The Institute of Business Management (IoBM) on Monday claimed to have terminated employment of an official in the security department for 'misbehaviour' after he informed a visiting faculty member that her attire was 'inappropriate', although there is no official dress code for members of faculty.
The incident first came to light when the faculty member shared her experience on social media.
Speaking to Dawn.com, the teacher said that she had been stopped at the university entrance by an official who misrepresented himself as the head of security.
She was informed that her attire was inappropriate for a visiting faculty member, and was asked to take it up with a member of the administration who often deals with students who are singled out for the same issue.
However, when she approached her head of department (HoD) regarding the matter, she was told that "this happens and one needs to wear knee-length shirts" ─ a diktat laid out in the students' dress code.
There is no corresponding guide for members of the faculty, according to Sartaj Hussain, the head of security at IoBM. "As such, there is no written dress code for teachers, but there is one for employees... But it is not enforced," he told Dawn.com.
He said it was possible the official thought she was a student — a sentiment echoed by the teacher's HoD when she was contacted for her assistance in the matter.
"I was flabbergasted," the affected faculty member explained. "She said perhaps they thought I was a student."
She was not told any action would be taken, however, until she turned to social media to recount her experience.
The next day, she said, the HoD called her and told her the university's president had asked for action to be taken regarding the incident.
She was told then that the HoD had contacted the human resources (HR) department and was working on the issue.
The employee in question was fired today for "misbehaving" with me, the teacher confirmed. The HR official communicating with her also apologised for the incident. "I'm satisfied with what they're doing," she said.
"They said 'You're young'," as a means of explaining why the incident occurred. "But that doesn't matter. Whether you're a student or teacher, they shouldn't stop people at the gate and do that, and they're going to think about that, how to change that," she said.
"Although I was comfortable in my clothing, I felt weird and upset after it was pointed out and couldn't concentrate on my lesson," she explained.
She added that there are no clauses in her professional contract about a dress code for faculty.
"I don't have an issue with dress codes. I understand dress codes, I understand formal [attire], I understand casual [attire]. The problem is that the dress code is incredibly sexist... because for boys, jeans and t-shirts are fine."
The head of security, Sartaj Hussain, while explaining the dress code, said that "each university and institution has its own code of conduct for students, for employees. We also have one."
"For female students, we ask that their uppers should be knee-length. It is in our rules and we ensure this... We do check the students," he said.
"The visiting faculty [member] looked like a student, and the security officer thought she is a student. Practically, he does not pass remarks on female students. They [security officials] ask them [female students] to hand over their ID card and point them to a female counsellor, who will tell them better what has happened," he said.
"He asked her for the card, and she told him she is a faculty member. He said, 'Okay, you may go. Please speak to your HoD'."
The correct procedure for addressing grievances is to approach the administration, Hussain said, adding that if the teacher had informed the administration of the official's misbehaviour, "the administration would have taken action. They do take notice of such things."
However, he admitted, he was not sure whether or not she had approached the administration.
He said that there was no formal dress code outline for teachers in their professional contracts. "Generally, it is understood that teachers are mature ... It it understood they are wise enough."
Hussain confirmed there had been an inquiry into the incident, where the employee was questioned. "On this basis, the person may be fired," he added.
When questioned about whether it was true that a disciplinary committee had warned students against dressing 'inaptly' because of threat from the Taliban according to a report on the Express Tribune, he replied: "No, not right now. In the past, we had received an anonymous email [from them] saying we are on the 'high agenda' etc. It was forwarded to the Federal Investigation Agency."