ISLAMABAD: Former chairperson of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Javed Laghari has formally apologised for plagiarising a research paper he co-authored with another faculty member of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST).
In January 2014, a three-member inquiry committee found out that 30 per cent of the content of Laghari’s research paper had been plagiarised from a European Union (EU) report. The HEC took a long time to blacklist him, fearing embarrassment for the commission’s former chairperson.
Laghari had published the paper titled ‘Study of Pakistan’s Election System – Intelligent E-Election’ in the Journal of Independent Studies and Research (Vol. 1, No 2, July 2003, pp 2 – 7) along with Dr Mohammad Nadeem, his co-author from SZABIST. The article was published in 2003 when he was working at the university.
According to sources in HEC, Laghari has tendered an apology and stated that he had withdrawn the aforementioned paper from his CV and would not use it for any benefit in the future.
Interestingly, the co-author, Dr Nadeem, has not responded to any of the HEC’s notifications.
Dr Shamraz Firdous from the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) was also given the best research award in March 2015, though the cash award payment was stopped by the HEC. Similarly, his co-author in the same paper, Masroor Ikram, was conferred Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by President Mamnoon Hussain on March 23 for ‘contribution towards the study of science in Pakistan’.
No plagiarist punished
Over 50 professors, blamed for plagiarism, are teaching in their respective institutions, including those who have sought court help or in the words of HEC’s senior official ‘take cover of court to avert the embarrassment and prolong the cases.’
Ironically, not a single plagiarist has been punished at any of the universities as recommended by the HEC plagiarism committee.
HEC chairperson Dr Mukhtar Ahmad told The Express Tribune that the commission was considering formulating a policy about use of names of co-authors in research papers as per international standards.
“Globally, the students are the principal authors of research papers but here in Pakistan the misuse of authority by professors is unfortunate,” he said.
Another senior official stated that soon they would involve chancellors of the provinces in taking action against those blacklisted in their universities.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2016.