(This article is a continuation of the article “Academic corruption in Pakistani varsities” published in Daily Times 21-11-16) Just a few days ago, Chairman Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) identified the issue of fake, engineered and purchased MPhil and PhD theses and reported it. He wrote a letter to Governor Punjab in this regard, and expressed his reservation and resentment regarding the competency and intellect of candidates holding MPhil and PhD degrees issued by various public and private universities. As an organisation, the PPSC is quite concerned about the standard of higher education in Pakistani universities and has raised many questions about it. It seems that as a nation, we Pakistanis could soon become as familiar with the rates of MPhil and PhD theses as we are with the rates of mangos and oranges. Such is the scale of their manufacture and sale. Apparently, MPhil and PhD theses are being sold at the rates of Rs 45,000 and Rs 150,000 respectively. Being an academic practitioner at university in Pakistan, I am sure this black business is being run by the corrupt Professor mafia that plagues Pakistani universities. These ‘professors’ lack professional integrity and are the product of the corrupt academic traditions prevailing in Pakistan. The quality of higher education in Pakistani varsities has become a widely discussed concern now. Our universities are no longer sacred places of learning, but commercial outlets which provide the service awarding degrees in exchange for a fee. Many of the ‘scholars’ in Pakistan’s education market who have MPhil and PhD degrees and occupy posts such as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor are only at these posts because of nepotism. Such corruption will be devastating for the future of Pakistan, which is why the PPSC has recorded an official protest with the Governor of Punjab. As a consequence of unnecessary emphasis on quantity, quality has suffered and an enabling environment has been created for pseudo scholars. This has allowed academic corruption to become a defining feature of Pakistani universities In Pakistan, public and private universities are imparting higher education in regular programs, distance learning programs and weekend programs. Higher Education Commission (HEC) banned 13 universities’ MPhil and PhD distance learning programs in March, 2018. In addition to this, HEC suspended the admissions for MPhil and PhD distance learning programs administered by 13 universities and directed them to stop further admissions in any of the distance learning programs. This action was taken over the universities’ failure to meet the various quality standards set by commission. While it is commendable that the HEC took this action, there is a further need to regulate or ban the regular and weekend MPhil and PhD programs of several universities who seem to be printing degrees on demand. As far as regular MPhil and PhD programs are concerned, most universities in Pakistan are not following the standard operating procedures set by the HEC. For instance, most departments in most Pakistani universities don’t have any or even the minimum number of HEC recognised supervisors, but they continue practicing the PhD business. Secondly, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the HEC is required to start MPhil and PhD programs. Most universities offering these degrees don’t bother getting the NOC. Thirdly, according to HEC regulations, PhD theses are required to be evaluated by two foreign experts. However, the corrupt professor mafia in Pakistan universities have developed their own ways to meet this challenge. They do not send PhD theses to experts in developed countries, choosing instead to send them to ’experts’ in underdeveloped countries. In addition to this, any negative comments by foreign experts are kept secret and ignored. Consequently, students are awarded PhD degrees after completing the formality of the viva exam executed by a very low profile local external examiner. Here I have a suggestion for the HEC, the commission should reserve the right of forwarding PhD dissertations to foreign experts and comments of foreign experts be required to be displayed on departmental notice boards the in university for a period of one week at least. These days’ Pakistani varsities are in a constant race. Great emphasis is put on quantity and output, but quality has suffered. As a consequence, an environment has been created where pseudo scholars can thrive. This has allowed academic corruption to become a defining feature of Pakistani universities. No doubt, the education sector has emerged as a billion-dollar enterprise over the last two decades, but that doesn’t mean our education system is up to the mark. The writer is lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Government College University Faisalabad. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, April 28th 2018.