Javed Chaudhry is an Urdu columnist and television anchorperson. He has made a name for himself by selling multiple volumes of collections of his Urdu columns called Zero Point. He has a track record of practicing pseudo intellectualism on routine basis and praise people out of the proportion. The modus operandi of Mr. Chaudhry is to narrate stories which are not commonly known so he can distort them to make his point.
Last month, Javed Chaudhry along with many other so-called mainstream journalists and anchorpersons of Pakistan visited Quetta to attend an international media conference. During his visit to Quetta, Mr. Chaudhry also visited University of Balochistan (UoB) for a few hours and based on his observations penned down a column in an Urdu daily. In his column, Javed Chaudhry termed UoB as a world class university and narrated one-sided, unjustified, exaggerated and ignorant praise for Vice Chancellor (VC) of UoB, Professor Dr. Javed Iqbal.
This column is making rounds on social media and people who know the ground realities are ridiculing it. Therefore it’s necessary to rebut the fallacies of Javed Chaudhry with ground realities.
Javed Chaudhry has started his column by terming Dr. Javed Iqbal as a “case study of success” and urged federal government to use his services to rescue PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills. Dr. Javed Iqbal might be a competent person, and he has done some good work, but his performance as VC UoB is far from being termed as excellent. He can’t be given the credit of being the best VC in Balochistan let alone being a case study of success for entire Pakistan.
In his column, Mr. Chaudhry has over-exaggerated the security situation and portrayed it like a war torn African country. Although UoB had some security issues in the past but things were not as bad as Mr. Chaudhry claims them to be. He has even gone to the extent of presenting VC of University as a James Bond type character. He claims that VC carries a pistol with him all the time in university and a rifle is hidden under the office table of VC. These claims of writer are obviously wildly untrue because there is a huge contingent of guards to protect UoB and VC does not need to hide a rifle under his table all the time. For the sake of argument, if we consider the claim of rifle under the table to be true then it means that security situation is worse in UoB. It means that Mr. Chaudhry missed out this point before concocting the rifle story.
The column of Javed Chaudhry further mentions that all faculty members of UoB are very well qualified. He narrates that “Every other person that we shake hand with turns out to be a PhD from Oxford and Harvard University.” One can only laugh on this claim given its divorce from the reality. Quite a few faculty members of UoB have completed PhDs from relatively lesser known Universities of the world but I don’t think so that there is been a single Harvard or Oxford PhD scholar teaching in UoB presently. One can’t simply fathom that who were those so many Oxford and Harvard PhDs who shook hands with Mr. Chaudhry during his visit of UoB.
In this context it’s important to mention few of the mega failures of UoB which Mr. Chaudhry conveniently ignored. Recruitment in 25 departments of UoB is stuck for the last 18 months. UoB conducted tests for recruitment of lecturers in March 2015 and still the process has not been completed because of interference of political parties. UoB administration has failed to even execute the task of recruitment of lecturers.
Likewise, Academic Staff Association of UoB has hijacked the affairs of UoB for a very long and still incompetent people are serving as department heads. Honorable VC of Balochistan has failed to solve these broader problems of the university and so on. It was the same administration of UoB in charge when daughter of a provincial minister was appointed as a lecturer in violation of all rules. In short, despite a few marginal improvements, UoB is still home to a lot of problems and it's light years away from becoming an ideal University.
Javed Chaudhry was not the first columnist who wrote an exaggerated praise of a University in Balochistan. Earlier in 2015, Rasul Baksh Raees termed Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) as a world class university in is column. Mr. Raees, who is otherwise a respectable scholar, visited BUITEMS on invitation of its VC and penned down a Javed Chaudhry like column. Although there are some good things happening in BUITEMS but there is a basic flaw which can’t be ignored. Farooq Ahmed Bazai is serving as VC of the University for the last 10 years and ruling it like his empire. Mr. Raees had also ignored the ground reality and misled his readers based on his observation of few hours.
These examples prove that people like Javed Chaudhry make incorrect claims about Balochistan based on the superficial knowledge which they have about the province. The biggest disadvantage of this sort of pseudo-intellectualism is that a wide section of society outside of Balochistan, who already knows very less about Balochistan, end up developing false ideas and notions about the province.