A few weeks ago one of my dear old friends called me from Pakistan to introduce me to a wonderful Pakistani scientist and humanist named Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi. After giving me a brief introduction to this “brilliant” Pakistani scientist, my friend asked me if I would be willing to read and respond to this person’s poetry collection. Of course, I agreed to read this collection and also offered to publish an interview with Dr. AH in the next issue of Pakistaniaat, for showcasing accomplishments of Pakistanis is one major mission of Pakistaniaat. I must admit that Dr. AH’s credentials that my friend shared with me seemed astoundingly mind-boggling and impressive. According to him:
- Dr. AH is in his thirties and already has two Ph.Ds.
- Dr. AH was declared man of the year and was under consideration for Man of the Decade award.
- Dr. AH had singlehandedly made the most significant discovery in the field of “Tetragonal Theory of Multi-disciplinary Applied Research.”
- Dr. AH had been offered a Noble prize for his accomplishments, but he had refused it on moral grounds as the award was connected to the inventor of dynamite.
- Dr. AH has also been knighted by the Queen of England.
- And, he had just recently finished a book of philosophical poetry, which, incidentally, I had been requested to review.
Needless to say, while I was intrigued about this exceptional Pakistani, I was also, as a trained literary critic, slightly suspicious of this impressive resume. So naturally, like a good critic, I started my research. What follows is not only a critique of Dr. AH but rather a lesson in critical reading for all of us mortals but also the members of Pakistani and international media.
I started with a simple Google search with his name, which took me to what looks like an official website, and I cite some of the information gleaned from the website:
By profession he is a bio-formulations and magneto-agro-forestry consultant with a potential commercial dynamism. By composition and disposition he is an unusual eastern eclectic of rare combinations i.e. a brilliant scientist and a luminous philanthropist, a superb inventor and a revolutionary theorist, a forward-looking commercial food-tech advisor and a super-charged corporate communal consultant, an orientalistic philosopher and a dynamic innovatory thinker at the same time, rolled in one person.
Due to the distinctions of being pioneer and inventor of various scientific concepts, Prof.’s work has been accepted and honored globally. In recognition of his distinguished scientific and philanthropic contributions, Prof. hafi has been awarded the Supreme Knighthood. For the above meritorious works and accomplishments, his name has been inscribed in the Roll of Honor, in the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta. He is also a recepent of 11 regional and 9 international awards including UN Dag Hammarskjöld Intl. Award for Exceptional Merits & Research.
Major offers and noteworthy nominations, declined on certain patriotic basis, include lucrative post offers ranging from chief research officer-ship and faculty deanship to chancellorship of reputed institutions including Cambridge University, Oxford University, Edinburgh and Illinois Universities.
Distinctively depicted and featured in internationally reputed chronicles including “Who’s Who in the World” (2006, Marquis USA) and IBC, Cambridge’s “2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st century”
Notable philanthropic and patriotic declinations include £ 79 million offers to provide the original manuscripts of Magneto-Sectorial Model. [emph in red, mine].
The same website also provided a detailed CV with the professor’s credentials and accomplishments. Some of the claims about his research are cited below:
- Has developed MAGNETO-SECTORIAL MODEL for the first time in the entire history of the subject.
- Has established the methodology of Longitudinal Strategy for research in Magneto-hydrodynamics for the first time in scientific history.
- Has introduced the theory Magneto-Kinetics based upon two co-relational equations, previously unavailable in modern scientific literature, ever published.
- The world first researcher to foremostly conceptualize, execute and initialize the Tsunami Child Retardation risk assessment and management programs in the post catastrophic situation.
- Has authored over 335 scientific research papers in different subjects on various topics.
- Has supervised 27 doctoral and 2 post-doctoral thesis of researchers at various prestigious
- Universities around the globe.
- Has presented over 115 research papers in various conferences at national, regional and
- international levels.
So, I need to unpack this cited information before I delve deeper into this mystery. According to the official website, we have a brilliant scientist in his thrities, who has two doctorates, has developed a scientific model (Magneto-Sectorial Model) for which, let us not forget, he was offered “£ 79 million” but he refused the offer as he wanted to save this technology for Pakistan. His CV informs us, besides so many other things, that he has published “335 scientific research papers” in various journals. Let us first deal with the publications. As not a single peer-reviewed scientific journal is listed, one is not sure where and when these articles were published. Let us assume that the professor is thirty-five and that he started publishing when he was twenty, he would have needed to publish 22.3 scintific articles/ year to get to the magical number of 335. Furthermore, a detailed research in my library’s scientific databases did not provide a single article authored by the professor.
I then tried to find out what exactly does “Magneto-Sectoral Model” mean? A Google search of the term gave me no definition but did provide several links to, you guessed it right, the professor’s own website and other websites who had lauded the professor’s accomplishments. This brings me to the second part of my inquiry: How were the professor’s “accomplishments” reported, what were the sources, and who all covered the news of his “breakthrough” research? And this is where the story gets really interesting.
Following the Digital Trail
Listed below are some of the websites that have reported the professor’s accomplishments:
The News, January 4, 2011.
Express Tribune, Pakistan Jan 19, 2011
Dr Hafi had earned great honour for Pakistan by developing ‘Magneto-Agricultural Development Model and Sectorial Magnetic Model’ which would have an impact on the fields of agriculture, environmental and medical sciences, space biology, magnetobotanics, magnetohydrodynamics and multidisciplinary sciences.
Yahoo News, Jan 23, 2011.
The conspiracy theories behind the ‘anti-terrorism’ war have brought the ‘anti-terrorism campaign’ worst more worst, than the ‘terrorism’ itself, by any measure—clearly endorse and authenticate all well researched statistics and substantial documental records…One must should think of the ‘treatment’ that becomes more worst than the ‘disease’ itself !” the conclusive saying of Prof. Aurangzeb Hafi, congregated, and accumulatedly essayed by Dr. Dass U. The conclusive saying has been granted a massively gargantuan unanimity for being affirmed as the ‘Connotational Thematic Dictum-assertion of The Decade’.
- Scientist, Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi made us proud! | A Housewife’s Weblog.
- My voice Pakistan forum.
- Pakistan defense Forum.
- Desperately needed: Good news from Pakistan.
It seems that all of the blogs and news agencies listed above, and I have not included all, have reported the claims and assertions without paying any attention to either the sources or the substance of claims being made by the professor through his website. The story that has been repeated comes from PRWeb, a website that specializes in issuing press releases. Here is how they describe themselves:
PRWeb leads the industry in online news distribution and publicity. It takes the press release – formerly the expensive asset of large businesses – and makes it accessible to organizations of all sizes, as an inexpensive, hugely effective means of sharing news online, becoming more visible, attracting inbound media enquiries and winning new customers. PRWeb is a service of Vocus. (NASDAQ: VOCS)
This means that anyone can create an account, and then, probably after paying some fee, post a press release. The first press release was published on PRWeb on December 31, 2010: An Epic–Breakthrough in Applied Research, and you can read it there in full. An excerpt is provided below:
An Epic–Breakthrough ‘Tetragonal Theory of Multi-disciplinary Applied Research’ has been launched by an eminent scientist and researcher Prof. Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi who has already earned enormous laurels for Pakistan,through his significant undertakings.
The Tetragonal Theory of research takes into surview and purview the intrinsic as well as extrinsic connotations of descriptive , analytical and transcendental investigative measures in applied research. The theory addresses more appropriately adaptive as well as the oretical multidimensional spectrums in a holistic approach and opens new horizons for inquisitiveness.
The same story/ press release was then repeated by Yahoo. A second press release appeared on PRWeb on January 11, 2011: 10 Personalities Declared as Global Thematic Icons of the Decade 2001-2010, which was repeated by Yahoo News on Jan 23. The same story was also repeated by many a blogger and the professor was declared a Pakistani hero by the bloggers as well as their readers. It is sad that this person, or those associated with him, were able to play with the hopes and aspirations of many a Pakistani who desperately need and seek good news about Pakistan.
So, as a service to my Pakistani readers, I would like to conclude without a doubt that Professor AH is obviously not what he declares himself to be. I do not know his reasons for these false pretensions, but I do hope that he is not using it to hoodwink Pakistanis financially and emotionally, for, according to my friend, the professor is planning to create a think tank in Pakistan. I would happily revise my opinion if the professor or his associates could provide me factual proof of his academic accomplishments.
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