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Intellectual dishonesty: Reema Omer’s fall from grace

Lawyer and analyst Reema Omer claimed that China’s “flexibility of institutions” allowed the country to have high growth whilst arguing that Pakistan should close down the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) if it wanted to emulate China’s growth.

“What you call corruption has happened there (in China),” Reema said on a TV show.

While many people including trolls accused Reema of being an apologist for corruption, Dr Yuen Yuen Ang herself responded to Reema politely on Twitter and told her that she had misunderstood her work.

After thanking Reema for quoting her book, Dr Ang wrote: “However, your summary “access money fueled growth” is misleading, so allow me to clarify My book clearly maintains that all corruption, like drugs, are harmful. Access money generates growth with distortions, risks, and inequality.”

Dr Ang tried to explain to Reema that she mentioned that access money generated “distortions, risks, and inequality” which could not be committed which is why she used the analogy of steriods in her book.

This could have been the end of the argument and Reema could’ve respected the author’s work she was quoting enough to allow her to explain her own work but instead, Reema claimed that trolls were mocking her and refused to apologise for misinterpreting Dr Ang’s work on Twitter as well as using the same discredited argument on Pakistani national television.

To escalate matters further, Khurram Husain, who had nothing to do with this argument weighed in while stating, “It would have been better if you had understood where @reema_omer was coming from before weighing in. She never said “corruption is good” as is being alleged. But prof, you should know that “access money” of the sort you talk about is central to how growth has been pumped..”

This was considered humorous by many Twitter users who were stunned at how someone else could try to explain Dr Ang her own work.

The condescending tone of Khurram Husain was criticised by many, but Dr Ang still politely responded: “I do not need to be lectured about what “I should know”.

This again could have been the end of it but Reema couldn’t let it go. It seemed that she couldn’t accept that she was wrong, and despite Dr Ang’s polite responses telling her that she had misquoted her work, Reema decided to take another dig at Dr Ang.

Unable to accept being on the losing side of the argument, Reema quoted an oped Dr Ang wrote in 2016. In a Twitter thread, Reema tried to justify her prior arguments again, even after she was proven wrong by the author whose work she was quoting but this did not stop her from trying to instigate Dr Ang again.

Dr Ang responded again, stating: “I do not know what you’re trying to imply with your rhetorical questions here, and I do not care But I will like to make clear what my research really says.”

Dr Ang also called out Reema for using an “outdated oped” to make her case while not mentioning her book at all.

Finally, Dr Ang stated that she would not argue further with Ms Omer, visibly tried from the attempts by Ms Omer to somehow prove that Dr Ang justified corruption.

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