Pakistan: Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy fired from LUMS

MIT alum and preeminent physicist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy has been fired from LUMS (Lahore University of Management Sciences). Dr. Hoodbhoy's contract will not be renewed for the next term starting January2013.

Dr. Hoodbhoy's contract was buzzing news in the twitter community.

Dr. Hoodbhoy's Perspective

In LUMS he initiated a course titled “Science and the Contemporary World Order”. The course discussed the relationship between science and religion in our modern world. The reason for introducing this course was to bridge the gap between science and art students at LUMS.

Dr. Hoodbhoy believes that this course provided the ideological impetus to fire him from his job. In his letter to Mr. Adil Najam (Vice Chancellor LUMS), he writes:

“I have been left bewildered by the decision-making process under your watch, and the fact that during the meetings over the past year I was presented with an ever shifting set of reasons for why my contract would likely not be renewed.”

Hoodbhoy says that the reasons given for not renewing his contract are ‘illogical’. One of the reasons stated is that he gets a big salary! Another reasons states that Dr. Hoodbhoy is above 60 years and hence it's against LUMS policy to renew the contract. On this point, Hoodbhoy says that there are many professors at LUMS that are above 60.

Other reasons, as presented in the article, are either vague or open ended. He ends his letter with the following remark:

“It seems to me that while the reasons given for not having me at LUMS have been readily reinvented from time to time over this year, the outcome seems to have been decided quite early on.”

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy. Copyright: Wikipedia

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy. Image by Scularpakistan courtesy Wikipedia

LUMS’ Perspective

Mr. Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor LUMS, says that there was no hidden ideological motive behind this act. He makes a different point. Speaking to Express Tribune, he says:

“Dr Hoodbhoy is not being expelled, terminated or fired…. [He] was on a contract which ends in December”

He fails to give a logical reply to Pervez Hoodbhoy's letter. He goes on to admire Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy's contributions and says such decision are hard to make and ‘anyone can agree or disagree with the decision’.

Twitter Users’ Perspective

A majority of twitter users disagree with this decision:

@SarahMunir1: extremely saddened by the #LUMS vs #Hoodbhoy debate. regardless of right or wrong, its sad that sides need to be picked even in academics now.

@zubartorwall: Murder of critical thinking! On the prestigious campuses in Pakistan the lovers of Taliban teem in. #Hoodbhoy #LUMS#QAU

Salman Sikandar tweets:

@SALSIKandar@beenasarwar #Hoodbhoy is nothing but name of pride for any university and country. Shame on Pakistan and LUMS.

Syed Ali Raza Shah tweets:

@legelSubtleties#Hoodbhoy is the only local name that comes to mind after Dr. Salaam. Both great scientists troubled in this country they called own. #Sad

An online petition was signed by 1215 people who support that Dr. Hoodbhoy should be given an extension at LUMS.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy has taught Physics at Qauid-e-Azam University, Islamabad for 36 years. He is also a recipient of the UNESCO's Kalinga, American Physical Society's Joseph A. Burton Award, and Abdus Salam Award in Mathematics.

Saad Durrani comments:

I hope we keep him here in one of our universities, rather than getting him exported.


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