Appointment of Fuuast acting VC challenged in SHC
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By Ishaq Tanoli | 10/6/2015 12:00:00 AM
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court restrained on Monday the syndicate of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast) from taking any decision about the appointment of its acting vice chancellor.

Engineer Farhan Ahmed Bughio challenged the re-appointment of Prof Sulaiman D. Muhammad on the grounds of his alleged fake PhD degree and that he was re-appointed by the president after his removal from service on plagiarism charges.

The petitioner submitted that Prof Muhammad claimed to have acquired a PhD degree in Economics from the University of Karachi in May 2010 and currently he held the post of acting vice chancellor of Fuuast.The respondent was appointed associate professor in BPS-20 by the Fuuast management, which in an unprecedented move promoted him as professor in the BPS-21 within six months and later he was appointed head of the faculty of business administration, commerce and economics for three years in December 2010, he said.

The petitioner further argued that there was a specified criteria prescribed for the appointment of assistant professors and professors, which included having requisite teaching experience, research work and its publication at educationalinstitutes and in journals, both recognised by the Higher Education Commission.

He contended that since the appointment of the respondent several complaints had been filed by educationists against the out-of-turn promotion of ProfMuhammad besides the serious allegations of plagiarism.

The Fuuast management, he argued, forwarded the suspected plagiarism material to the HEC`s quality assurance agency, which deals with the issues of plagiarism, and the report of the automated test, Tarnitin, also confirmed the allegations of plagiarism against the respondent, whose supervisor in PhD had also complained against him to the president.

He contended that a 10-member committee of the Fuuast syndicate, which was constituted to investigate the matter, had served a show-cause notice on the respondent but he did not answer to it.

The petitioner mentioned that a committee comprising two experts Dr Ather Maqsood Ahmed, head of the department of economics at NUST, and Dr Eatzaz Ahmed, professor of economicsat the Quaid-i-Azam University also filed their reports confirming that the PhD degree was based on plagiarism and that the research work was published in a substandard journal.

In the wake of the investigation, the varsity syndicate committee on April 10 unanimously passed an order, imposing penalty of removal from service of the respondent.

He argued that the order had attained finality as the same was not challenged during the 30-day period of appeal with the senate.

He further argued that there were flaws even in the academic degrees possessed by the respondent, as the father`s name and the date of birth did not match in his secondary education certificate, his old ID card, the passport and the CNIC.

The petitioner said that despite his doubtful PhD research work and imposi-tion of the major penalty on determination of plagiarism charges, the president, being chancellor of Fuuast, appointed Prof Muhammad as acting VC, which he alleged was totally illegal and contrary to the 2002 universities ordinance as well as the relevant statutes and rules.

He asked the court to declare Prof Muhammad ineligible for the post of acting vice chancellor and set aside his appointment besides restraining him from exercising powers of acting VC.

The bench issued notices to the varsity`s acting VC, the director of the Higher Education Commission`s quality assurance agency and the Fuuast registrar to file their comments by Oct 14.

The court also restrained the Fuuast syndicate from taking any decision regarding the appointment of Prof Muhammad at its meeting scheduled for Oct 6.