Eye-opening report unearths drug abuse, exploitation at Islamia University of Bahawalpur

Published July 23, 2023
A campus of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur. — Photo courtesy university’s Facebook page
A campus of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur. — Photo courtesy university’s Facebook page

LAHORE / BAHAWALPUR: Police on Saturday arrested another official of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) on drug charges, a day after the varsity’s chief of security was detained for allegedly possessing crystal meth and ‘objectionable’ videos and images of IUB students and staff members.

On the other hand, a special report by police claimed that a “group of teachers” at the university was involved in the sale of drugs and sexual exploitation of female students and teachers.

City Circle police detained the IUB transport in-charge and allegedly recovered 8 grams of meth from his possession, said an FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn. Police have registered a case under Section 9(2)1 of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act 1997 and started an investigation.

On June 28, Baghdad-ul-Jadid police arrested the IUB treasurer at a picket and claimed to have recovered meth and aphrodisiacs from him. A case was registered against him.

Another varsity official held for drug possession; multiple bodies formed to probe allegations

In a similar vein, police detained the university’s security chief on Friday and recovered sexually explicit content from his phone, as well as several aphrodisiac pills and drugs from his possession.

Sexual exploitation of students

In a special report, police claimed that the two officials held on drug charges were also involved in blackmail and sexual exploitation of students and teachers in the varsity.

The report claimed the treasurer “confessed that he along with a group of other teachers would purchase and distribute drugs through students and arrange dance/sex parties”.

The police revealed that the “group of teachers” would exploit/blackmail girls and implicate them using drugs (ice, liquor, and charas [hashish]) and he was carrying out these activities with the help of the IUB security in-charge.

The police intercepted the security chief at a picket at Baghdadul Jadid Morr and recovered 10 grams of ice and five aphrodisiac pills from his pocket and registered a case under Section 9(2)1 of the Control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997.

The report stated that the suspect disclosed that some teachers were involved with him in the “buying, selling, sharing and using these drugs” and they would also organise ‘indecent’ parties in and outside the campus with students and female staff.

After an analysis of his mobile phone, the investigating team also tracked some students for “supplying and buying drugs”. The investigation revealed that 11 students enrolled in the university had criminal records and were involved in drug peddling. The investigation report also contained screenshots of “objectionable pictures of the women and communication regarding the sale and purchase of drugs”.

‘Attempt to defame IUB’

The police action against the university officials prompted Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Athar Mehboob to write a letter to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar, requesting the IG to constitute a high-level inquiry team to investigate the arrests.

“IUB is following zero tolerance policy for the use of contraband drugs as well as sexual harassment or exploitation,” the letter said, adding that the cases against the officials were ‘bogus’.

In another letter to the IGP, the IUB legal adviser asked the police chief to revamp the investigating team. He said one individual was a witness in both FIRs registered at the Baghdadul Jadid police station, Bahawalpur, maintaining that the said official was allegedly involved in narcotics cases and was on a judicial remand.

He also asked the Lahore High Court chief justice to order a judicial inquiry because the proceedings were against the university.

Probe panels formed

Meanwhile, the south Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) secretary has constituted a committee to probe the case registered against the chief security officer for “carrying/using the contraband substance” and purported recovery of objectionable material from his cell phone. The secretary has sought the report within three days.

The committee is led by Director Public Instruction (Colleges), south Punjab, Dr Fareed Shareef, and other members include IUB Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof Dr Muhammad Amjad, IUB Institute of Physics Director Prof Dr Saeed Buzdar, IUB additional Registrar Bilal Arshad, and any other member (co-opted by the committee).

The committee was directed to conduct a comprehensive inquiry and examine all relevant evidence, including any available digital or physical evidence, testimonies, and other pertinent information.

Separately, IUB VC Athar Mehbob also constituted two inquiry committees to probe cases registered against the treasurer and chief security officers of the university. Both probe committees led by Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Chairman Prof Dr Rao Saeed Ahmad.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2023

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