HEC seeks governor's action against PU plagiarists

ISLAMABAD, May 2(Dawn): The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has sought Governor Khalid Maqbool's intervention in his capacity as chancellor of the Punjab University to take action against the university's faculty involved in plagiarism.

HEC Executive Director Dr Suhail Naqvi said, "We have formally written to the chancellor to look into the issue, as the PU has decided not to remove its five faculty members from service despite the fact their involvement in plagiarism has been confirmed by the university's own investigative committee".

After the confirmation of their involvement in copying research work done by others, the HEC had asked the PU to immediately sack them under the Removal from Service Ordinance (RSO) 2000. However, the PU syndicate let the convicted faculty off the hook with mere censuring remarks.

Asked about the HEC's three-member ethics committee which was specially constituted to make recommendations on the issue, Dr Naqvi said it had unanimously endorsed that teachers who committed the crime should be removed from service.

The PU syndicate had contested that since there was no prescribed punishment for cheating, it had to leave the guilty faculty members with mild punishments.

Referring to the ordinance, Dr Naqvi said it underlined that an official found guilty of misconduct could be sacked from service. But the PU administration believed that cheating did not come under misconduct.

The syndicate had stripped Centre for Higher Energy Physics director Prof Fazal-i-Aleem of directorship and issued warning to lecturers Maqsood Ahmad, Rasheed Ahmad, Sohail Afzal Tahir and Alam Saeed. Prof Aleem's tenure as director had already ended in October last year but he was asked to carry on until further orders.

However, he will continue to serve as director general of the School of Physical Sciences at the PU.

In response to a question, the ED HEC said they were yet to receive any response from the chancellor, and the PU was sticking to its earlier position of not taking any strict decision against the plagiarists.

In reaction to the varsity's stubborn attitude, the HEC has already frozen its financial assistance and warned that until it removed the guilty faculty from service, no funding would be released.

On the other hand, the PU registrar has argued that it was very much varsity's internal matter and the HEC has nothing to do in this regard.

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