Plagiarism probe: CTRL+C, CTRL+V, Javed Laghari found ‘guilty’

Published: January 27, 2014
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Former Higher Education Commission chairperson Javed Laghari. PHOTO: NNI

Former Higher Education Commission chairperson Javed Laghari. PHOTO: NNI

ISLAMABAD: A former head of the country’s higher education watchdog has been found ‘guilty’ of academia’s greatest crime — plagiarism.

A probe committee has found that 30 per cent of the content of a research paper authored former Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairperson Javed Laghari was plagiarised from a European Union (EU) report.

An HEC official said that the research paper was copied from a 2002 EU report which is still available online.

Interestingly enough, Laghari — who remained HEC chairman for four years until his contract expired on August 27 last year — has reapplied for the post along with over 100 others.

The three-member committee, headed by University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, has completed its probe after including Laghari defence on the issue. Sources said that the findings of the probe will be sent to the HEC further action.

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Under HEC rules, severe plagiarism was defined as 20 per cent of the work being unfairly copied. However, under the HEC policy, anybody found guilty of plagiarism before 2007 cannot be punished because the anti-plagiarism policy was adopted that year and was not retroactive, while Lagari along and his co-author produced the research paper in 2003.

This was also corroborated by Dr Ahmed who said that the plagiarism was done before the anti-plagiarism policy was adopted on September 27, 2007.

Ahmad confirmed that they detected the plagiarism by using plagiarism-checking software, and according to him, 30 per cent of the content of the paper was plagiarised. He said that such old plagiarism cases were not entertained under the current HEC policy. “If action is taken against such papers, there are other hundreds of other plagiarised papers from past decades which will have to come under HEC scrutiny, which is an impossible task,” he said.

Interestingly, despite being head of the probing team, he felt that the entire exercise was a “conspiracy” against Laghari.

The paper by Laghari and Mohammad Nadeem was published in the Journal of Independent Studies and Research in July 2003. Laghari presented the same paper at a national research conference held in Karachi in 2003 while he was teaching at Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute Science and Technology (SZABIST).

While speaking to The Express Tribune, Laghari claimed that it was not a research paper but only an article. He
added that he did not contribute to the piece and only provided the data the Nadeem needed.

Laghari also said that the case did not fall under the HEC plagiarism policy as it was published in a magazine, adding “I never benefited from it and the co-author included my name without my knowledge.”

However, the research paper also figures in his curriculum vitae, still available on HEC website.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • Khurram Awan
    Jan 27, 2014 - 9:08AM

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Plagiarism is widespread and quality of our engineers and researches is not even equivalent to a Basic Technician in Europe and in America,. Recently I met one Senior Officer of One Mobile company and he got his Telecom degree from a Well reputed Pakistani University but he dont know that what is meant by a Nyquist Criteria and even what is meant by Quantization that is like fundamentals in Communication engineering.

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  • Dr Javaid Laghari
    Jan 27, 2014 - 9:53AM

    The headline is misleading and not representative of the news itself. clearly, it is not a case of plagiarism because it is not a journal paper, but is a magazine article where references are usually not given. Plus It was published in a non HEC recognized journal, and it was printed 3 years before HEC even introduced a policy on plagiarism. HEC policy clearly says policy does not apply to past cases, as mentioned in the above news itself. No credit was received for this article as I became a full tenured professor in a major US university, SUNY, in 1992, while this article is 2004.

    Lastly, the author has clearly written in the article itself, plus in a subsequent email clarification, that the article belongs to him alone, and he added my name without seeking my permission. Normally it is in the acknowledgement.

    This, I believe, is a conspiracy to defame me before the selection of HEC ChairmN, which even the chairman of Plagiarisn committee, acknowledges. It is very poor reporting by a respectable paper, and the reporter has played in the hands of fake degree holders and their supporters.

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  • roadkashehzada
    Jan 27, 2014 - 10:59AM

    disappointing

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  • Bitter Reality
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:07AM

    Be Impartial not judgemental.
    Every Pakistani having a professional degree has done that same to some extent. So please spare Laghari.
    Get A Life Please…

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  • Unknown
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:08AM

    @Khurrum Awan: Wawoo I am glad you know the meaning of Nyquist Criteria and know the meaning of Qurantization. You should be awarded with the Nobel prize.

    ——— Real difference is that he is doing real work and not interested in theories. You are rotting the definitions and surely will be among PhD candidates or had recently got PhD based on few useless and worthless scrap papers. ———————-

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  • Mishrab
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:08AM

    Reputation of the committee is also need to be checked. Political government is trying to destroy HEC.

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  • Salman
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:26AM

    The title of of the news and the content is not worthy to be a NEWS. This is just to defame our people on the international level without proper investigation. These are the people above who help this country produce more PhD. Have some respect Tribune.

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  • Muhammad Idrees
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:34AM

    “Good Artist Copy, Great Artist Steal”

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  • MK
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:43AM

    How can it be termed as plagiarism since the copied item was taken way back from 2002 & plagiarism legislation was put into effect from 2007?

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  • ahmed
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:45AM

    @unknown well said, knowing the definition is one thing doing in practical is another thing, and once you start doing something with passage of time you tend to forget most of the stuff you have studied and get master into what you are doing on job

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  • Jan 27, 2014 - 11:47AM

    Being a student of Both leghari and nadeem, what made me laugh was that nadeem was able to plagiarize successfully and leghari took the risk of co-authoring with him. Nadeem is a good guy but not an academic

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  • UYK
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:49AM

    A misleading headline by ET shame on you as Mr Javed Leghari is one of those person who have introduced plagiarism policy in Pakistan before that everything was copy paste.ET stop spreading such news from a proud SZABISTIAN….Recommend

  • Ad
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:56AM

    I have a US degree from one of the best US university that is in their Top 20 rankings, and funny thing is for working in my own home country of Pakistan I had to ‘Authenticate’ my degree for these people of HEC who took ages to give me letter that it is approved by their so called ‘standards’.

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  • mnm
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:57AM

    @Khurram Awan:
    I had a conversation with an IT consultant who works as a “senior manager” at Deloitte. For many years he was a software developer and he claimed to know all about development, but he had no idea what PHP was!

    It’s the same everywhere. Unless people have direct experience with something they won’t know anything about it.

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  • Bina Shah
    Jan 27, 2014 - 12:24PM

    I was a former faculty member at SZABIST when Dr. Laghari was Chancellor and together we spearheaded efforts to educate students about plagiarism and eradicate it from their work. Dr. Laghari was himself deeply committed to the anti-plagiarism cause. There is no possible way he has committed plagiarism or condoned it and his explanations that this was a magazine article, not a research or academic paper, and therefore doesn’t require referencing, are perfectly reasonable. It’s a shame that people are so ignorant of what plagiarism constitutes yet they are condemning Dr. Laghari for a crime he didn’t commit.

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  • Aysha M
    Jan 27, 2014 - 12:35PM

    This is the worst that can happen to a researcher. You can never say you didnt know, it was Dr. Leghari’s responsibility to know if his name was used. A 2004 publication, he had ample time to distance himself from that piece of work. It sounds like one off happening, Dr. Leghari should get benefit of the doubt

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  • Asad Khan
    Jan 27, 2014 - 12:37PM

    ET, you must re write the headline at least. It is very provocative and out of taste.

    regards,Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Jan 27, 2014 - 12:57PM

    Respect the educated please, or the world will laugh at us as is happening these days. Our electronic and print media needs to be cultured!

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  • basit
    Jan 27, 2014 - 1:18PM

    The point being missed here is not whether the hec policy was in place when he plagiarized. You don’t need a law to tell you not to plagiarize – the HEC policy may be applicable to punishment, which is a totally different matter. The issue is that a person is passing off as his own material that doesn’t belong to him. As the article states, he included this work on his CV and also presented it separately in 2005. What other proof does anyone need? AMagazine article or secondary school report or a PhD thesis, no matter what the work, you cannot copy 30 percent of the work and then claim that it was just an article – oops.

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  • A2Z
    Jan 27, 2014 - 1:47PM

    @Khurram Awan
    wow you rote learner, I am a graduate of reputed uni of Pakistan. Students don’t copy but do the proper research. During job people tend to remember only those things with which they deal on daily basis. They don’t need to remember the definitions from A to Z to prove themselves a good researcher.

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  • Fahim Akhtar
    Jan 27, 2014 - 1:56PM

    Story of the week .

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  • LUMINITE
    Jan 27, 2014 - 2:22PM

    @Bitter Reality:
    I’m Pakistani and I didn’t. Plus this isn’t about some college assignment which undergrads are doing just to get through the BSc, this man is a PHD and the head of our HEC.

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  • Naval Vaswani
    Jan 27, 2014 - 2:26PM

    The headline is judgmental…The report from the committee can not be a taken as Final Decission or Judgement “. This should have been checked and researched before making this news as MARKETING Gimic.. We should learn How to respect the educated people.

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  • Masood Khan
    Jan 27, 2014 - 2:28PM

    @Bina Shah:
    What about this:
    “However, the research paper also figures in his curriculum vitae, still available on HEC website”.
    Morale of the story: keep a partner along to get the blame when needed be.

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  • Sher Ghazi
    Jan 27, 2014 - 2:41PM

    Suicide Blast on research Work.Recommend

  • Umar Javed
    Jan 27, 2014 - 2:53PM

    What a misleading headline and a self-contradicting article. Rightly pointed out by Dr. Laghari himself that the author has been victimised by the fake degree holders themselves.
    Shame on the editors.

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  • Bina Shah
    Jan 27, 2014 - 3:10PM

    @Masood Khan: The report says it was “featured” in his resume but it didn’t say how it was mentioned. Did he name himself as co-author or contributor of research? The newspaper reporting here has got some holes in it.

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  • Jan 27, 2014 - 4:17PM

    Anyone involved in research knows that is utter crap and non-sense. You need a better evidence to prove that it was indeed plagiarized. From my experience even 40-50% similarity is possible. Using automated tools like Turnitin to objectively find plagiarism similarity is totally different than subjectively evaluating the same. It is a clear case of victimization.Recommend

  • V
    Jan 27, 2014 - 5:19PM

    “No credit was received for this article as I became a full tenured professor in a major US university, SUNY, in 1992, while this article is 2004.”

    If anybody can make any sense of this I would be grateful.

    “It was published in a non HEC recognized journal, and it was printed 3 years before HEC even introduced a policy on plagiarism.”

    This is an extremely poor argument. Considering how you have virtually no integrity as an academic and the demands of intellectual honesty mean nothing to you, unless of course they are backed by threat of official sanction, I think you deserve to be reappointed to manage the racket that is HEC. Recommend

  • Jan 27, 2014 - 5:46PM

    I totally agree with you V above. His line of defense is extremely poor. But it must be a comment written in haste. I am still willing to give him cushion for that. I guess if someone can share turnitin report or at least link to paper of Dr. Laghari, we can easily review Similarity report ourselves and make a better conclusion. No point in speculating and judging

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  • iram
    Jan 27, 2014 - 6:20PM

    Go to Rozee.pk and see jobs are avaiblble to write thesis for UK and USA students but we always look down upon our people

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  • Jan 27, 2014 - 6:59PM

    Personally I like Dr. Javed lughari because during his period of chairmanship many politicians were not allowed to take part in general elections and some were jailed because of fake degrees.The investigation was done by the HEC.Due to this PML_N govt. does not want him as chairman of HEC again.

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  • SZ
    Jan 27, 2014 - 7:14PM

    After reading this news item first question comes in my mind why did not Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan resigned from being head of such a prob. committee investigation of which he now believes as an exercise of conspiracy against Dr. Lagari… and if his investigation is right he should be saying it straight to Dr. Lagari (to publicaly pardon from nation for doing such act) rather saving his face in front of an old crony via giving such dual statements.

    May Allah bless Pakistan from these dual faced educationalists who are exploiting their student or juniors by publishing their work with out giving them due credit…Recommend

  • Sandip
    Jan 27, 2014 - 7:27PM

    In a country where a person, who has literally stolen designs of atomic bomb making process, received the bomb designs from certain “friendly” countries and traded bomb designs for missile technology with another country, is feted as a hero, does anything like plagiarism even amount to dishonesty?Recommend

  • imran ali
    Jan 27, 2014 - 7:32PM

    the achievement of Musharraf …HEC….is being destroyed by the politiciansRecommend

  • Nida Alvi
    Jan 27, 2014 - 7:50PM

    I am disillusioned as to how Dr Leghari is defending himself.
    1. “It was published in a non HEC recognized journal”
    Isn’t it a selective implementation of justice? Isn’t it tantamount to someone cheating with non-muslims because islam emphatically prohibits cheating with muslims?
    2. “it was printed 3years before HEC even introduced a policy on plagiarism”
    Does it mean that plagiarism was kosher prior to 2007? The dictionary meaning of plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.
    3. If the co-author had used Dr Leghari’s name without his permission why did the educationist Dr Leghari not raise this issue back then in 2002? Why didn’t he write any Disclaimer?
    4. His role at HEC has also not been above board when the verifications process from Sindh University was hushed up despite the fact that many people knew that Faryal Talpur was holding a fake degree.
    5. He violated the municipal/cantonment laws and established SZABIST University in a bungalow, causing massive inconvenience for the neighborhood. The bungalow-based university has reportedly encroached the entire lane in Clifton and the residents are now looking towards Dr Arif Alvi to stand up and lead protest against illegal encroachments.Recommend

  • Zia Memon
    Jan 27, 2014 - 9:17PM

    It was expected as Dr. Laghari’s sin is not forgivable. He is the culprit who exposed all fake leaders with fake degrees for the sake of better future of Pakistan and its people. Its sad story that what people did with their own fate:(

    A country where Raymond Davis and Shah Rukh Jatoi can buy justice; why can’t Dr. Laghari? Simple, because he missed the train. Had he minted money, he could have bought all critics:)

    As Mahmood said long ago:
    Na baap bara na bhaya, the main thing is that kai bhaya SAB SAI BARA RUPEYA!Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ahmed
    Jan 27, 2014 - 9:35PM

    I bet 80% of PhDs and academicians are fake and plagiarized in KP universities, its about time somebody takes notice of that as well. Recommend

  • Iftekhar
    Jan 27, 2014 - 11:14PM

    @Dr Javaid Laghari:
    Well Dr. Leghari, I have met you in office and have sent you a detailed email about Mr. Nadeem activities then in 2000/2001. Let see if u recall it or not. the faculty you have chosen then at szabist was that rotten whose head was that Mr, Nadeem. so as a chaploosy (i know the english word but this is more suitable) he added your name and you never tried to check it bcoz sub chalta hai. Anyway hats off to you and mister nadeem. And Mister Nadeem has also filled szabist with persons of his own likings and friendship rather than merit.Recommend

  • UYK
    Jan 28, 2014 - 1:04AM

    @Nida Alvi

    This Bungalow based university always remain among the top business schools of Pakistan whether its Ata Ur Rehman’s tenure or any other.Secondly which university/college/school is not in the residential/industrial area whether it’s IOBM (CBM) in industrial area next to “Nalla” or City/ Beconhouse Schooling system branches which are located in the residential areas across Pakistan.Before Javed Sahab there was no plagiarism policy in Pakistan after which almost majority of the PHD’s of even universities like KPK,KU and PU had plagiarized thesis.HEC allows 20% plagiarism in thesis but SZABIST is the only university which allows only 10% else u get straight F and this was once introduced him.

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  • Iftekhar
    Jan 28, 2014 - 1:15AM

    @Bina Shah:
    But Ms. Bina Shah, there is a culture in our institute that every researcher or fellow has to add the name of his superior one without failing. So it was conveninet of Dr. Leghari to turn a blind eye to the article obut they say he has added it to his own CV. So read Dr Leghair statment again. Firt he says he provided the data, n mister nadeem used it then he says mister nadeem has sent an email that article was solely written by him. Ok fine why he has added that to his own CV when he has no contribution in that. And way back in those days 2000/2001 i had made it clear to Dr Leghari about Mister Nadeem ways of working. but it is surely the thing being dusted up to block Dr Leghari from HEC. so better he go back to SZABIST or as he was supposed to join 90 sponsored uni in the name of MQM founder father. HEC might need a new head and new style of working. Atleast wasteful Karachi office may get some sense.

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  • Malik
    Jan 28, 2014 - 1:24AM

    Dear Dr. Javed Laghari Sb, We are with you. Dont worry. HEC criteria for plagiarism is out of merit already. We trust you. Go ahead

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  • Noman
    Jan 28, 2014 - 3:53AM

    Block Google :)

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  • Bina Shah
    Jan 28, 2014 - 10:16AM

    @Nida Alvi: IF you think Dr. Laghari established SZABIST then I feel sorry for your ignorance.

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  • Bina Shah
    Jan 28, 2014 - 10:19AM

    @Iftekhar: This whole news “report” is so poorly written that I wouldn’t rely on anything written in it, including the quotes from Dr. Laghari. Trust me when I tell you that I worked closely with Dr. Laghari on the SZABIST plagiarism policy and this is an attempt to frame him. That’s allI have to say on the subject. I might write a blog post about it, though.

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  • ahmed
    Jan 28, 2014 - 12:09PM

    @sandip please don’t tell me that india reinvented the wheel. trolls!!!

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  • Qazi Muhammad Adnan Hye
    Jan 28, 2014 - 2:40PM

    Dear Dr. Javed Laghari Sb, We are with you. Dont worry. HEC criteria for plagiarism is out of merit already. We trust you. Go ahead

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  • reader
    Jan 28, 2014 - 3:26PM

    i find it ridiculous that it is being emphasized upon that the act was committed before the anti-plagiarism legislation – and so it doesn’t matter! plagiarism is still plagiarism! and no matter when committed it is ridiculous that a former HEC chair committed it.

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  • UYK
    Jan 28, 2014 - 3:42PM

    @Iftekhar:
    Who will come?You want someone with a fake degree as our HEC chairman and who will allow fake degree.Compare any student of SZABIST with anyone from Punjab University or University of Peshwar and feel the difference.Recommend

  • Gurion
    Jan 28, 2014 - 4:30PM

    I don’t see the big surprise here. The greatest original intellectual works to come out of Pakistan are the water car kit and djinn energy harvesting. Former supported by leading Pakistani nuclear scientist and the latter proposed by a key scientist of Pak nuke program.
    One violates the laws of thermodynamics and the other insults intelligence (and common-sense).Recommend

  • sasi bacha
    Jan 28, 2014 - 7:57PM

    The paper is not linked with Dr.legahri directly.A researcher usually is worried about the methodology and what ever he writes. it clearly seems to be propaganda, or their is something which is to dilute the excellent career and fame of Dr leghari and the system of higher education in Pakistan.He cant do that being a professional and a man of caliber this is not his work.Secondly, its very clear , if written before the policy even came to enforce, then why some factors doing such to play with the chairman of HEC? Do some people wants to make the Higher Education System guilty? its not the matter of individual,it a matter of system to link it with Dr.Leghari. Recommend

  • Riz Qureshi
    Jan 28, 2014 - 9:59PM

    The Truth needs to be dug out & must be brought to the limelight.The news calls for a genuine inquiry into the matter by a complete impartial committee and not including the people like Dr. Iqrar who being the head of the committee (as the report says) on one hand validates the 30 % Plagiarism and on the others hand seems defending the Dr.Laghari Sb.

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  • Prof.
    Jan 28, 2014 - 10:12PM

    Journalism at its worst form

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  • Jan 28, 2014 - 11:30PM

    What the heck is wrong with Express Tribune. How could they publish any news without researching on the said and utmost important matter. I’ve tried to find the the article but the exercise proved to be futile.

    According to Mr. Laghari it was published in Magazine not in the Journal, then I must say its very pathetic piece of news from Tribune. Its matter of National Pride. Tribune is accusing the person who took very good initiatives for the higher education in the country.

    I wish and hope he is not one of THEM!Recommend

  • Jan 29, 2014 - 1:43PM

    The headline, “Laghari found “guilty” ” is non-representative of the news itself

    The news itself quotes the head of the HEC Committee, Dr Iqrar Ahmed, VC of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, a respected and leading academic from a top ranked Pakistani University listed among the top 250 in Asia, as a “conspiracy” against Laghari, and that the case should not have been entertained under the current HEC policy, which only entertains papers published after 2007. No one is denying that 30% of the work was pasted from elsewhere, however, the main author M Nadeem holds himself fully responsible by writing, “Dr. Javaid Laghari had no role or contribution in the technical part of the report, who only helped me in collecting election data for Pakistan, and I had included his name in the paper just for acknowledgement”. He also writes the paper in the first person (I, my) and acknowledges me in third person (he), which the news does not mention.

    The report was published, without my knowledge, in 2004, in a non recognized journal. I became a full tenured professor of engineering in the US in 1992, full 12 years before this paper was published. Any academic with common sense would know I have nothing to gain from a non recognized publication, and also had no major contribution in the paper, a fact mentioned by the main author himself. However, the reporter by being both the judge and the jury has clearly played into the hands of the fake degree holders who have started a media campaign against me to tarnish my image and credibility.

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  • Prof. david S. Ferrow
    Jan 29, 2014 - 5:10PM

    @ Javed Leghari

    The headline is misleading and not representative of the news itself. clearly, it is not a case of plagiarism because it is not a journal paper, but is a magazine article where references are usually not given. Plus It was published in a non HEC recognized journal.

    It just proves you wrong. This is such a disgrace and a result of your non-merit political apointment in a prestigious institute like HEC.Recommend

  • May 3, 2014 - 2:42PM

    Crime is crime, he practically founded guilty but he is luckily saved!

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