The Pervez Hoodbhoy-LUMS dispute

Published: October 30, 2012
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The writer is a senior journalist and has held several editorial positions, including most recently at The Friday Times. He was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and is currently senior adviser, outreach, at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

The writer is a senior journalist and has held several editorial positions, including most recently at The Friday Times. He was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and is currently senior adviser, outreach, at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute

Apparently, there is a Sayre’s law. I am told that economist Charles Issawi described it as: “In any dispute, the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.”

Going by this, the Pervez Hoodbhoy-Lahore University of Management Sciences (PH-Lums) controversy is a clear example not just of the kind of partisan knife fight that now goes for discourse in this country, but also proves Sayre’s law.

We were told that Lums had refused to extend PH’s contract, even though PH is a public intellectual of high merit. Almost every intervention on PH’s behalf, including PH’s own statements, implied that he had been singled out for reasons that had nothing to do with his performance as a teacher, and the decision, therefore, was based on mala fide.

Let’s first look at the legal-technical dimension here. If a contract sets the time of its expiry and does not stipulate that the institution (in this case, Lums) is bound to renew it, it stands expired at that point. Period. Unless stipulated otherwise, the organisation is under no obligation to provide any justification for its decision not to renew a contract. It is important to find out if there is anything in PH’s contract, which says that Lums is bound to extend his stay because he is a public intellectual.

I haven’t seen the contract but I suspect it doesn’t contain any caveats against Lums and hence in PH’s favour. If that were so, PH, in addition to starting the knife fight, would have also opened a legal front. That, as we know, has not happened.

But perhaps, the legal-technical dimension is not the best way to go about this. In which case, let two facts be placed on record. One, PH is not the only one at Lums affected by a policy that generally seeks to superannuate teachers. Two, this is not a new policy. Corollary 1: Lums did not single out PH. All statements, emails, etcetera that seem to suggest this are factually wrong. PH’s long-time colleague and another public intellectual of high merit, Dr A H Nayyar, has also been asked to continue as adjunct faculty which he has refused. Corollary 2: Other teachers, over the past two years, have suffered this policy or its variations.

A very good example is Dr Anjum Nasim. Let me make clear that I have not spoken to Dr Nasim but know a few details about his case from other sources. Dr Nasim, a full professor who served the institution as dean and provost, is credited with setting up the economics department at Lums. When he turned 60, the economics department prepared a case for retaining him on a visiting contract. However, the vice chancellor at the time noted that such contracts are a privilege and not a matter of right, signalling to everyone that no matter how illustrious a career one might have had at Lums, contractual employment after 60 is not to be taken for granted.

Dr Nasim, true to form, did not even apply for a visiting contract after the VC’s observation even though the observation did not, in and of itself, mean that he could not land such a contract.

Another luminary, Dr Noman-ul-Haque, was given the choice to continue teaching as adjunct faculty and he accepted that contract. Some other teachers I spoke with said that they would probably leave if asked to become adjunct faculty. There are many such examples.

Available evidence suggests that what has happened is not an attempt to single out PH. PH’s not-so-implicit allegation that he has been pushed out because a religious lobby in Lums did not want him around is a tough one to challenge but precisely for that reason, equally tough to prove. PH has been teaching at Lums for a long time, though until he retired from Quaid-e-Azam University and landed a visiting contract at Lums, he used to teach as adjunct faculty. His views are widely known to everyone. To argue that a lobby wanted him out would mean the Lums management was in cahoots with the lobby and the latter orchestrated the move against PH. If this were the case, the lobby should have started a campaign against PH to force the management’s hand. But there is no evidence of that. What we do have is instead a campaign by PH and his supporters alleging that he was cut loose because of his views.

Another professor, Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais, has for many years taken a clear and categorical position against religious extremism at various fora. He makes regular appearances on TV (including when I hosted programmes on Dawn News and Samaa) and writes a column. There’s no indication the lobby at Lums has gone after Dr Rais.

It would have been so much better had this issue not been personalised. We could then begin to question a Lums policy which, by becoming excessively rule-bound and bureaucratic, could cause the institution to lose experienced teachers. While it makes sense to standardise employment contracts at the entry level for young scholars, there will be many instances in which contracts will have to be tailored according to the academic merit of a scholar. In fact, exceptions make a good rule in an academic environment at the higher end than the other way around. Top universities around the world practise this.

My own sense is that Lums should have retained PH. I am not a scientist and cannot evaluate PH on that score but he has, over the years, established himself as a straight talker on various issues and we need people like him. I disagree with him on most issues. I think by acting as a polemicist rather than an academic, he has become predictable in what he says and writes. But his freedom to do so is the benchmark of our maturity as a people.

Equally, I find it amusing that he (or for that matter anyone) should consider himself indispensable. In doing so, he comes dangerously close to army chiefs who seek extensions because presumably the working of an institution is dependent on individuals. That, as PH would agree, is not a healthy trend.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (115)

  • Milestogo
    Oct 30, 2012 - 9:55PM

    PH is one of the greatest thinkers alive in Pakistan. Abdus Salam was another. No surprise he is being kicked out.

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  • Ayesha Siddiqa
    Oct 30, 2012 - 9:58PM

    What a lame article. How can one even compare Rasul B. Rais with Pervez Hoodhbhoy. One does not always agree with PH but to argue that he is at the same intellectual level as RBR is criminal. This is not a legal battle and PH is at least honest so have no reason not to believe him when he says that there is a bias against him. The author has selectively withheld facts about senior professors whose contracts have been renewed.

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  • M Ali Khan
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:00PM

    As much as I am a huge fan of PH, I have to side with LUMS on this one if they simply did not want to renew his contract. They broke no law and have full right to offload anyone they like if their contract expires. Yes, LUMS letting go of PH is not the right decision but its not ‘unethical’ either.

    I feel PH and his fans must NOT personalise this issue because all it does it make it sound more and more ridiculous. QAU is much more ‘conservative’ than LUMS in spite of the Tableeghi presence but PH was there for years and years until he left on his own accord to join LUMS.

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  • Hiba
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:05PM

    I am in LUMS and trust me, Hoodbhoy hardly spends any time on campus. At least I don’t see him the way I see other distinguished faculty members on campus. He should concentrate on teaching Physics-his forte and not religion or social sciences.

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  • Oct 30, 2012 - 10:09PM

    Good argument, But you failed to challenge this whole “religious lobby” premise about LUMS. What is this religious lobby? Who says it’s even an organized and discrete body of people who coordinate and exercise influence? As a former student at LUMS, I came across many visibly religious students and (some) instructors, but never did I find them hostile to the values of LUMS or to its tolerance of plurality. LUMS, in fact, is probably the only campus in Pakistan where very observant individuals mix on equal terms with more secular ones. Religion and practicing Muslims are an integral part of Pakistan, and there’s no reason that their mere presence (or their right to organize around spiritual interests) on LUMS campus should automatically provoke paranoia and conspiracy theories. With his tenuous allegations and impetuous attitude, Dr. Hoodbhoy is not doing his credibility any favors.

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  • Zain
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:11PM

    Academics are not bureaucrats in an institution. Don’t compare the issue to Army Chief extension. World over, academics continue to teach until they wish to retire. It is not uncommon to find a large number of Professors aged 80+ at large universities.

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  • shahidanwar
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:14PM

    Superb article. It will clear a lot of fog unnecessarily created.

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  • Outsider
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:23PM

    PH should not have publicized the issue. Renewing the contract is supposed to be left at the discretion of LUMS and I feel PH relied on the civil society for helping him stay in LUMS… Moreover, I am glad the author has not seen this in a religion/secular binary context as many people, even Nadeem Paracha or Raza Rumi, continue to do..

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  • Hashmi
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:31PM

    LUMS should not compromise on its principles. It is the greatest institution of the country by far. people like PH and supported cannot discredit it.

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  • Fahd
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:34PM

    This article is what we call in punjabi……. geelay geelay chittar to PH and his supporters. By publicizing this issue and targeting adil najam, pervez hoodbhoy has lost all his respect. If you claim to be a scholar due to ur knowledge you should also have the personality of one. This is not the first instance at LUMS that hoodbhoy has made an issue of something affecting him. He emailed the whole LUMS community of a dispute he had with the administration regarding a course, ran away from a debate and now this!!!

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  • Luminite
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:34PM

    @Hiba:
    Wow. Just because you dont see him quite often on campus does not mean he doesnt stick to teaching. I see him atleast once a week while going to my usual classes and im not even that punctual or a SSE student.
    If you are giving that kind of reasoning against PH then you should think again. The least you can do is not vote in the upcoming elections because you dont have what it takes to judge correctly.

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  • Maze
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:35PM

    If this were the case, the lobby should have started a campaign against PH to force the management’s hand. But there is no evidence of that.” The writer is writing as if he was present at the institute 24/7 and knows everything everyone has ever done and said over there. PH is in a better position to tell what was going on as he was, probably, there.

    It is not a matter of personalizing the issue. Its not a legal matter either. But why do we presume that matters related to morality, fairness and meritocracy are not important to us? Just because we are Pakistanis?

    How many MIT doctorates do we have here or ones from a university of that caliber? Why let go off a more qualified professor and replace him with a mediocre one? Lets leave PH out of this and address this question.

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  • Hashmi
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:42PM

    it is LUMS not Lums..

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  • Mirza
    Oct 30, 2012 - 10:46PM

    What has Phudboy done that you are castigating him like this? He is one of the great thinkers of our time. Just spend two hours in his company and you will understand how much time you are wasting with your article.

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  • DawnTawn
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:14PM

    anybody who says LUMS does not have an organized religious lobby has probably never seen LUMS or spoken to a student. Organized Tableeghi’s knock on your door atleast once a week mate

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  • Sharjeel Jawaid
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:15PM

    Notwithstanding terms put down in contracts, we should seriously review the archiac policy of retiring faculty members at the age of 60. My suggestion applies equally well to other professionals and technocrats who are in a good position to contribute to the society well past the age of 60 if they continue working. Afterall physicians and surgeons don’t retire at 60, so why we have a dumb policy of throwing out active scientists and engineers when they are only 60. In Europe the retirement age goes upto 67 years! We have an example in Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui. He lived till the age of 96 and never retired.

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  • C. Nandkishore
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:17PM

    A institution is as good as its teachers. A good teacher attracts the best students. Harvard, Princeton, etc are very good because their teachers are top, the Nobel laureates. They attract the best students. Hence it is difficult to get in to these institutions. LUMS has done a mistake by losing him.

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  • Dr. Syed I. Haider
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:41PM

    I am not a scientist and cannot evaluate PH on that score but he has, over the years, established himself as a straight talker on various issues and we need people like him. I disagree with him on most issues.

    I have two questions for Ejaz Haider:

    (1) If you are not a scientist and cannot judge PH on his academic merits, what moral basis do you have to write this article to support the termination of his academic position at LUMS in a manner that some of your readership is rightfully considering “geelay geelay chittar to PH and his supporters?” The question in a number of minds like myself is whether PH deserved all that because he is a liberal and not a vernacular son of the soil.

    (2) Please edify us on the “most issues” you disagree with PH. We am really interested in learning what you are intellectually capable of disagreeing with PH. Please tell us something about your positions on HAARP’s relation to Pakistani floods, nuclear diasarmament, and the viability of Agha Waqra’s water kit vis-a-vis PH’s.

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  • Oct 30, 2012 - 11:43PM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa:
    You are spot on in criticising writer of the article. PH is honest and open that really gets the goat in so many cases. The author is showing characteristics of an eel which PH is not.

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  • Critical Thinker
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:48PM

    @Milestogo: You have put “Greatest Thinkers”, “Pakistan”, “Abdus Salam” in one sentence; PH is a scholar of high merit but claiming him as the greatest thinker alive is a long stretch by any means!

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  • PNP
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:52PM

    Is is laughable that you are complaining about PH personalizing his situation when you have written a most personal attack on him without even knowing any details of his situation . Incredible !

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  • Omair Shakil
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:53PM

    A well-balanced piece. Dr Hoodbhoy should have done himself a favor and joined another institution. Crying wolf and creating bad blood are hardly suit a man of his stature and intellect. That said, NOONE is indispensible.

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  • Sultan
    Oct 30, 2012 - 11:56PM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa:

    Amazing comment, Doctor Sahiba! All your books and articles are normally full of a vigorous defence of the supremacy of the institutions over individuals and now you are looking for exceptions for Professor Hoodbhoy just because he has raised the canard of “religious intolerance” on campus? Can he provide any details as to how the supossed “LUMS mullahs” targeted him?

    LUMS is a for profit, professional institution employing many professors and has to maintain some standards of practice based on costs and benefits, no matter what. Professor Hoodbhoy had a fixed contract; he did not perform according to management’s expectations; he was warned; he did not change his habits; he was given the adjunct position to still try to accomodate him; his ego felt slighted, he got angry and started spouting drivel.

    Why should the honourable professor maintain his primary residence in Islamabad, fly in for a day or two, and then go back to Islamabad while he is earning full, international level salary? He should be fully engaged with the school whereas he seems to want to do the bare minimum just to keep his pay check intact.

    There is no need to over dramatise this–if he really loves to teach as much as he says he does, LUMS should give him a reduced pay package in line with his commitment and he should accept the position of an adjunct professor. He can then enjoy all his passions–teaching, politics, writing, television appearances and enjoying the scenic beauty of the Galliat over the weekend! If that is not acceptable, there is no non compete clause in his contract. He is free to look for another job at so many other schools that will kill to hire him–he can keep enlightening the nation with his intellect and mastery of so many subjects, including how to start a petty smear campaign!

    Very disappointing behaviour from two national role models–yourself and Dr. Hoodbhoy. Who should our youth look up to now?

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  • Sultan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:00AM

    @Abid P Khan:

    When the cauldron of reflexive hatred boiling in your head cools down a bit, try reading a bit of contract law?

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  • Chengez K
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Dr Hoodbhoy is an asset…….but nobody is sure for whom?

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  • F Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:04AM

    Most of the people here are commenting without knowing a bit of the issue. It is a typical liberals vs non-liberals fight on any issue here @ ET. Please leave it to PH & LUMS to sort it out themselves.

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  • Sheheryar Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:06AM

    I’m on LUMS side on this completely administrative issue which has wrongly been blown out of proportions. But I’m sure you got a healthy and long briefing from your friend Adil Najam on what and how to write on this topic. :) You can’t deny that, can you?

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  • Falcon
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:15AM

    Until this case came along I used to think conspiracy theorists only exist in Pakistan’s right. Now, I know we have the house full on the left side as well.

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  • rehan siddiqui
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:30AM

    ph thinks he is being victimised because of his religious beliefs do not make any sense. It is cheap shot. For me it is just simply to get publicity. it is lumps choice whether to re-engage him or not. Being a champion of western ethics and morality ph should easily go back to states or england to pursue his career as he openly claims that this country is full of bigots.

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  • F Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:30AM

    @ Sultan:
    Good One…Simple….Sweet….and Straight.

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  • Khalq e Khuda
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:48AM

    Rasul Bakhsh Rais and Pervez Hoddbhoy are not comparable. The article is futile as Pervez Hoodbhoy has quoted respective deans and the contradictory reasoning provided by them which were clearly dubious. Moreover, ever heard of labor or employment laws? Most of them are based on the need to protect a worker against such arbitrary dismissal and discontinuation of contract: if LUMS doesn’t fall within the ambit doesn’t mean the same rules are not morally applicable.

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  • Zaki
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:50AM

    Agree with the author that this matter should have been discussed in private and not brought to the media. I deeply respect Dr. Hoodbhoy, but he has hurt his own reputation as well as of a respectable Pakistani university by exploiting this issue. However, I disagree with the comparison made with Dr. A. H. Nayyar. Dr. Hoodbhoy is a well-known science scholar who has regular publications in international reputed journals. Dr. Nayyar has not published a single science paper in the past 25 years, or even more. We should be careful when making such comparisons of our renowned scientists.

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  • Ayesha Siddiqa
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:07AM

    @Sultan:
    LUMS may be private but it is still a university. PH is not crying for extension of his contract but decrying the logic for getting rid of him. A good teacher is an asset and does not become redundant after 60 years of age. There are at least two people in LUMS faculty who are around 70. I suppose you are forgetting that a university is not a shoe-making factory where trained faculty becomes like a worn out machine after a certain age. Not extending his contract doesn’t make a lot of sense given the fact that people are not exactly queuing up in this country or falling over each other to fill positions in a university. We suffer from a general dearth of trained human resources and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to get rid of a trained teacher. Trust me this is not about how contracts are written out.

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  • sabi
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:33AM

    I have no reason,not to believe PH’s narative in the light of one fake docter (hero of powerfull right wing mindeset) calling him names in his aricle.This right wing mindset is no doubt present every where even at LUMS.Religious lobby at LUMS need not start any compaigne knowing that PH is on contract basis.So.this cunning lobby must have pressurised the management behind the closed door,not to renew PH contract.PH is a mindset, that has increasingly become an existantial threat to these right wing thugs who have brought this country to this low.
    Hoodbhoy we need you.we respect you and we love to know more from you.
    God be with you.

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  • Humayun Zakkariya
    Oct 31, 2012 - 2:17AM

    Mr PH can teach in any other university and impart knowledge to students other than LUMS.why all the fuss about it? Its a loss for lums not to have him not for PH to teach at lums. I would like him to teach in my university if the professor ends his affair n media frenzy with lums.

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  • Aftab Baloch
    Oct 31, 2012 - 2:18AM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa
    Dear Doctor Sahiba. There is no one that I know of who joined LUMS near, at, or after 60 who has stayed onwards on a full-time contract. The ones who are near 70 are on ADJUNCT contracts and that is exactly what was offered PH. Given his performance has been EXACTLY that of an Adjunct, this is exactly what he should have been offered, and could and should have taken. Yes, there are a very small number who are on full-time contracts after the age of 60, but they are people who served at LUMS for many years BEFORE turning 60 and attained Full Professor status while doing so. Even then, some like Professor Anjum Nasim, declined the adjunct offer. I think you are just sore because LUMS never even shortlisted you the times you applied for positions such as HoD and Dean that you were seriously underqualified for. Yes, LUMS is a University and you and PH both need to realize that: LUMS needs academic and not ideologues. You and PH fall in the latter and publications don’t change that as many ideologues have published.

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  • Sultan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 2:33AM

    @Khalq e Khuda:

    Professor Hoodbhoy is welcome to go to any employment arbitration he wishes to but he has not done so because he knows he does not have a leg to stand on.

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  • Oct 31, 2012 - 3:11AM

    @Sultan: Well said

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  • Oct 31, 2012 - 3:19AM

    Independent thinking is rare in the country, now they want to curtail it even further.

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  • Taimur
    Oct 31, 2012 - 3:27AM

    I miss LUMS…Recommend

  • Uza Syed
    Oct 31, 2012 - 3:42AM

    @sabi: “Pervez Hoodbhoy is a mindset, that has increasingly become an existantial threat to these right wing thugs who have brought this country to this low.” Good observation and one must agree here. It is the “right wing thugs” who feel threatened by people like Prof. Hoodbhoy, who teaches his students to stop and ponder and raise questions, everything can be questioned, there is no knowledge that can claim perfection. Anything above and beyond reason and scrutiny is fake and nothing more than a dogma. His students like him and have started debating various issues that hinder progress here and that’s what has created panic among these thugs. I see it now and agree with you. And this is the most important reason that Professor Hoodbhoy and his kind are needed if we wish to progress and be recognized as a civilized and enlightened people.Recommend

  • Truth Detector
    Oct 31, 2012 - 3:43AM

    Why so much fuss about a university not renewing a professor’s contract? I agree with the article by & large. PH is not the oracle of truth & intellect that warrants so much attention. He is a person who is entitled to his views on certain things & not everyone agree with him. Why drag university’s decision to renew/ not renew contract in it?

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  • Sultan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:14AM

    @Abid P Khan:

    How? He just lost his job, not his tongue–he seems to be using it quite prolifically to defend his position. Can we please stop the theatrics?

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  • Sultan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:19AM

    @Dr Khalid Butt:

    Please, can we stay civil and not drag Professor Hoodbhoy’s personal life into this–he is a free adult and can form whatever relationships he wishes. You really do not need to exaggerate and rely on unrelated facts to point out the simple fact that he is wrong in this case.

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  • Jihad Bil-Qalam
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:41AM

    @Dr Khalid Butt:
    The information you have volunteered about PH’s personal life is not relevant. The real issue here is whether the author’s defense of LUMS to justify PH’s dismissal is honest. The real danger is that the apparently innocuous removal of PH could be symptomatic of a much wider witchhunt in Pakistan where progressive professionals of all stripes will be targetted at one pretext or the other. Liberals like myself fear that such a high profile elimination of a leading liberal luminary from a prominent academic institution will lower the thresholds against the left elsewhere in Pakistan, and will send a threatening signal to the individuals who do not toe the retrogressive lines. I hope now you can understand why PH’s hypertension or his second marriage do not belong to the ongoing discourse, which is rather profound.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:50AM

    Dr. P.H. should start an online teaching course accessible to everyone. With a very small registration and course fee he can make more money than his contract.

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  • SaqibTahir
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:18AM

    Getting rid of PH is a loss for LUMS but they cannot see it.

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  • Imran
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:25AM

    Why make so much fuss about it. Religious reasons or not, contract was not renewed. There can be many twists and turns behind the contract negotiations and rightly so as pointed out by PH, someone religious with influence wanted him out. At the end of the day, PH is gone, lets find someone capable to replace him. Not replacing him with similar credentials would be a mistake for LUMS and a loss for the students. The institutions should not lower their standards based on biases.

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  • Awais
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:37AM

    PH should stop spreading “conspiracy theories” and respect the rules and laws of the institution he so proudly served. Isn’t it what we all argue about and curse our politicians/generals for not abiding by? If this is what we as teachers of this nation do, what do we expect from the crop we are breading?

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  • salaar
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:08AM

    Agree with Sultan and Aftab Baloch. Its about time we, as a nation, realize the fact that INDIVIDUALS are not above institutions and no human being is indispensable. If PH was so keen on teaching he should have taken the adjunct position but even our TEACHERS have BIG EGOS which is so not academic.

    People like PH should join politics as his personality suits more to politician than a teacher !

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  • Aijaz Haider
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:13AM

    PH is requested to join QAU, leave LUMS, stick to physics, avoid politics and put an end to this time-wasting debate.
    Regards.

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  • MilesToGo
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:35AM

    @Critical Thinker

    I said ‘in Pakistan’ PH is one of the greatest thinkers – outside Pakistan he is average.

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  • Javed Mohmand
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:38AM

    Article written on behalf of LUMS with information provided by the Institution.Ejaz why did you choose to write on this topic, highlighting selective facts?

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  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:16AM

    I believe Ejaz’s article is quite a balanced one. The real issue, which Ejaz did not take up right in the beginning of his article, for reasons of courtesy of course, but which he mentioned in the last paragraph of his article, appears to be behind the ‘flare-up.’

    Having no personal knowledge of PH’s capabilities, I would accept what is generally stated about him: that he is an accomplished professional in his field but apparently even this high rating does not satisfy PH because he holds himself in a much higher regard, way above what others, taking a realistic view of things, would allow for him.

    Once I saw PH on TV, fighting as an equal with the person who came up with the idea of water-run car. PH was furious and was calling him names, asking for him to be sent to prison. I would think that a really capable, knowledgeable and confident professional would just have laughed it off, instead of participating in the programme, fuming and raising his own blood pressure over an issue which he had solid reasons to believe was nothing but a farce.

    PH also ridiculed Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman’s views about HAARP programme in an unprofessional manner, and got a befitting reply from him. We know the universe has a balance and when we fiddle with it, reaction is bound to come. This was nicely put by a visionary who said that even when a butterfly just flutters its wings, it does affect the whole universe. We all know that what is taken as a fact now would have been regarded as mere fiction a century back, and we are still learning.

    Also, PH’s decision to ‘fight it out’ in public brings his conduct to much nearer that of militrant, union-belonging workers, which is well below that of senior-management level, and nowhere near that expected from academics and intellectuals.

    Karachi
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  • Outsider
    Oct 31, 2012 - 10:57AM

    @ Sultan:
    I believe your vitriolic diatribe against Dr Ayesha Siddiqa is misplaced… She is correct when maintaining that the author has deliberately with-held some facts.. We have people like Shaharyar khan (more than 75 years of age); Mohammad Waseem and Rasul Baksh Rais (both more than 65 years of age) teaching at LUMS and except for Amb. Shaharyar the other two are not part of the adjunct faculty. Clearly LUMS has retained all of them for their scholarship and expertise; the calculations of profit/loss and cost/benefit or the clauses & standards seem to be ignored.. they could have been ignored in the case of PH too [this is far from hinting that I favor PH i am just giving the other side of the picture].. if exceptions have been made before within LUMS then why such strict rule-book adherence in the case of PH?

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  • kanwal
    Oct 31, 2012 - 11:04AM

    @Dr khalid Butt
    This evaluation of yours about the personal life of PH is a very low attitude. What a shock that ET published it. Get a life man! This is none of our vusiness how PH plans his personal life.
    All i care about is that he gets a fair hearing for his greivances, which by the way dear author, are serious enough if a faculty member has proof. Author’s barely hidden contempt for PH is visible in this article. Let him have a fair hearing which i think if he gets, he would be inducted in the faculty again provided he has proof of what he says. The kind of bullying of yoing faculty that takes place using these contracts must be pathetic.

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  • Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:12PM

    I am a huge fan of Pervez Hoodbhoy for his intellectual writing and straightforwardness, but in this case LUMS has a full right to hire or let go any of its faculty member including him.

    There should be no worry for the respected Dr. PH as he is competent enough and can find a similar position anywhere-else is Pakistan, though I am not sure if he may get paid equally. This must not a be a problem for him.

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  • Raza Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 12:36PM

    PH is an asset to Pakistan! Do not force him to leave Pakistan like we did to Dr.Salam.

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  • Oct 31, 2012 - 1:00PM

    Good piece. But I believe you went soft on him. There is another more important issue in this whole fiasco. The fact that PH leaked a confidential letter to public domain itself is an ethical crime which author should have highlighted as wellRecommend

  • Something Clever
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:24PM

    It doesn’t really matter how good the professor is or how valid the reason LUMS gives. It’s not a winnable battle for the man if they don’t want to renew it for any reason. I don’t know enough to judge but, if he’s as good as people make him out to be, he should be capable of making them regret their decision through the actions he takes by moving onto other work such as teaching at a competing college or something to that effect. Maybe it’s easier said than done but, one fact remains… Whatever decision he makes, it probably won’t result in him teaching at LUMS again.
    His bitterness is justifiable, though. Nobody likes rejection. Lack of closure from lack of a clear reason also understandably intensifies it. If it were me, I wouldn’t even go back if they changed their mind. But, I’m stubborn to a fault, too.

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  • Samia
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:34PM

    The article makes an attempt to appear balanced. However, I agree with Ayesha Siddiqa.

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  • Foqia
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:44PM

    This piece by Ejaz Haider is clear manifestation of shoddy journalism. Him quoting Sayer’s law just mirrors his cynicism. He has selectively quoted cases from the LUMS without giving proper context. There are many over 60 years old who are teaching there as visiting faculty. Moreover, Hoodbhoy was verbally promised a contract for three years in 2011. His contract is being terminated after two years. He was made to work without a contract from January-April 2012. I have no idea how such “professional” behaviour as making teachers work without contract conform to the labour laws of the country. If his contract is being terminated one year earlier than the agreed contract period promised initially, he needs to be given a valid reason. He sent his detailed letter to Adil Najam and the LUMS on 15th October, 2012. It has been two weeks and they have not managed to respond to it. If they have adequate reasons not to renew his contract, why do they not spell it out? Why are they keeping their reasons hidden. In the meanwhile, the dirty brigade is making comments about Hoodbhoy’s remarriage and Ayesha Siddiqa’s job applications. It is truly hitting below the belt. Wonder on whose behest is this dirty brigade working? Why are such comments being allowed while far less critical ones against the article not being allowed? The truth of the matter is that vocal opponents of the army establishment be it Hoodbhoy, A.H. Nayyar or Ayesha Siddiqa are hounded out of institutional places. It seems powerful circles in the country do not want people of conscience to have comfortable institutional lives and affiliations.Recommend

  • USMAN786
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:45PM

    if religious lobby would be strong in LUMS then they should not have let go Kamaluddin – the best scholar who speaks in English

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  • humairakanwal
    Oct 31, 2012 - 1:52PM

    sir ! it is not the matter of extension your wrote it in singular way that is simply biasness. everyone knows PH very well .he is retired Professor of your famouse university he has number of ther oppertunities abroad the problem is not job and position he is not beging for it .but why he himself talked on his personal issue is a point we need to think seriously. his whole life his work is before us he never mentioned or propagate any negative thing ……

    secondly ,why most of us are taking it crime that no one has right to think or speak on social issues and country’s situation.PH is human being not just PHYSICS professor. he is not runnig at think tank like lal topi wala if he writes or speak on social issue its not abnormal act.

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Oct 31, 2012 - 2:15PM

    Wonder if the author actually read the letter written by PH in its entirety?

    What PH has seemingly brought to fore are a set of facts based on the information traffic that occured between him and the those in the relevant academic chain of command. Nowhere in his letter does he mention that there have been transgressions of policy or contract law on part of LUMS, he has highlighted a host of allegations brought against him that he has recounted as being patently false and in so doing he has done service to LUMS and other institutions of distinction so that best international practices are put into place for declining contract renewals of university professors. And from my reading of his letter it is precisely this issue that he has addressed.

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  • huzaifa
    Oct 31, 2012 - 2:35PM

    just remember! LUMS has no standing in the world educational institutions but Dr Pervez hood bhai is a world renowned physicist. If he had gone abroad, there is no doubt that he would have been near to be awarded nobel prize. I would suggest that LUMS should separate intellectuals from educationists. Its about time or after Dr Abdulsalm another great mind will be lost as the way we are disparaging him.

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  • Kaleem
    Oct 31, 2012 - 3:02PM

    Beauty without brain is deadly, and intellect without showing respect to others is even more deadly.Recommend

  • bibyawari
    Oct 31, 2012 - 3:59PM

    Agree with the author, the examples he has used in this article, reflect his knowledge about LUMS and its policies. He is very right, PH should not have made this issue personalized, if he was interested in teaching he should have continued as adjunct faculty, rather than showing himself to be indispensable.I agree with him, it’s not army where extensions are granted, individuals come and go but its institutions that shall remain.

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  • Mahnoor
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:01PM

    Like it or not, LUMS unfortunately does have a religious lobby. One can’t say whether PH was a victim, but there have been honest teachers at LUMS, driven out by sheer pressure from the “religious”, headed by one Kamaluddin, at one point! If anybody wants to write about it, I am willing to disclose names and details.

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  • Qaisrani
    Oct 31, 2012 - 4:02PM

    Why PH wants to stick to elite institution like LUMS.Why he does not join some ordinary government sector University to only teach Physics??
    The problems with seculars of this country, which is failing the whole concept of secularism,is that they lack honesty and integrity when it comes to vested interests.

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  • saleem
    Oct 31, 2012 - 5:24PM

    Time and again , why do i conclude, you have now become a conservative right wing symphatizer with a line to the you know who of rawalpindi.
    Because Dr hoodbhoy belongs to anti neuclear lobby, he is anti religious extremists and therefore needs to be eased out.

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  • Oct 31, 2012 - 5:56PM

    You are clearly jealous of PH.
    And you are clearly seems to be on LUMS side if you have also taken the PH side the article would be more clear to you even.
    PH is above the stupid politics as a scientist and we respect him more after reading his last email.

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  • F
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:11PM

    This article is self serving and is what is known as killing by being “objective” and “balanced”. This also is a masterful effort to ingratiate himself with the powerful at LUMS. He knows PH is being targeted, unlike others, but unless “proof” is provided he chooses to remain blind and deaf. With this he feigns neutrality but in favor of LUMS. He has put up some browny points for himself to teach at LUMS.

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  • Amused
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:17PM

    comparing PH to RBR is appalling. At least PH makes sense and is a scholar, RBR can not perhaps even make sense of his own writing!

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  • observer
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:23PM

    From commentating on US-AFPAK relations, to commentating on PH-LUMS fracas?

    How the mighty have fallen.

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  • Dr Jamshed Khan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 6:52PM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa:

    Whether or not the author of this article left out any facts or figures, the simple and true fact is that PH’s contract ran out and was not extended. Why is anyone making such a big deal out of it? There must be thousands more like him (all over the world, many with at least equal or even better credentials than PH), retiring or reaching the end of a contractual agreement. I don’t remember seeing petitions and such vicious campaigns by anyone else, especially maligning the institution that gave him a huge salary for very little work. If he considers himself an intellectual then this is quite shameful and dishonourable for him to get into such campaigns. And by the way, PH may be anything but please don’t call him honest. And he is not the greatest thinker in Pakistan as someone else on this forum has said. He is very likely to get his cues from somewhere else.

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  • Nitin
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Get PH to India. He will be much more valued in India.

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  • Jat
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:09PM

    @observer: One cannot expect any better from a front-man of the establishment.

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  • Ahmed
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:55PM

    Dear pervez sahib
    Come to IBA….the mullahs at LUMS don’t deserve you…(with deepest regrets for progressive students at LUMS)…

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  • Irfan Moeen
    Oct 31, 2012 - 7:58PM

    Sayre’s Law when applied to this kind of cheeky journalism often becomes the basis of cynicism, which Mr Ejaz Haider increasingly displays in his writings. The fact that he disagrees with Hoodbhoy on most issues has also regrettably colored his opinion.

    The issue here is clear: LUMS having promised a 3-year contract went back on its word. It only needs to explain in writing to Dr Hoodbhoy the reason for doing so. He has evidently written a clear letter to LUMS and asked the VC and others to correct any statement therein.

    The two comments by Ayesha Siddiqa above hits the nail on the head.Recommend

  • Cynical
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:10PM

    @Ejaz Haider

    The crowd is duly impressed.

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  • Outsider
    Oct 31, 2012 - 8:26PM

    @ Aftab Baloch:
    Your onslaught towards Dr Ayesha Siddiqa is absurd… Every university has ideologues and not detached, cold blooded, dispassionate teachers who spit simple facts and figures.. Every teacher is a preacher in his class using the class as his pulpit and the students as the audience to whom he teaches/preaches what he thinks is best.. If Dr Siddiqa or PH are ideologues then you have to admit almost every other teacher is also an ideologue and does not shed his subjectivity while lecturing..
    Mr Baloch your argument is unwarranted and totally wrong.

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  • Habib Sanai
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:00PM

    Yes indeed Dr. Parvez Hoodbhoy has become more polemicist than academic. He should have left honourably without making any fuss.

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  • Hasan
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:10PM

    Another utterly usless piece of journalism by Ejaz Haider. Mr. Haider, I hope you are being compensated well for the sell out you have become. A shame that people like you can even claim to be intellectuals. Only in the wasteland that Pakistan has become! There are few in Pakistan who can compare intellectually to Pervez Hoodbhoy, certainly not the nobodies you name in the article or intellectual pygmies such as yourself or Adil Najam. Shame on you.

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  • T-Rex
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:20PM

    Finally some sanity, great article.im a student of LUMS. Trust me people, sitting outside and making assumptions is quite easy. i wish you could see, PH is not singled out , it has nothing to do with his views about religion or any social ideas he tries to advocate here. Academically he was not productive for LUMS despite being one of the highly paid people in this cash-stripped university

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  • Lobster
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:24PM

    @Milestogo:
    PH is a good one but how can you compare him to Abdus Salam?

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  • Javed
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:26PM

    I am not familair with the merit or demerit of Mr. PH and my comments are purely based on the content of the article, the ensuing comments and my experience of visits to Pakistan’s Higher Education institutions over a period of 22 years.

    The narrative that defends and prosecutes the position taken by PH is indeed very informative of academic conduct and freedom of speech exercised by ‘true academics’ world over. Academic institutions and senior management ought to do all they can to enable academics to express their views freely, something sadly appear to lack at LUMS.

    I am a full professor at a UK university. I have on many occasions wished to return to Pakistan as a visiting professor to make some minor contribution through research and supervision of PhDs. However, attitude and conduct of many academics and senior managers is off putting. It is indeed beyond belief to read an account of Ejiaz Haider, a journalist that could not have been written without briefing by someone from senior management at the LUMS. Mr. Haider’s article was unprofessional, making specific comments without providing any evidence or logical reasoning to substantiate his assertions. It truly read as one sided argument to justify not renewing contract of an academic.

    Indeed management of any institution is entitled to not employ or terminate contract of anyone – agreed – but that termination has to be guided by some in built checks and balances. An aspect that Mr. Haider failed to analyse or examine within his article. If an institution falls under the category of ‘University’ then freedom of speech or expression is of paramount importance and ought to be enshrined in the constitution of the organisation. Failure to honour such freedom of an individual is criminal and such institution forgoes its moral and legal entitlement to be known as a ‘university’. Therefore, instead of briefing against Mr. PH or enabling journalists to write such defence of their decision to terminate PH’s contract, there is a need to have an independent panel of international academics to listen to the case put forward by LUMS and PH. Therefore it is the responsibility of HEC, an organisation – stand being corrected- to instigate an inquiry to establish whether senior management at LUMS failed to safe guard the basic right enshrined within a ‘proper university’s constitution. Failure of LUMS to prove such safeguard should lead the HEC to recommend withdrawal of ‘university’s status.

    Believe in me, there are NOT so many of academics of Pakistani origin lining up to share their experiences and knowledge acquired abroad with institutions like LUMS. To build trust and enable healthy exchange of academic staff it is important to have transparency and free expression of one’s views. Presence of religious ideology has always limited freedom of expressions, even in the West. I am afraid this certainly is the case in Islamic countries – look at the Middle East as an example. However, Islam has encouraged freedom of expression and acquisition of knowledge and I trust academic colleagues in Pakistan will continue to express their true believes, after all Allah is our provider.

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  • Irfan Moeen
    Oct 31, 2012 - 9:29PM

    “I think by acting as a polemicist rather than an academic, he [PH] has become predictable in what he says and writes,” says Mr Ejaz Haider. Mr Haider, now no longer under the wings of his Ustad Khaled Ahmed should refer to some basic dictionary before making such a distinction. The following definitions are from OED:

    Academic: teacher at a university, college, etc; professional scholar.

    Polemicist: Person skilled in polemics (art or practice of arguing a case formally and usually forcefully.

    A good academic should ideally be a polemicist!

    Mr Haider’s convoluted prose may improve as will his English vocabulary, but how will he get rid of his cynicism? As for avoiding predictability in his own writings, he would do well to get out of his weekly routine of churning out self-conscious look-I-am-so-smart columns!

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  • mahmood
    Oct 31, 2012 - 10:24PM

    PH only pointed out that he was ‘bewildered by the decision-making process’, and went on to prove that there actually was no process. If according to LUMS this was just a matter of the contract running out then how come the letter documents multiple meetings in which officials tried to explain quite apologetically why they were letting him go. They should have just said, “Dr sahib, aap ka contract expire ho raha hai, no further comments needed from us”. It’s precisely because they were acting out of ulterior motives that their guilty conscience forced them to cook up reasons like ‘you have too much on your plate’, or ‘you are trying to fix the world’. These explanation-giving meetings are sufficient proof that they knew they were about to do something that will have ‘foul play’ written all over it

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  • Nov 1, 2012 - 1:13AM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa: But PH & RBR’s intelect has not been compared. Rather just the fact that RBR has taken “clear and categorical position against religious extremism at various fora”.

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  • just_someone
    Nov 1, 2012 - 1:33AM

    @Milestogo:
    Good sir/madam. PH is no where in the league of the great Abdus Salam. Most physicists at the top of the profession arent even in the league of Abdus Salam. PH is a nobody in physics research, Abdus Salam was a pioneer, a god and will remain a legend in physics. Please refrain from making statements that are factually incorrect since you obviously have no ability to judge academic work in physics.

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  • Javed
    Nov 1, 2012 - 4:19AM

    I am not familair with the merit or demerit of Mr. PH and my comments are purely based on the content of the article, the ensuing comments and my experience of visits to Pakistan’s Higher Education institutions over a period of 22 years.

    The narrative that defends and prosecutes the position taken by PH is indeed very informative of academic conduct and freedom of speech exercised by ‘true academics’ world over. Academic institutions and senior management ought to do all they can to enable academics to express their views freely, something sadly appear to lack at LUMS.

    I am a full professor at a UK university. I have on many occasions wished to return to Pakistan as a visiting professor to make some minor contribution through research and supervision of PhDs. However, attitude and conduct of many academics and senior managers is off putting. It is indeed beyond belief to read an account of Ejiaz Haider, a journalist that could not have been written without briefing by someone from senior management at the LUMS. Mr. Haider’s article was unprofessional, making specific comments without providing any evidence or logical reasoning to substantiate his assertions. It truly read as one sided argument to justify not renewing contract of an academic.

    Indeed management of any institution is entitled to not employ or terminate contract of anyone – agreed – but that termination has to be guided by some in built checks and balances. An aspect that Mr. Haider failed to analyse or examine within his article. If an institution falls under the category of ‘University’ then freedom of speech or expression is of paramount importance and ought to be enshrined in the constitution of the organisation. Failure to honour such freedom of an individual is criminal and such institution forgoes its moral and legal entitlement to be known as a ‘university’. Therefore, instead of briefing against Mr. PH or enabling journalists to write such defence of their decision to terminate PH’s contract, there is a need to have an independent panel of international academics to listen to the case put forward by LUMS and PH. Therefore it is the responsibility of HEC, an organisation – stand being corrected- to instigate an inquiry to establish whether senior management at LUMS failed to safe guard the basic right enshrined within a ‘proper university’s constitution. Failure of LUMS to prove such safeguard should lead the HEC to recommend withdrawal of ‘university’s status.

    Believe in me, there are NOT so many of academics of Pakistani origin lining up to share their experiences and knowledge acquired abroad with institutions like LUMS. To build trust and enable healthy exchange of academic staff it is important to have transparency and free expression of one’s views. Presence of religious ideology has always limited freedom of expressions, even in the West. I am afraid this certainly is the case in Islamic countries – look at the Middle East as an example. However, Islam has encouraged freedom of expression and acquisition of knowledge and I trust academic colleagues in Pakistan will continue to express their true believes, after all Allah is our provider.Recommend

  • Umul Awan
    Nov 1, 2012 - 5:22AM

    Finally an article which sees the whole issue rationally rather than emotionally!

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  • Munir Ahmed Khawaja
    Nov 1, 2012 - 11:45AM

    We have limited intellectuals, who have equal caliber both on the pure science and the others faculties. We should respect their knowledge and try to get maximum benefit out of their wisdom. His overview on different things can be beneficial both for our young students and think tanks as well. Hoodbhoy is a true pakistani, we need such persons who educate our society for the tolerance and brotherhood. This is the true message of the all religion.
    if i would be the head of HEC or minister of education, I would like to see the Hoodbhoy as Vice chancellor of the Karachi or Quaid a Azam university Because he has the potential to lead our education to meet the challenges of the time. and to compete the rest of the world in the very field

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  • Dinar Wali
    Nov 1, 2012 - 12:00PM

    The author has made a mistake by writing this article and Its beyond my comprehension why do ET publish this piece. Is it an issue of national interest? I don’t think so, Pevez Hoodbhoy and LUMS are the two parties here its up to them to sought out this issue.

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  • AM.Khan
    Nov 1, 2012 - 12:30PM

    Well write up, of course academic politics is most vicious and bitter form of politics”

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  • AMK
    Nov 1, 2012 - 4:38PM

    a good one!…esp. you killed it all in last two paras…

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  • baig
    Nov 1, 2012 - 5:02PM

    PH is a real intellectual,, it looks to me that u are taking a special interest on his case.. u talk about don,t need to be personal but your view towards him is too personal.. i might say the two intellectuals have something to cover on their behalf !! peace

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  • NABEEL
    Nov 1, 2012 - 5:57PM

    This article seems to be written to bail out LUMS management. However, it is very dangerous trend if extremism creeps in institutions like LUMS.

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  • wichitan11
    Nov 1, 2012 - 7:18PM

    Most of the Universities at US and Canada, retire their Faculty upon thier consent, and even after that offer them the option to teach by offering them the title of Professor Emiritus. This way the Professors and the University comes to a win-win situation. The universtiy holds on to their good faculty members who attracts students of merits, and at the same time have a position open up to hire fresh minds to the departments. The professor on the other hand has full liberty to pick and choose the amount of workload he wants to take on, maintains his own schedule, and enjoys his retirement at his own terms. Something to think about and adapt to for Institutes of Highler Ed in Pakistan.

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  • wichitan11
    Nov 1, 2012 - 7:28PM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa:

    I agree with you 100% Dr Ayesha. very good come back. You nailed it on the head!

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  • wichitan11
    Nov 1, 2012 - 7:39PM

    @Sultan:

    Amazing comment!! If Dr PH doesn’t have “a leg to stand on” who in the damn country does?? Can you name a few who comes close to Dr PH? I am amazed at the malise our countrymen forms against anyone who is of calibre and far exceeds anyone when it comes to intellectual heights. We did the same to Dr Salam, Dr Javed Ghamdi..and even to our war heroes..such as Sqrdn Ldr M.M Alam. As soon as we see a hero arising, we try to chop him down. This is one nation who has no celebratede heros for our youth to talk about other than Quaid-e-Azam M.A Jinnah and Allama M. Iqbal. After that, silence..because we choose to kill them, osterzie them and give them no respect..!! Such a nation deserves everything they get..and that’s why we have Mulla’ism and Talibaans so close to our necks. I know that we don’t want this as a nation, the outrage on Malala is a highlighting example of that. But we need to pay respect where it fully deserves. Hiding behind a Policy would not save face for a University or any institute when the true heros are being marred!!

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  • wichitan11
    Nov 1, 2012 - 9:08PM

    @salaar:
    Most of the historical giants become political and socially active when they reach of age. Einstien, J oppenhimer and Socrates/Plato are some of the names. And mind you these are the names that with their activism and progressive mindset not only shape their own nations but the world opinion at large. Dr PH belongs to that creed. I’m so proud of my birth country because of figures like him standing with a vigil in the dark. Chirag-eToor JalaO k bohath Andhera hai..!!

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  • Apalled
    Nov 1, 2012 - 9:56PM

    Ejaz Haider = Zaid Hamid with better grammar.

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  • Mystic
    Nov 1, 2012 - 11:03PM

    Someone who spends most of his time talking about social/political issues but hired to teach and research Physics is intellectually dishonest in the first place.

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  • Mystic
    Nov 1, 2012 - 11:19PM

    BTW…. how many publications (in Physics) Dr. PH produced in last few years?

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  • wichitan11
    Nov 1, 2012 - 11:30PM

    @Dinar Wali:
    Great Point!! I didn’t think about that..!!

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  • Nov 2, 2012 - 12:37AM

    @Mystic:
    Someone who spends most of his time talking about social/political issues but hired to teach and research Physics is intellectually dishonest in the first place.
    .
    If you can substantiate your claim by quoting reliable sources, only then you can be believed. Otherwise people would be calling you a dishonest person too.Recommend

  • stenson
    Nov 2, 2012 - 5:26AM

    Great article that lays to rest a lot of silly conjecture. I think that Pervez Hoodboy has a big ego and thinks he is more special than others. Pakistan ishould treat all people the same – even if Hoodbhoy likes to think he is above the average professor.

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  • Saleem Furqan
    Nov 2, 2012 - 1:01PM

    I find it ironic that the man who heaps invective on conspiracy theorists is so paranoid himself about an imaginary “conservative lobby” which wants to have him ejected from the campus. The conservative groups on campus themselves say that they are constantly under fire and feel boxed in. In fact, about two years ago, the institution let go an Islamic scholar and rumors circulated about a “lobby of liberals” on campus. A few more professors from LUMS’ so-called conservative camp were handed the pink slip, despite their vast experience and qualifications, strengthening the rumors.
    The point I’m making here is not that there is a “liberal lobby” in LUMS instead of a “conservative” one – I’m trying to say that anybody can create imaginary opponents, especially when they cannot wrap their heads around the fact that they have been dismissed for some other reason. With Dr Hoodbhoy, this tendency increases manifold because of his qualifications and outstanding career which feed his ego. He probably felt that his intellectual prowess made him indispensable, so when he was let go (for whatever reason) his mind fixated on an enemy which probably does not even exist in the first place.
    I agree that such an outstanding person is an asset for any institution and should not be let go – if LUMS is what it touts to be (i.e. the best in Pakistan), then it should have retained the best of the best professors. But then again, there could be so many reasons for letting him go other than a right-wing lobby’s demands. Maybe it couldn’t afford him? Or perhaps his attitude was all wrong? As an employer, I wouldn’t care how talented a person is if he constantly flouted the organisation’s rules, perpetually bickered with colleagues and threw enormous tantrums, making life miserable for everyone if things did not go his way. (I’m not saying he did, I’m just saying that talent alone does not make a good employee – attitude/behaviour matters just as much).
    There are much better ways that Dr Hoodbhoy could have reacted to the institution’s refusal to renew his contract. This is especially distressing for people like me who hold (or used to hold) him in high regard. It’s tantamount to seeing honest Abraham Lincoln lying through his teeth.

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  • Rehana Rahman
    Nov 2, 2012 - 5:22PM

    I do not understand why a qualified person who is also productive has to retire at the age of 60 in any university whether private or public? What is the age got to do with his work as a scholar and academic?I hope people do understand that knowledge cannot be produced with out money.You need money for research and if you are retired from any Pakistani university no matter how much competent you are you get a meagre amount of money as your pension and nothing else unlike in other professions where you get a lot after retirement like in army,bureaucracy,judges etc.I do not understand why any one does not question judges for being retired at the age of 68 and even then hired again because competent judges are not available? Every good university all over the world try to retain their competent people in one way or the other but our universities like other institutions in Pakistan try to get rid of competent people that is why we are far behind in knowledge even from the developing countries like India what to say of developed countries like UK or USA etc.

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  • A. Etchen
    Nov 2, 2012 - 9:06PM

    There has been an instigated smear campaign against Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy, commented on by people who do not know him or his academic credentials. Prof Hoodbhoy is an accomplished physicist, whose sound research is deeply valued for being heavily cited in the scientific literature. He supervised many PhD theses at Quaid-i-Azam University which were refereed by the best of physicists in the area, who paid glowing tribute to the work done in the theses. He himself has acted as a referee of several prestigious journals.
    Professor Hoodbhoy is an extremely good teacher. In response to the current issue of renewal of contract, over 500 students signed and submitted a petition to the LUMS administration asking for a continuation of his contract. His faculty colleagues in the department also took up the issue individually as well as collectively with the chairman, dean and the VC. None of this would have happened if the statements in the vilification campaign to the effect that he did not perform his duties well were true. Those of the readers who wish to get a taste of Professor Hoodbhoy’s teaching ought to see the video recording of his lectures posted on the LUMS website
    http://panopto.lums.edu.pk/CourseCast/Student/CourseContents.aspx?id=213ea8b6-701a-421e-9212-91f4280ee384
    or
    http://panopto.lums.edu.pk/CourseCast/Student/CourseContents.aspx?id=94596616-718c-4f62-a0fd-108b6093c0f0
    At LUMS, he designed a unique course in political science, called Science and the World Order. In this course he also let the students interact electronically with the greats like Noam Chomsky, John Avery and many more. The smear campaign has wrongly labelled this course as Islam and science to generate a negative impression.
    I have written all this so that the less knowledgable readers and commentators get to the basic point of the debate rather than get distracted by a foul campaign of discrediting Prof Hoodbhoy launched by the LUMS administration.

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  • wichitan11
    Nov 2, 2012 - 10:34PM

    @A. Etchen:

    Thank you so much!! I would love to go thru the Physics Lectures..this is exciting!!

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  • Rahat Sadozai
    Nov 2, 2012 - 11:14PM

    @Ayesha Siddiqa:
    If you are the same Ayesha Siddiqa who appears on tv then I am shocked to read your stupid comment and if some other Ayesha Siddiqa then I would just want to say, the columnist didn’t compare PH and Dr Rais on intellectual level. He just gave an example that there are liberals in the faculty who are never victimized on their views. Too bad that the columnist mentioned one name and people like yourself showed the level of intellect and took the point to a whole new level. Dr. Rais might be dumb but you proved yourself to be the dumbest – though you have the right to give your opinion about the article that it’s lame but I can see how much you “understood” the article. May be you are still in the “age of passion” – when you will enter the “age of reason” you might be able to understand things better.

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