Dr Nazir Hussain, an Associate Professor at Quaid-i-Azam University whose PhD degree is being investigated in an enquiry, was appointed as Director of its School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) in the Syndicate meeting on 1st March for a period of three years.
According to reliable sources, during discussion on the meeting agenda for Director SPIR’s appointment, the Registrar failed to inform the Syndicate members that an enquiry was under way to investigate allegations about Dr. Nazir’s dubious PhD qualification and irregular appointment as Associate Professor.
The Registrar, Dr Shafiq-ur-Rahman, has himself been under investigations on various charges of corruption and mal-administration, and the Syndicate is in the process of deciding his fate on the basis of the findings of a high-powered enquiry.
Meanwhile, the Syndicate meeting continues and its second session will take place on Monday. And, for being Chairman of the university’s top statutory body, Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, Dr Javed Ashraf, is under pressure from concerned faculty members to rescind the controversial Syndicate decision in the next round.
SPIR has produced countless alumni who are serving on prestigious positions in Pakistan and abroad, including ministers (Interior and Law), ambassadors (India and China), federal secretaries and police officers, senior journalists and civil society activists.
SPIR remained a Department of International Relations till 2010, having globally renowned faculty members – 11 of whom had PhDs from foreign universities such as Columbia, Denver and Pennsylvania. Today, its plight is such that the PhD degree of the Chair, now called Director, is under the microscope for investigation.
Dr Nasrullah Mirza, In-Charge Department of Defense and Strategic Studies (DSS), had requested the Vice Chancellor to initiate this investigation last November and sent two reminders for the purpose in subsequent months. Last week, Dr Javed Ashraf agreed to appoint an enquiry committee consisting of three QAU faculty members.
In his request for enquiry, In-Charge DSS has pointed out that Dr. Nazir’s “appointment as Associate Professor is based on a fraudulent claim of PhD, which has not been validated till today due to non-existence of official record verifying his admission, compliance of formal PhD procedures and access to his PhD thesis at BahauddinZakariya University (BZU).”
His letter requesting an enquiry further states that despite the fact that Dr. Nazir’s PhD thesis was declared sub-standard by foreign referees in August 2009, he has been illegally holding the position of Associate Professor at SIPR. Since then, he has been concealing his PhD thesis, which is neither available in the Library and Controller Office at BZU nor at HEC’s National Repository of PhD Dissertations. The foreign referees’ reports rejecting his candidature for Associate Professor at DSS are also missing from QAU’s Establishment Section.”
It is pertinent to mention here that in the second last meeting of the Syndicate held in September 2015, Dr Nazir’s promotion to the position of Professor was rejected on the basis of a previous enquiry conducted by Mr Wajid Rana, former member Selection Board and member Federal Public Service Commission, which had found glaring instances of irregularities in appointment procedures.
Even his appointment as Acting Director in late January involved a major irregularity, as the incumbent director of SPIR was leaving for fellowship in USA till mid-February. Rather than handing over the management of SPIR to Dean Social Sciences Faculty for the interim period of four weeks, as per standard procedure in this case, Dr Nazir was hurriedly appointed on this position.
Now, in view of the Syndicate’s controversial decision, the members of the SPIR faculty and alumni are worried about the fate of students and researchers under a Director with doubtful academic credentials.
There are also concerns about the lack of impartiality in the enquiry process, which does not include any neural investigator from outside the university faculty such as members of the Syndicate or Selection Board.