‘Falling short of requirements’: After plagiarism, QAU finds itself amid possible nepotism scandal

Published: April 8, 2012
Dr Lubna Ali was made a professor and appointed head of department against one of her referee’s recommendations. ILLUSTRATION: S. JAMAL

Dr Lubna Ali was made a professor and appointed head of department against one of her referee’s recommendations. ILLUSTRATION: S. JAMAL


Just two weeks after the theses of four M Phil students were found to be plagiarised, an instructor at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) was made professor against one of her referee’s recommendation. Moreover the professor, Dr Lubna Ali, was also appointed as the head of the university’s newly-established School of Politics and International Relations.

According to sources in the university, the administration did not show the referee’s letter highlighting her shortcomings to the selection committee at the time of promotion. The source claimed the decision was taken as a “special favour” to her.

They also pointed out that the foreign referees’ opinions are compulsory to evaluate eligibility of any associate professor who is being considered for a promotion.

According to a letter available with The Express Tribune, Dr Robert G Wirsing, a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service at Qatar, wrote to the QAU registrar, “I do not support Dr Ali’s bid for promotion to the post of Professor of International Relations.”

The letter points out that she falls short of meeting the quantitative minimum qualification for promotion, which includes at least 15 years of teaching/research and 15 research publications (with five of them in the past five years) in HEC’s recognised journals.

It indicates that Dr Ali lists a total of 13 published works and only two of them (including her book on post-revolutionary Iran) carry dates after 2004.

Dr Wirsing also says that most of Dr Ali’s works fail to meet scholarly standards she set in her dissertation.

“I did not detect a clear and focused research agenda or good prospect of future productivity. Nor was there visible in the work the required commitment to objectivity and rigorous analysis,” he writes.

A professor at QAU who wished not to be named commented that the administration’s decision is a “clear indication of prevalence of nepotism” in promotions of faculty members. He said such controversial promotions have been a part of the university for long but they were always buried under the carpet by the authorities.

The professor added that a student of PhD, who was supervised by Dr Ali, was caught red-handed in a plagiarism case. However, so far no action has been taken against the student or the instructor.

“There should be at least a negative Annual Confidential Report against the instructor and the student should be banned from pursuing the programme,” he added.

However, according to QAU Registrar Dr Shafiqur Rehman, the instructor was promoted based on a decision taken by the syndicate on the recommendations of two referees who were in favour of her. “Our rules allow us to ignore negative remarks of one of the three foreign referees,” he said. However, he evaded further questions on the issue.

Dr Ali, when contacted, said she was busy in a meeting and would call back within two hours. She never called back.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2012.


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Reader Comments (5)

  • Apr 8, 2012 - 11:30PM

    Nepotism is common practice even here in the U.S. Of course there is the illusion of transparency, but beneath all of that is a corrupt system based on connections and favoritism.


  • Sheikh Basit Ayub
    Apr 9, 2012 - 12:10PM

    I have a dream like desire that the Selection Board writes to the Chancellor of the QAU which happens to be the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari that the Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University has cheated the entire Selection Board by hiding a real negative report from the Selection Board and hence he should be terminated. This Vice Chancellor would eventually bring this prestigious University equal to Baluchistan University. This selection of Dr Lubna has made the other selections of the Professors in QAU very dubious. I pray this does not go un-noticed.


  • Faculty Member QAU
    Apr 10, 2012 - 9:20PM

    Dear Sheikh Sahib ! Registrar is also part of this game as he is the one who did not show this negative report to the Selection Board and this is the crime never committed by any registrar of grade 19 or 20; this is done by 21 grade Registrar. The Syndicate members must be regretting over their decision of upgrading Recommend

  • Hafiz Saud Azhar
    Apr 11, 2012 - 6:31PM

    I feel shame being X graduate of QAU. If this is the leadership of our top ranked university, then Zardari sahib and Gilani sb are the best choice for country leadership. The current corruption is an outcome of the corruption committed and taught in our educational institutions. Some one in HEC should take a disciplinary action against the people involved in this case of nepotism.


  • zaheer
    Apr 26, 2012 - 2:17PM

    we should look up our matters self without any enterventions of foreign it is a healthy signRecommend

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