A genius who taught for 16 years but got his degrees in the same year


KARACHI – Some professors in Pakistan are seemingly as crooked as parliamentarians of the country: there are massive inconsistencies in the academic qualifications of an associate professor associated with the University of Karachi (KU) since the past 16 years – the least of which is the issuance of his matriculation and masters degrees in the same year, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Dr Naseer Akhtar, currently employed as an associate professor in KU’s Department of Islamic Learning and Usul-ud-Din, was appointed to the varsity in the capacity of lecturer on February 7, 1995. He was promoted to the rank of assistant professor on June 4, 1995 and then to the rank of associate professor in 2004.
Most of the degrees submitted in 1995 were obtained from madressahs, with Akhtar’s Shahadat-ul-Alamia degree accepted equivalent to a Masters degree. This degree was obtained in 1978 from a Lahore-based madressah named Darul Hadees Al-Muhammadia.
Akhtar’s Shahadat-ul Aalia degree, considered equivalent of a matriculation certificate, was also obtained in 1978 – also from the same madressah. “How can somebody receive his masters degree and a matriculation certificate in the same year?” sources told Pakistan Today. “The degree presented as a matriculation certificate has no equivalence certificate. When you dig deeper, you’ll find more irregularities,” sources claimed.
“Akhtar’s appointment in KU was illegal in the first place; as per the university’s code, he cannot teach in the varsity since he does not possess a first-class masters degree,” sources said. “The Shahadat-ul Alamia qualification was only declared equal to a Masters degree in 1982 via a presidential ordinance; KU adopted the presidential ordinance in 1984 and backdated cases were not to be entertained,” sources explained.
Another irregularity in Akhtar’s qualification is that two different degrees from two different institutions in two different countries were obtained at the same time. Akhtar’s Shahadat-ul Sanviya qualification, a equivalent to an intermediate certificate, was obtained from Shahadat-ul Darrasah Sanviya, Saudi Arabia in 1980-1981. At the same time, Akhtar received a degree from Fazil Arabi Intermediate and Secondary Education, Lahore.
Akhtar submitted the Shahadat-ul Sanviya degree as a matriculation certificate for the service book in the university record, and used the same degree as an intermediate certificate for the Sindh Service Tribunal. However, he did not obtain an equivalence certificate of the qualification.
The story not ends here: Akhtar obtained a Wasiqa-e-Takkharuj certificate, a degree equivalent to a bachelors degree, in 1985 from Saudi Arabia. University records state the programme was a two-year degree, but the degree is a three-year programme across the world. “Due to the programme’s length, its certificate is declared equal to a BA (Hons), but Ahtar neither has a three-year degree nor an equivalence certificate,” sources said.
In sum, Akhtar’s current academic qualifications state that he completed his matriculation in 1978, intermediate during 1980-81, bachelors in 1985, and masters in 1978. To cover the gap in study and teaching, Akhtar allegedly submitted a fake work certificate from Abu Bakar Islamic University, dating his experience from July 22, 1986 to January 31, 1985.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC), through a letter dated August 8, 2005, declared however that the Abu Bakar Islamic University was un-affiliated. The University Grant Commission (UGC) also does not grant affiliation to this varsity.
Akhtar enrolled as a doctoral student in KU after getting an equivalence certificate for his Shahadat-ul-Alamia degree. He completed his research under the supervision of Prof Dr Jalaluddin Noori, former dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies, who has already been suspended by the varsity over fake degrees. Interestingly, KU has only ever awarded equivalence of the Shahadat-ul-Alamia degrees to two candidates – both of whom were employed by the varsity and both face charges of fake degrees.
Akhtar’s academic qualifications came under the scanner in 2004, when he appeared before a selection board in an interview for associate professor. On September 6, 2005, the university also declared him unfit for selection as professor due to his academic records, but why and who promoted him to the rank of associate professor remains open to conjecture.
When Pakistan Today approached KU Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi for comments on the matter, she said the matter had been presented in the last meeting of the KU syndicate. “A two-member committee has been formed to probe into the academic records of Dr Naseer Akhtar; Faculty of Arts Dean Dr Zafar Iqbal and Faculty of Science Dean Dr Darakhshan Haleem will probe the allegations. The committee who will present their recommendations in the syndicate’s next session,” she said.