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Renowned Pakistani scientist faces harassment and threats

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Renowned Pakistani scientist in the field of halophytes, Prof. Dr. Bilquees Gul, has registered a complaint to the Women Development Department that she has been facing harassment, threats and a hostile environment at the workplace.

Dr Bilquees Gul is the current director of the Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization of the University of Karachi. On June 30, she referred to an email reporting several incidents of harassment, threats and character assassination that she had been experiencing for the last year and a half.

In the complaint she says, “I would like to register complaints of harassment and character assassination against Jawaid Akram, deputy director of the quality enhancement cell and Muhammad Akram, deputy registrar establishment. On top of that I am filing this complaint against them for making a hostile environment at the workplace”.

She further reveals that Jawaid Akram’s provisional admission letter that mentioned a transfer of his course work of the doctorate degree has been done through illegal means that go against the rules of the Karachi University. “In order to carry forward his research work he had to submit his synopsis, which I never received from him. Furthermore, he did not submit any progress report based on his ongoing research which had to be approved and duly signed by me”.

“Six months ago I requested an independent inquiry on the status of his testimonials which are still missing from his file submitted to Advance Studies and Research Board. The dean faculty of science was assigned the task to inquire about the case and prepare a report with my consultation. However, she proceeded to submit the report without discussing it with me. However, after the ASRB meeting I came to know that the report contained false information and data regarding Jawaid Akram’s admission”, she narrated.

She pointed out that the report prepared by the dean faculty of science mentions, “I have a personal grudge against Jawaid Akram which I would first and foremost clarify that the said statement is not true. He is a candidate of MPhil leading to Ph.D program of 2012-13, according to the documents provided by him”.

In September 2017, Jawaid Akram transferred his course work to our institute. He never submitted his synopsis through ASRB under my supervision. It is important to note that it was mandatory for him to get my approval before submitting his synopsis to the ASRB which never happened. His M.Phil leading to Ph.D admission expired in June 2020. “He came to my office at the end of November 2019 and asked about research work. I told him that his admission would expire in a few months and according to HEC rules he has to take fresh admission through proper channel again if he wants to continue his M.Phil studies”.

However, he was reluctant to secure new admission. “A few days after this conversation, he came to my office and coerced me to help him in the illegal process of getting a Ph.D degree”. I refused him straight away. He threatened me and said “I will get my degree at any cost”., she expressed.

“I have all the documents that prove his admission in Ph.D. program has been false and there must be some mistake or misunderstanding at the end of ASRB. As per his record, he never got enrolled under the supervision of any teacher and even without submitting his duly verified synopsis to ASRB”, she further added.

“Now on behalf of Jawaid Akram, the Deputy Registrar Establishment, Muhammad Akram has created several administrative issues and is continuously creating problems for me as well as other teachers. My salary as a professor is not fixed since 2011, despite having submitted an application and several reminders to the Registrar, University of Karachi to solve the problem. Since DRE is responsible to put up official note for approval by the authorities he was bound to do the same but he is not helping in this matter rather using delaying tactics for long”, she lamented.

Speaking about raising her daughter as a single mother, she said “I am facing severe financial problems to fulfill my responsibilities but my case is pending with the Muhammad Akram. In fact, he does not seem to be interested for resolving the above-mentioned issue. Now I have serious concerns regarding my security. My daughter and I feel threatened therefore, I urge all higher authorities to take possible strict action against both of the above-mentioned persons in different capacities with immediate effect”

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