Karachi University (KU) confirmed on Monday that a senior visiting faculty member has been "found guilty" of sexual harassment in an inquiry.
The committee probing allegations of sexual harassment against Prof Sahar Ansari, a prominent literary figure, was set up by the university on the directives of the provincial ombudsman.
“We conducted a thorough investigation into the case and interviewed a number of people. At least seven persons, including a female teacher, recorded their statements against Prof Ansari. No witnesses spoke in his favour,” Prof Nasreen Aslam Shah, a senior KU teacher who is heading the inquiry body told Dawn.
The committee, which was formed three months ago, has suggested to the university administration not to invite or involve Prof Ansari in any kind of job or activity at the KU campus, she added.
Besides Prof Nasreen, the other members of the inquiry committee were Prof Jamil Hasan Kazmi, who currently heads the Karachi University Teachers’ Society and Mohammad Ashraf, the deputy registrar of academics.
According to sources, Prof Ansari is no longer associated with any academic work at the varsity and a divided opinion among the committee members prevented the body from recommending stricter action against him.
Prof Ansari was earlier cleared by another KU committee which investigated the case against him in 2016 when allegations of sexual harassment were raised by a senior female teacher of university's Pakistan Study Centre. The case was later brought to the notice of the provincial ombudsman who directed the university to investigate the case again.
Speaking to Dawn, Karachi Arts Council President Ahmed Shah said that the council had already taken notice of the matter and Prof Ansari wasn’t allowed to take oath as a governing body member after he got elected.
“The council will take a decision on his membership once the court decides the case,” he said in reply to a question, adding that the council received similar complaints against Prof Ansari from a few civil society organisations when the case was being investigated by KU.
“It has been 14 months since the council stopped maintaining any connections with Prof Ansari. We took action on a generally negative perception of him, though the court is yet to decide the case,” he said.
However, Dr Fatima Hasan representing the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu, which Prof Ansari often frequents, urged the media to refrain from mud-slinging and wait for the court’s verdict.
“Prof Ansari, in his 80s right now, has been teaching for a long time and has served at universities in Balochistan and Karachi. It’s very unfortunate that the media is involved in a malicious campaign to damage his image, though the court is yet to decide the case,” she said.