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October 6, 2015

SHC stays removal of FUUAST’s acting VC


October 6, 2015

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday restrained the Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology’s (FUUAST) Senate committee from implementing the Syndicate’s decision, seeking removal of its acting vice chancellor, till further orders.
The interim order came on a petition filed by Engr Farhan Ahmed who sought removal of Dr Prof Suleman D Mohammad from service, on charges of committing plagiarism.
The petitioner submitted, the acting vice chancellor was appointed in disregard of the FUUAST Ordinance, 2002. He submitted that Dr Muhammad claimed to have acquired a PhD in Economics from the University of Karachi on May 5, 2010 and was already designated the duties of acting vice chancellor.
He said the respondent was appointed as associate professor in BPS-20 by the FUUAST’s management, which six months later, gave an unprecedented promotion to the profession in grade -21. He was then appointed as Dean of Faculty of Business Administration, Commerce and Economics for a period of three years on December 14, 2010.
The petitioner maintained a specified criterion was to be followed while appointing assistant professors and professors, including those who had a significant experience in teaching, research work and their publications in reputable journals, recognized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Ahmed submitted that since Dr Muhammad’s appointment, several complaints regarding his out of turn promotion had been filed by the varsity’s faculty, specifically over plagiarism.
The petitioner further submitted that the respondent’s research was sent to the HEC’s Quality Assurance Agency which corroborated the charges of plagiarism. His PhD research supervisor was also claimed to have filed a complaint over the matter against him with the university’s chancellor, the President.
The court was informed that a 10-member committee of the FUUAST’s Syndicate, constituted to probe into the matter, had

served show-cause notices to the respondent, but he did not respond to any single one of them.
He further maintained, the committee comprising two experts - head of the department of economics at NUST Dr Ather Maqsood Ahmed and Dr Aitzaz Ahmed professor of economics at the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) – also filed in their reports that the respondent had confirmed the PhD degrees were based on plagiarism and that the research work was published in a journal of low repute.
He submitted that in wake of the investigation, the varsity’s Syndicate committee on April 20 recommended terminating the respondent’s services. The order, according to the officials, had attained finality since it was not challenged by anybody within a period of 30 days. The petitioner’s counsel Haseeb Jamali submitted the respondent was appointed as acting VC in violation of the laws and recommendations of the Syndicate committee. He alleged that Dr Muhammad was conniving with authorities to undo the decision of the Syndicate and appoint a three-member committee which would instead judge the 10-member committee who called for his removal from service.
He submitted that if no restraining order was issued over the Syndicate’s decision, then the varsity’s Senate committee would undo the Syndicate’s decision.
SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, issued notices to FUUAST, deputy attorney general, acting VC and others for October 6; in the meantime the court ordered the Senate to not take any action over the decision.

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