QAU ignores harassment law, orders probe under old rules

Updated 02 Jul 2014


- File Photo
- File Photo

ISLAMABAD: A Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) student, who levelled allegations of sexual harassment against a senior teacher in her department, has asked that the accused man be removed from his post until the inquiry into his conduct reaches a decision.

Also read: Sexual harassment allegations rock Quaid-i-Azam University again

The university’s administration has also decided to initiate the inquiry against the accused teacher under the Efficiency and Discipline (E&D) Rules 1973, rather than the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010, the QAU vice chancellor told Dawn on Tuesday.

A three-member committee has been formed to probe the case. Chaired by Professor Gul Majeed of the Pharmacy Department, it includes Prof Kashif Sabeh from the Physics faculty and Prof Rahat Naseem of the Environmental Sciences faculty. Prof Naseem is the only woman on the committee.

In the application submitted to the Vice Chancellor’s office on Tuesday, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the alleged victim maintains that the accused should not be allowed to continue working as the head of the QAU School of Management Sciences because he could then pressure witnesses who are currently working on probation and can be dismissed on his instructions.

“No staff members or students can dare to speak against the in-charge as long as he is head of the School of Management Sciences,” the application states.

Copies of the application have been sent to President Mamnoon Hussain, in his capacity as chancellor of QAU; the state minister for Education and Professional Training; the federal ombudsman and other key officials.

Prof Gul Majeed, who is heading the committee to probe the harassment charges, told Dawn he found out he had been named committee head when he saw the notification on Tuesday.

“I will meet with the other members and then we’ll decide how to deal with the issue,” he said. Prof Majeed admitted that it was possible for the accused teacher to exert pressure on witnesses from the School of Management Sciences.

“I will discuss that matter with the committee members we will take appropriate action,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, QAU VC Dr Etazaz Ahmad said, “If any member of the investigating committee feels that the suspect can use his influence to affect the investigation and should not continue working as department in-charge, the committee can remove him”.

Dr Etazaz also said that the investigation will proceed under the E&D Rules 1973 instead of the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2014