After N-tangle, AQ in plagiarism row Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN 26 August 2009, 12:20am IST WASHINGTON: A Pakistani doctoral candidate in the United States has exposed a stark case of plagiarism by Pakistan’s nuclear luminary AQ Khan, much to the dismay of the controversial man’s hero-worshipping fans and the mirth of his critics. While Pakistan is still coming to grips with the re-assessment in India of that country’s founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah, there also appears to be an ongoing re-appraisal of Khan, widely known as the “father” of the country’s nuclear weapons. It seems that Khan, who is accused of basically stealing centrifuge designs from Europe to kickstart Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, cannot produce any original work, and that includes writing a simple op-ed article. A recent op-ed by Khan on the “Science of computers” in Islamabad’s the News from the Jang group contained copious passages plagiarized from university prospectus and school curricula freely available on the internet, writes Fahad Rafique Dogar, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University. Dogar has reproduced at least four such instances of plagiarism by Khan by citing the original texts in a letter to the editors, which has gone unchallenged by Pakistan’s nuclear “hero” and the newspaper. Khan began writing a regular newspaper column in November 2008 when he was released from house arrest after being nominally incarcerated by Pakistan’s military regime for proliferating nuclear weapons technology. Many of the columns, seen by critics as utterly banal and trite, are devoted to self-promotion and criticizing others, as Khan pontificates about the state of scientific research in Pakistan. But Khan’s own reputation has been in question in many scientific quarters (including in Pakistan) where it is believed that he is nothing more than a huckster who stole centrifuge designs from Urenco, a European company he worked for, while presenting himself as a “scientist”, when in fact, he is a metallurgist who has no original work to his credit. There are no pioneering scientific papers by Khan in his domain and he is seldom cited in any research. The latest instance of “intellectual theft” has stirred Pakistani passions in the cyberworld, where critics and supporters of the man have clashed. Khan’s supporters argued that Khan had credited an acolyte who had given him the material lifted from the curricula and therefore could not be accused of plagiarism.