LAHORE: The Punjab Ombudsperson has found a senior doctor guilty of harassing a lady health visitor (LHV) at a public hospital in Lahore and awarded him penalty of “removal from service”.

An LHV working at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Lahore, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsperson Punjab under the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2020, against Additional Principal Medical Officer (APMO) Dr Mehtab Ahmad, accusing him of sexual harassment at workplace.

The aggrieved lady alleged that the doctor had been harassing her for a considerable time and forcing her to develop illicit relations with him. She alleged that the suspect always looked at her with bad intentions. When he could not achieve his ulterior motives, she said, the doctor started defaming her with the medical superintendent by levelling allegations of adultery and illicit relations.

He also used abusive language against her as well as uploaded objectionable comments on WhatsApp group regarding relationship of the LHV with the hospital MS, she alleged.

A lady nurse also came up as witness and endorsed that the allegations levelled against the doctor were based on truth. She alleged that she lost her baby few days before delivery due to torture by the suspect.

The doctor instead of defending himself remained adamant to level filthy allegations against the complainant, which ipso facto was sufficient to prove the allegations.

Ombudperson Punjab Rukhsana Gillani after conducting detailed inquiry, keeping in view statements recorded on oath and cross-examination of the parties and the examination of the witness lady, found the doctor guilty of harassment and awarded him penalty of “removal from service”.

Ms Gillani remarked that only mentally and morally sick persons spoil workplace environment by misusing their authorities as the APMO did. “There should be no place for the harassers in any government organisation especially in educational institutions and hospitals as they do not only spoil workplace environment but they create such a fear of harassment in society where many ladies, who are single bread-earner of their families quit their jobs and majority of qualified ladies are not allowed to step out of their homes just due to this fear,” she said.

Ms Gillani said the Ombudsperson office’s mission was not only awarding harsh penalties but to teach society as how to behave at workplace as well as create harassment-free work environment, where women could perform their best without any fear of harassment.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2020