Islamabad - The COMSATS Institute of Technology and Higher Education Commission have formed committees to probe the alleged plagiarism charges against Acting Rector CIIT Prof. Dr Raheel Qamar, an official revealed on Saturday.

The official said that though determining the plagiarism charges against the researcher is the domain of HEC as it has the authority of verifying the reports and imposing the penalty, the CIIT has also formed a ‘controversial committee’ and asked it to submit its report within a week.

The COMSATS Acting Rector had been found involved in a plagiarised research work in a PhD research paper in which he was a co-author. The HEC software ‘Turnitin’ had found 65 per cent similarity of the index in the research paper.

The official said that the CIIT has formed a four-member committee in which two members have been taken from the institute while two from other universities. “Two members from the CIIT included Acting Registrar CIIT Dr Faheem A. Qureshi and Dean Faculty of Sciences (CIIT) Prof. Dr Arshad Saleem Bhatti,” the official said.

The official added that committee has been formed in conflict of interest as Dean Faculty of Sciences (CIIT) and Acting Registrar are not only part of the institute but as per Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are responsible to report to the acting rector of CIIT administratively.

According to the notification available with The Nation, Chairman Board of Governors (CIIT) Dr Junaid Zaidi has issued notification of the committee after the meeting of BOG.

The notification said: “Allegations of plagiarism against the acting rector COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) Prof. Dr Raheel Qamar made public by print and electronic media are damaging the reputation of the institute and the official concerned. In order to ascertain the veracity of the allegations, I as the chairman Board of Governors of CIIT, have decided to constitute the following committee”.

The committee comprises of Prof. Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCHS) University of Karachi, Prof Dr Arshad Saleem Bhatti, Dean Faculty of Sciences (CIIT) Islamabad, Prof Dr Zabita Khan Shinwari, Chairman Department of Biotechnology, Quaid-i-Azam (QAU) and Dr Fahim A Qureshi Acting Registrar CIIT Islamabad.

The notification said in order to probe the charges, please notify the above-mentioned committee and directed the committee to submit the report within one week (May 03, 2018).

Meanwhile, the HEC has also formed a four-member committee to inquire the plagiarism charges against acting rector COMSATS. The official said that the meeting of the HEC committee will take place in next month.

Acting Rector CIIT Raheel Qamar is also the member of HEC plagiarism committee who was probing the plagiarism allegations against HEC Executive Director (ED) Arshad Ali whose research paper was allegedly reported above 80 per cent plagiarised.

The official said that the HEC taking the notice of the issue had formed the committee and initiates its process soon for the verification of research reports. “However, it is a possibility that instead of awarding the punishment in committees, the top heads will table the proposal of amending the plagiarism policy,” said the official.

Spokesperson HEC Aayesha Ikram said that committee has been formed to probe the allegations however the time duration for the completion of the process could not be given.

President Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) Islamabad chapter Dr Shehzad Ashraf Chaudry  demanded that instead of controversial and undercover committees, fact-finding committees should be formed to probe such allegations.

He also said that rules of business must be same for all persons tried for plagiarism allegations.