FAISALABAD : The PhD thesis of a professor serving as chairman of agricultural entomology department at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad has been declared plagiarised by a body constituted by the vice-chancellor while the accused claims the charges had been declared ‘baseless’ in two earlier probes, one of these conducted by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
The committee comprising Prof Dr Anwarul Hassan of institute of soil and environmental sciences, Dr Zahid Ata of agronomy department and Dr Muhammad Rafiq of irrigation and drainage department had been constituted through a letter (CE/PA/1153) by the UAF vice chancellor to probe the plagiarism allegations regarding the thesis submitted by Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Jalal Arif (Regd No.83-AG-807) of agricultural entomology department.
The committee compared Dr Arif’s thesis with the already published MSc theses of Abid Hussain, Riaz Ahmad, Eshaq Ahmad, Muddassir Raza Khan and Muhammad Saleem in the light of allegations leveled by the complainant, Waseem Ahmad Khan.
The review comprised the comparison of tables/data of the PhD thesis with those of the five published MSc thesis along with comparison of dates, localities, habitat, species/genera and references.
The committee in its report mentioned: “The data given in 31 tables as identified by the complainant have been found exactly the same in the PhD thesis as those of the reported MSc thesis without referring the already published material.”
It said that in case of dates of data collection it was observed that the years had been changed (on pages 91, 94 & 97 and 100 & 102) while the days and months were the same.
The data collection localities with regard to most of the species were the same in PhD thesis as in the reported MSc theses, it said, adding that some of the localities which had been shown to be the new additions were found but the data was copied.
The committee said, “The title of the PhD thesis ‘Taxonomic studies of Syrphide (Diptera) of Pakistan’ does not qualify, as no data/tables are presented/collected from whole of the Sindh province, Federal area (Islamabad) and from Northern areas (Dir, Chitral and Gilgit). Even in case of the Punjab province, tables/data are presented for only 8 out of 25 localities mentioned in the PhD thesis.
In case of Balochistan province only 8 out of 12 (10 according to Map-1) claimed localities have been given in the PhD thesis.”
It mentioned that no scale was given in all the 34 figures presented in the PhD thesis. It also pointed out some “serious technical/statistical mistakes in the data presented in at least 18 tables (of the thesis),” adding that no clear objective, conclusions or recommendations were given in the PhD thesis.
Concluding the review, the committee observed, “The PhD thesis of Mr Jalal Arif is copied, plagiarized as evidenced by copying data of five MSc theses without their references. In addition to data copying plagiarism, dates of data collection, localities and species genera name have been changed or manipulated in a number of cases while the data is exactly the same, which is statistically and technically impossible.
In it concluding comments, the committee had not even mentioned Jalal Arif as a ‘Doctor’.
The report was submitted to the VC on July 14, 2004.
The accused, Dr Jalal Arif, who is also UAF spokesman claimed: “The issue was raised in 2004 when an anonymous complainant had filed a complaint. In this connection, an independent inquiry at university level was conducted by designating three senior professors of the university and after thorough discussion and using all professional procedures and practices it was found that the matter was totally baseless and resultantly the matter was filed by the competent authority.”
He said the matter was also probed by the Higher Education Commission on the same complaint through two independent inquires by two senior officials who found the allegations ‘baseless’.
Dr Arif claimed the HEC had declared that was not a case of plagiarisation and the allegation seemed to be based on grossly misconceived interpretation on the part of the complainant.
“The results of inquiries conducted by both offices i.e. university (UAF) and the HEC showed that subject matter was just a story to hit my name and reputation,” Dr Arif said.
However, he could not provide Dawn with any documentary evidence to substantiate his claim that he had been absolved by the HEC and the university despite repeated attempts by this reporter.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad was also approached but he did not respond to the text message.