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Namesake cast wrongly as minister’s sister

Namesake cast wrongly as minister’s sister

LAHORE:How mistaken identities can lead to disastrous situations was once again brought to the fore when a certain lady from Rawlakot landed into a national controversy. Her fault? She happened to share her name with a minister’s sister.

It all began when the media flashed news of State Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul having dropped in a word of sifarish to get her sister a job as a director with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA). That sent some eager souls sniffing for more on the subject and the researchers must have felt a real high when they found this 12-year-old ‘gift’ in the archives.

Read: Posting of minister’s sister in Nacta draws flak

Dug up was a story about a case at the Punjab University from February 2007.

It involved Shabnum Gul who was disqualified from the PU’s Kashmiriyat department on plagiarism charges. Soon, much of the discussion on the subject of Ms Zartaj Gul using her influence to get her sister a job insinuated that the minister’s sister and the woman pulled up for plagiarism in 2007 were the same person. Unfortunately for all those excited by the twist in the story, however, this wasn’t true.

Investigations show that Ms Zartaj’s sister was never a student of Kashmiriat or any other subject at the Punjab University. She has been studying for a PhD in political science at the Lahore College for Women University.

Ms Shabnum Gul of Kashmir and the Punjab University has in the meanwhile been busy fighting her own grim battles. In 2008, she was able to get her name cleared of the charge of plagiarism after an inquiry ruled that she had been punished in a one-sided probe.

It was a PU inquiry board which annulled the earlier disqualification notification and restored her candidature besides allowing her to apply for action against the complainant. She decided not to exercise her right to report the fake complaint against her. She says she was convinced it was part of a plot to deny her due academic space despite her stellar record as a student.

Shabnum Gul from Kashmir got a job as the research associate at a university. After the passage of a decade Ms Gul returned to the Punjab University last year and got re-enrolled for her PhD in Kashmiriyat, She is currently doing her course work.

She told Dawn the social media trolls had made her life hell after she was confused with another woman from another college in Lahore dealing with allegations of another kind. “The stress has been just too much to bear,” she said, at having been suddenly thrust onto centre-stage, for the wrong reasons.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2019

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