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NAWABSHAH: The inquiry committee constituted by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to look into the sexual harassment and excesses alleged by a final-year student of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Nawabshah, on Monday vindicated the lecturer and vice chancellor nominated in her FIR.

Farzana Jamali had appeared before media personnel in Nawabshah and Hyderabad several times telling them that she and her family were extremely disturbed due to sexual harassment by the lecturer for months and abetment on the part of the VC. She also alleged that her father was implicated in a false case when he tried to intervene in the matter and seek the VC’s help.

Ms Jamali has filed an application in the district and sessions court which ordered an inquiry into the matter. She has also lodged an FIR against the two suspects.

CM Shah, in the meantime, constituted a four-member committee headed by former vice chancellor of the University of Sufism and Modern Sciences at Bhitshah Prof Dr Qadeer Rajput.

The committee, after recording statements of Ms Jamali and her father as well as the VC and lecturer, interviewed several classmates of Ms Jamali and faculty members of the university. It submitted its report to the CM on Monday.

“The case is not related to sexual harassment as no such evidence was found,” the report suggested. The report attributed Ms Jamali’s allegations to her reaction against strictness of the lecturer in making his students to observe regularity and punctuality.

It observed that Ms Jamali had remained absent for seven out of 15 days which appeared unacceptable to the lecturer, who was known in the university for his strictness.

The committee recommended that the VC was essentially required to play his due role in instantly resolving the issue so as to save the university’s image from getting damaged and help regain confidence of its students’ parents.

The committee also recommended setting up of a statutory body to actively look into such matters and resolve them. A counselling service for male and female students and employees should also be there to prevent occurrence of such incidents while the sexual harassment committee of the university should play an active role in this regard on a regular basis, the inquiry committee concluded.

It may be pertinent to mention here that Ms Jamali and her family on Saturday said they had lost trust in the inquiry committee of the chief minister after one of his ministers, Dr Azra Pechuho, publicly supported the VC and lecturer in the matter and termed the Jamalis’ complaint “a drama”.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018