Akhtar, an associate professor in the department of Islamic Learning, sent a parcel that contained the plagiarised PhD thesis and a letter to Prof. Atta ur Rahman, chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) informing him about Noori's lifted thesis, the trail of fake Madressah degrees from Pakistan and Baghdad, and the gross discrepancies in them. The thesis that Noori submitted to BASR was actually an Urdu translation of the research of Dr Qahtan Abdur Rahman Aldauri, associate professor at the University of Baghdad.

The letter also informed Prof. Atta ur Rahman that the degree 'Shahadat-al-Faragh' (equivalent to an MA in Arabic and Islamic Studies) has been obtained from Tanzeemul Madaaris, Lahore without taking the examination. The mark sheet does not mention the name of the student or his father. It has a photograph pasted on it and has the signature and stamp of Nazim-e-Aala of the Tanzeemul Madaaris and the same is on the degree.

He obtained the B.A. degree from the University of Baghdad and it has name of the student but the paternity is not mentioned. While the degree was issued on June 30, 1977, it has the signature of a VC who did not assume charge till October 18, 1977, and continued up to March 1, 1978.

Jamia Qadria Rizvia Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) issued a degree to him on 12 Shawwal, 1389 AH, which corresponds to October 24, 1969. A certificate of successfully passing the examination was issued claiming that the degree is given to the students after the completion of eight years of studies. However, the degree mentions the admission date as 13 Shawwal, 1388, which meant that Noori completed the course in 10 months. The same degree was obtained from Jamia Alia Ahle Sunnat WA Aljamaat Dar Al Uloom Amjadia Karachi in the same year.

If Noori was enrolled in a Madressah in Lyallpur from 1961 to 1969, he completed his 16-year Dars-e-Nizami course at the age of 13 years or he did it from Karachi where he studied up to 1969 in Jamia Alia Qadria Rizvia Malir.

Prof. Ali Mohsin Siddiqui, ex chairman Department of Islamic Learning and Islamic History, has also accused Noori of plagiarism. According to him, Noori copied his thesis on 'Imam Busairi and Qaseed-e-Burda' and got it published in his name in a Karachi magazine. Siddiqui says that his book was published in 1971 and Noori stole the preface of the book that is included in MA Islamic studies of KU.

Some quarters are perplexed as to why the university isn't taking any action against Noori. Some senior professors of the university confided that Prof. Qasim is a gentle person who wants Noori to leave the university with dignity whereas Noori is adamant not to resign. Well-informed sources are also pointing a finger towards a political party that is firmly behind him. Now it is up to the university to investigate and decide on some sort of action in order to prevent the name of KU appearing in the list of universities whose academics have been caught plagiarising, and shamed on the HEC website.

Dr Abid Hasnain, Secretary, Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) informed that KUTS also had a policy of zero tolerance in the matter pertaining to plagiarism. "We do not support anyone who is involved in any type of irregularity," he said. The News
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