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Governor seeks report in a week

LAHORE, Nov 8: The Punjab governor has taken up a representation filed by Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran against the ombudsperson’s orders in the sexual harassment case.

The case was filed by PU Law College lecturer Khujista Rehan.

The governor has appointed Punjab Public Prosecution Department Secretary Nadeem Irshad Kayani as Hearing Officer on his behalf and asked him to report regarding the specific issues of the case after affording an opportunity of personal hearing to Prof Kamran and Khujista Rehan.

The governor has also asked the Hearing Officer to scrutinise the available statements and documents and report to him within seven days positively for his consideration.

He directed the officer to consider the report confidential and that it should not be shared with the parties to the case.

Complainant Ms Rehan told this reporter that the letter from the Governor’s Secretariat contained no written allegations for the purpose of her defence as accused. She said the Governor’s Secretariat had shown its prejudice by not sending written allegations.

As for the desire that the report should be considered confidential and should not be conveyed to the parties to the case, she said this very sentence defeated the provisions of rule of natural justice. She said it also violated fundamental rights of every citizen living in Pakistan.

“This means VC Dr Mujahid Kamran is invincible and whosoever will raise voice against him asking for justice, he/she shall be punished by the governor,” she lamented.

Ms Rehan said the ombudsperson had herself admitted that Dr Kamran was harassing her (Ms Rehan). After going through the whole case, she said the ombudsperson had established that Dr Kamran was manipulative, vindictive and creating hostile work environment for the complainant.

She said the ombudsperson in her order stated that the alleged acts of sexual harassment, indecent behaviour and acts unbecoming of an officer committed by Dr Kamran might be taken up under certain laws -- PPC 1860 as well as the Employees Efficiency and Disciplinary Rules.

Stating that she had stood up for all women who were facing sexual harassment at workplace, Ms Rehan requested Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to come to her rescue.

The PU spokesman, when contacted, said the matter was sub judice and he could not comment. He said the complainant was levelling baseless allegations against the vice chancellor who was tolerating it.

The spokesman said Dr Kamran had earlier filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court, challenging that the ombudsperson was not following the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010 properly.