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Sexual harassment allegations rock Quaid-i-Azam University again

Updated Jun 26, 2014 02:30pm


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ISLAMABAD: A sexual harassment scandal rocked the Quaid-i-Azam University on Wednesday, with the vice chancellor asking the Dean of Social Sciences Department Dr Aalia Hashmi to investigate the complaint of a girl student.

The complainant is doing MBA in the university and is in the fifth semester. In her complaint to the vice chancellor, she alleged that an assistant professor at the School of Management Sciences tried to molest her when she visited his office for rectifying a mistake in her marks sheet.

She escaped his advances but her dupatta was left behind in the struggle, according to her.

“She was told by the office staff to visit the teacher during the lunch break,” her class-fellow Shoaib Hasan said. “When she did on Tuesday, she was sexually harassed and ran out. The staff returned her dupatta later.”

However, the accused professor denied the charge and termed it a conspiracy against him.

Accused teacher, vice chancellor not convinced by MBA student’s claims

“I have been teaching for 30 years and no one has ever complained about me. If the inquiry finds me in the wrong, I will resign,” he said.

Vice Chancellor Dr Etazaz Ahmad sounded skeptical about the affair.

“It involves the issue of marks and is not a simple case. The girl belongs to a group that is already facing disciplinary proceedings. It can be a tactic to blackmail the assistant professor,” he said.

“If the in-charge was not helping her, she should have come to my office, like she did after the incident. Anyhow, I will be in a position to say something about it after the inquiry,” the vice chancellor said.

This is the second sexual harassment case to hit the QAU since January. Investigators had dismissed the last one for insufficient evidence.

In the latest case, the complainant claims her teacher Dr Naseer agreed that a mistake had occurred in her marks sheet and suggested she see the assitant professor for the rectification of the mistake because of which she failed the internal exam.

According to her complaint, available with Dawn, she was given 53 marks out of 75 in the internal examination of ‘Strategic Management’ but the marks sheet noted it as 47/75.

She got 24/75 marks in the final exam and the overall marks were declared as 71/150. Since at least 50 per cent marks are required to pass the exam, she said the six mark mistake kept her from passing the exam.

She said she had her original answer sheet of exam to prove the mistake and was suggested to meet the assistant professor to get it rectified.

But, she alleged, he deliberately delayed the issue as she was made to visit his office time and again. Each time the staff would tell her to come by noon “when he happens to be in good mood”.

“She actually obtained overall 77 marks and tried her best to get the mistake corrected that the office assistant, Imran, made by entering less marks than she had obtained in the mid-term exam. But the teacher used delaying tactics,” claimed Shoaib Hasan.

“He also refused to return the original answer sheet that she gave him as proof,” he added.

However, the accused vehemently denied the allegations, even hinting that some teachers might be behind it.

“I told the student that the concerned teacher is ‘all-in-all’ in the university and that being in-charge of the department I could not help her. I treated her just like my daughter but she was insisting that I should increase her marks, which was not possible for me,” he said.

QAU was the first educational institution to receive a complaint from a girl student in 2011 after the parliament passed the Protection of Women Against Harassment at Workplace Law in 2010.

Then, the university syndicate removed a senior staff member after holding an inquiry. But the punishment was set aside by the-then chancellor of the university, President Asif Ali Zardari.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2014


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Comments (71) Closed

suo moto action Jun 26, 2014 10:31am

"syndicate removed a senior staff member after holding an inquiry. But the punishment was set aside by the-then chancellor of the university, President Asif Ali Zardari"

this say it all

A A Khan Jun 26, 2014 11:24am

If guilty proved then examplary punishment must be given to him as well as his collaborators and supporters to set an example otherwise this practice will continue in our lawless province.

Mateen Jun 26, 2014 12:13pm

Our society is nowhere near where it needs to be when it comes to protecting women's rights. This case shouldn't be dropped and the girl should seek legal support.

Who knows, it might all be a Conspiracy to get a few free Points, given the situation but our country is a Place where men are used to the fact that they can get away with abusing women, so all in all, this case needs more attention.

syed hassan haseeb Jun 26, 2014 01:02pm


Khalid Jun 26, 2014 01:59pm

Conspiracy or not. This teacher should be fired immediately. The teacher should not be allowed to ask a girl to come to his office on her own. There should always be more people whenever a contact such as the one described is required. A second teacher of the oppsite sex must be present. For example, if a man teacher invites the girl for a meeting, a woman teacher must be present. Can we not even manage that in our universities?.

Waqar Khan-USA Jun 26, 2014 02:47pm

The girl is making up the story, she wanted the marks, but couldn't so instead she is trying to blame the teacher for wrong doing. I'm not sure any teacher would actually try to do such thing, esp if he is at work, and his office at at working hours. This is just a made up story. people think if a woman has raised her voice, it mean she is innocent, or the man is at fault.

Imran Latif Jun 26, 2014 02:59pm

I am also a university teacher. This looks to me a conspiracy against teacher. Students(male/female) visit the teachers office frequently alone or in the group. In my view no one either think that they attack a student in his office. It's totally a drama for marks.

Ahmer Jun 26, 2014 03:27pm

Sadly in all the comments so far, everyone has assumed that the professor is guilty and has completely exonerated the girl. The professor himself has said that in 30 years of his service no complaint has been made against him and he will resign if proven guilty. Also considering his 30 year service he must have some kind of "colorful" history. If he does, then he can be guilty but until the investigation is done, we shouldn't assume anything.

just_someone Jun 26, 2014 03:38pm

As someone who has taught at top state universities in the US, I can tell you that even here, the unwritten rule is that you keep your office door wide open when a student is with you, esp if it is a student of the opposite sex.

Khalid Jun 26, 2014 04:47pm

@Imran Latif Your coming to conclusion so quickly indicates your lack of understanding as to how men should behave with women. You are no exception. All Pakistani men are the same.

Aamna H. Fasihi Jun 26, 2014 04:50pm

@suo moto action Precisely.

Beasty Jun 26, 2014 04:51pm

Assistant professor after 30 YEARS of teaching???

Aamna H. Fasihi Jun 26, 2014 04:52pm

@Waqar Khan-USA Seems legit because as the VC says, the girl belongs to a group that's already facing disciplinary charges.

Mohammed Khanzada Jun 26, 2014 04:59pm

i think she is lying

Sunny Jun 26, 2014 05:00pm

Female student/staff member visiting male teacher alone can create problems. Presence of another student or staff member during such visits makes social, moral and ethical sense beside common sense.

Daaman Jun 26, 2014 05:20pm

I am not going to say he did sexually harass the girl, but I will say he did harass her by not marking the exam properly. My sister faced such harassment from teachers and invigilators in Karachi University. On exam day she had submitted her student ID card to the invigilator but 10 minutes later he comes and says he never got it (Obviously he hid it). He tried to tell her that it could be found if something jogged his memory. Of course he wasn't aware her brother was there, and indeed he did jog his memory and finally his sister was able to give the exam.

Muhammad Jun 26, 2014 05:25pm

it must be wrongly reported incident, how an educated person can be involved in such a "reported" incident ? even if its so it must not be proved as it involves an institution who's prestige is much more than the ideology; for which the state was founded by the sacred name of the university ? ? it must be some fanatic and Islamsist ? ? Hijab" and segregation is "fundamentalism" and "extremism" ? ?

Awan Jun 26, 2014 05:50pm

Install cameras in the rooms of the faculty members so that no one can blame anyone and the evidence will always be available.

SK Jun 26, 2014 06:11pm

This teacher should be removed from this position without any pay till the police investigation is completed. We need strict laws, tougher long term punishment and awareness against sexual harrasment. This menace should be controlled. Our sisters, daughers, wives and mothers face enough problems already. Do not add more to these problems.

Mustafa Jun 26, 2014 06:19pm

@A A Khan If Professor could not be proved guilty and the girl did all this to get passing points then the girl must be expelled from QAU such that she can't have admission in any other university. I wish there was a jail time for wrong accusations as well.

H L Jun 26, 2014 06:27pm

So many comments and everyone is judging. Wao, who gave us the right to judge another person? let the investigation complete and let the justice be done.It be student or teacher. And for future references, all teachers please keep your doors open regardless of gender.

sexolisa Jun 26, 2014 06:57pm

Our society is nowhere near where it needs to be when it comes to protecting women's rights. This case shouldn't be dropped and the girl should seek legal support.

Zona Khan Jun 26, 2014 07:51pm

Its was my wish to study in QUA but I don't think that I can continue wishing like this any more. After reading all the comments, I can say that some are taking this as a conspiracy against the teachers. But I want to say that these stories whether true or false are making me to move backward.

Kashif U Khan Jun 26, 2014 08:11pm

Incidents of sexual harassment and corruption are very common in universities, yet few are ever penalized, few years ago some VC's were also accused with similar charges but they were rewarded with transfers to other universities or retired honorably. This shows the degeneration of value system in our society in the absence of rule of law, perhaps time for vigilantes to deliver justice to the affected citizens.

Aziz Jun 26, 2014 08:15pm

omer khan shaheen Jun 26, 2014 08:39pm

A step in the right direction!

Zobia Khan Jun 26, 2014 08:49pm

@Mateen Why was she told to go to his office? This is a matter for the classroom and that is where it needs to be taken care of.

Rev. Eldrick Lal Jun 26, 2014 08:57pm

I am glad to know that the professor's advances were rebuffed. Such acts are not the efflorescence of university professors. Obviously, the professor will deny all allegations and charges eventually.

Fozia Jun 26, 2014 09:17pm

@Khalid Why should another female teacher always be present when a female student requests to meet a male teacher ? What century is Pakistan and the mentality of some men stuck in? The only time there should EVER be a chaperone is in a mecical clinic where a male doctor is carrying out an intimate examination of a female patient. If we agree with your proposal it is implying that Pakistani men can not be trusted to be alone with a female and also that Pakistani women have a default position of 'lying' ,hence a witness is always necessary. I am not comnenting on the merits of this case as that will hopefully be judged by a fair unbiased investigation.

Dr. Khalid Butt Jun 27, 2014 12:24am

All respects for the teacher. The girl is lying because she failed. Respect of teacher is above all.

Aam Admi Jun 27, 2014 12:37am

It seems that the incident inquiry has already been done in the posts below. Such is the maturity level of a certain segment of the Pakistani society.

Rebecca Jun 27, 2014 12:48am

Very shameful

salman Jun 27, 2014 01:02am

@Awan Another great point but unfortunately from where we would bring electricity. This govt or previous govt will never solve electricity issue because they will be getting caught left and right.

Masood Jun 27, 2014 01:09am

So the western malaise comes to Pakistan

Ayesha Jun 27, 2014 02:11am

If you read the article carefully, and try to look into the details it is quiet obvious that its a fabricated story. The female student failed the internal exams and met the professor to increase her marks. In such a heated discussion, chances of sexual harassment are extremely rare, but the odds for the student to be a liar are very high. Moreover, it is also the easiest way to defame a senior male, and get away with it.

Abbasi Jun 27, 2014 03:01am

Which era we are living the other countries are moving for prosperity and we are facing such idiotic news everyday. I.hope this will be the last such news from QAU.

Anwar Jun 27, 2014 03:20am

I went through many comments but none of those seem to analyze the situation from religious point of view. Regardless of who is guilty or not our religion doesn't allow two Non-Mahrams (opposite sex eligible to marry each other) a man and a woman to be alone, be if office or home.

I don't understand why Muslims don't understand that the success wouldn't come through following west rather by following the principles set by the Creator specially when the two, the West and Muslims have entirely different definitions of success?

Why Muslims look to democracy for the solution when they already have history as leaders for centuries?

n Jun 27, 2014 03:58am

@Waqar Khan-USA I Hve a very profound reply to this what u wrote brother ,but its too late will reply in the morning. This is Pakistan not USA

n Jun 27, 2014 04:00am

@just_someone true that!!

n Jun 27, 2014 04:01am

@Beasty haha i was thinking the same, n WHY did staff talk about his "good mood" if he was such a pious man?

Ali Jun 27, 2014 04:46am

@Khalid I think you are inspired by Saudi Arabia.

Nice Jun 27, 2014 05:13am

Dear All

Everybody must wait and see who is making drama ,your comments cant decide who is right and who is wrong , it must be investigated and justice should be bring in, one sentance i can add,,,,,,,,, WHY teachers gave more internal marks to girls beside boys think and reply,

Saad Zafar Jun 27, 2014 05:51am

Look at all the defensive people here defending the student just because she is a female. Read the story carefully and you can see how obvious her lies are .She tried to falsely allege her teacher of sexual harassment when she couldn't get extra marks to save her from failure.

Muhammad Jun 27, 2014 05:58am

@Mateen do some one expect any right, where a single gender is dominant ? why not to accept and enjoy rights given by the One who is above gender discrimination and can only do justice ? it definitely protects from a single gender domination and its uncontrolled animal instincts ?

Burkim Jun 27, 2014 10:26am

reading the words "chancellor of the university, President Asif Ali Zardari" .... reminds me of what the greatest of all ironies could really be!!

Dr. Haroon Farooq Jun 27, 2014 10:54am

Being an Assistant Professor myself at a leading University in Pakistan, plz let me share my opinion. This is the cancer of our society which needs to cut off asap. Such people (and yes there are numerous sex predators among teachers) bring shame to the teaching fraternity and have no respect for their profession.

However, there could be another side of the story. This is not very uncommon boys as well girls go to teachers to request for grace marks so that their grades could be improved. The girl may have failed in the subject and went in to ask for favor. But when the teacher denied, she panicked (may be due to the fear of her parents and this lack of support issue to children must also be addressed) and then to save herself from the wrath of her parents she staged this drama (I guess I have seen one such example). She would have not thought that this would get blown out of proportions and get published in media.

Advice to female students: Never go to see your teacher alone. Never allow him to close the door behind you. Never share your cell phone number with your teacher for absolutely no reason. Whether he is sitting or standing, you should remain standing to show a state of urgency.

Sara Haider Jun 27, 2014 11:14am

impossible k QAU k teacher asy hon

SHOAIB KAHUT Jun 27, 2014 11:40am

A National Committee to do inquiry of such issues in Educational Institutions should be formed.. Culprits should be punished irrespective of their Post ..To Blackmail Students for their Marks is a heinous Crime ..

Altaf Jun 27, 2014 12:41pm

If the inquiry finds me wrong, I will resign,

tnemeganam Jun 27, 2014 03:48pm

A full impartial inquiry must be conducted a retired judge of repute. Anyone found guilty should be dealt to the fullest extent of the law. Conducive environment is needed for the students and for the teachers.

Vince V James Jun 27, 2014 04:12pm

@Imran Latif

So, you have no doubt at all?

Khalid Jun 27, 2014 04:12pm

@Dr. Haroon Farooq You certainly have made your points very well. Everything you have said makes perfect sense.

Muhammed Ali Jun 27, 2014 07:31pm

Yes other excuse!!

haseeb Jun 27, 2014 08:16pm

@Waqar Khan-USA sir, she didnt want to increase the marks. she only wants to get correction in marks.

Sajid Hameed Jun 27, 2014 09:53pm

This seems a completely fake story. First, the girl student was in 'fifth' semester. Only those students are in fifth semester who fail a course in first four semesters and given a last chance in fifth semester. Again, some of these students are not competent enough to pass the course as they never studied diligently, so they make various excuses and other sorts of refuges to get them passed. The case of this girl seems typical. She failed earlier and was in extra semester. Perhaps her paper was too poor to be passed and she alleged on professor to gain symphathies. Look, in the story it again says "she visited his office for rectifying a mistake in her marks sheet". Which marksheet? When there is a problem in mark sheet you go to examination section and not to professor's room. It was her paper which she failed again. It happens all the time.

RAZA Jun 27, 2014 10:32pm

@Ayesha you are absolutely right. Most commenters are taking the story one sided.

Nadeem Chaudhry Jun 27, 2014 10:34pm

For the feudal lords , molestation,rape and sexual harassment is a non issue

zahid Jun 28, 2014 02:26am

@Sajid Hameed

This is MBA 3.5yrs means 7 semesters degree. He claims no complaint in 30 years but in past 3 years many complaints were lodged against him. Mam samar babar refused to grade final exam of banking in spring 2012 becoz he harrassed her dr amira lodged a complaint against him in fall 2012. Student Shahid abbas was abused by him. He complained in writing and many more. His psycho board should be held

muhibbewatan Jun 28, 2014 03:50am

Innocent until proved guilty. Even though this may be true, I still believe there is room for casting suspicion on the male Asst. Professor. Why would he refuse to return the original Exam. paper? Why was the dupatta returned later by the relevant staff? What prompted a spontaneous not-guilty verdict by the Vice-Chancellor? All these are pointers to a dubious administrative set-up at the University, I believe.The concept of workplace harassment, be it physical or mental, is very vague in the Pakistani society and, therefore, a great number of such cases are just 'brushed aside' as frivolous. Wake up Pakistan and Pakistanis, the world is changing!

Fazal Rahmat Jun 28, 2014 08:22am

The teacher must send home on administrative leave and a fair and unbiased administrative inquiry must be done immediately. A criminal investigation needs to be initiated as well because university administrating can not prosecute someone for a sexual harassment crime. Both parties have to be appear in court and prove their innocence. This must be taken seriously, to save QAU's reputation, and to protect innocent victims.

ak Jun 28, 2014 09:57am

The vice chancellor 's obvious bias before the inquiry is concluded shows what is wrong with the organization and how this internal "investigation" will go. Shame on him. He has demonstrated very poor judgement. Definitely not a person smart enough to be molding minds of future leaders. This is a criminal matter and internal inquiry is the wrong step.

Ajay vikram Singh Jun 28, 2014 10:21am

Girls of Pakistan and India must unite against this common issue of our sub-continent. You girls probably dont know, but you are the most oppressed females in all world. Stand up for your right. If you dont get it, snatch it.

Freeman Jun 28, 2014 01:12pm

I have many friends teaching in universities and will agree there is much more sexual harrassment happening in at least public sector universities I know, along with sexual bribe. This issue must be prperly investigated and eradicated from such an important institutes.

Freeman Jun 28, 2014 01:34pm

@muhibbewatan ya some teachers really sexually harrass girls but not with physical advancements, instead through blackmailng them for marks. Cant believe that a teacher tried to physically grab a girl in his office when a lot of people are walking arround.

Sachal Jun 28, 2014 01:35pm

A code of conduct should be implemented in all universities across the country to protect the female students against the sexual harassment.

haseeb Jun 28, 2014 01:39pm

@Sajid Hameed THIS is MBA 3.5 YEARS consist of 7 semesters and 5th semester is not extra semester.Her respective teacher was agreed that mistake has occurred and he wrote a note on the original paper sheet to make this correction.later on it was asked to write application in the name of HOD to make the correction.Instead of making correction or foreword the application to respective authorities HOD occupied her paper.

zahid Jun 28, 2014 08:03pm

@Nadeem Chaudhry

Anyone who complains becomes a'shooder' in this primitive society. Victim is more vicitimised by the society. Remmeber muzaffargarh incident, where no one gave justice to the girl which was gangraped. I m worried abt the girl belonging to kohistan HoD and having in mind kohistan video case, everyone should try to save the identity of the girl. Bytheway hod is still single and a sadist person. Agreed to your observation.

Khan Jun 28, 2014 08:58pm

Please put cameras everywhere and stop this kind of allegations and behavior.

Khan Jun 28, 2014 09:00pm

There should a powerful separate department for crimes and injustices committed against women and children.

Khan Jun 28, 2014 09:05pm

Ex President was connected to that found guilty teacher, so thats why he excused the punishment. What is wrong with this world?

Mehreen Rehman, Barrister & Solicitor Jun 28, 2014 09:45pm

We are living in a dangerous era when it is so easy to manipulate the system as well as laws. A professor was found guilty but remained unpunished as the honourable Mr. Vice Chancellor happened to be Mr. 10%. Don't know the truth but what guarantee that justice will be served this time. Teaching is a noble profession and teachers and students both should respect and not abuse it. If the girl has fabricated this story then she should be given an exemplery punishment and the same goes for the prof. Btw is it normal to be assistant professor even after 30 years service in Pakistan?