Plagiarist or a real genius?


LAHORE – Yet another but interesting case of plagiarism has surfaced in Punjab University much to the surprise of the educational community. A PU professor who has little knowledge of Information Technology (IT) has done his PhD with the help of highly advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) technology. The tragedy is that even PU Vice Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran is aware of the fact that alleged plagiarist Safder Ali Sherazi does not have an IT background. Sources alleged PU Sherazi plagiarized his thesis “Urban Development and its Impact on Vegetation of Lahore” with the connivance of two government officials — one from Punjab Urban Unit — and another from the Environment Ministry.
Although HEC has done a lot to eradicate plagiarism from the public sector universities, its efforts leave a lot to be desired.
The new case has aroused a deep sense of resentment among the educational community against the VC for turning a blind eye to plagiarism. Sources said Sherazi adopted a unique style of plagiarism which could damage PU’s reputation all over the world. Sherazi, who is a faculty member of the PU Geography Department, admitted before the VC in writing that he did not have an information technology background, while replying to an enquiry about hacking into emails of his colleagues. Surprisingly the VC did not ask Sherazi how he managed to write his theses with the help of such advanced software as GIS and RIS. Sources said Sherazi has close association with his supervisor Dr Jamil Kazmi, former head of the Geography Department at Karachi University (KU), who has turned a deaf ear to allegations of plagiarism against Sherazi.
A PU professor disclosed to Pakistan Today that a former PU visiting professor also helped Sherazi with his theses. He said that Sherazi is also accused of copying from an Indian professor’s research article. The professor said the Higher Education Commission and the Punjab University should set up a committee to investigation the matter. He said hacking into the email account of Dr Farook, an attempt to steal the theses of his two colleagues, and his confession of tampering with a certificate to have the ‘Best Teacher Award’ credited to his name are ample proof of academic corruption by Dr Sherazi. Talking to Pakistan Today, Sherazi rebuffed allegations against him, saying his PhD topic had nothing to do with IT and that one can take help from anybody to do a thesis.