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Peshawar University building.—File photo

PESHAWAR: A lawmaker told the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday that senior teachers of the University of Peshawar (UoP) were sexually harassing their girl students and asked the government to take strict against them.

MPA Nighat Orakzai of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), on a point of order, said that many parents had complained to the UoP vice-chancellor that senior teachers and heads of various departments were involved in sexual harassment of their female students.

She claimed that chairmen of the departments had been threatening their female students to make friendship with them so as to get good marks in the exams or face failure and supplementary examinations.

The parents are worried about future of their daughters and the government should take serious action against those teachers who are involved in such immoral acts, the MPA said and stressed that action was essential as otherwise parents would stop sending their daughters to universities. She said that it was the government’s responsibility to provide protection to the girl students.

The mover said that the vice chancellor had received written complaints, but the university administration was yet to initiate inquiry against the heads of various departments.

Governor Masood Kausar, who is also chancellor of the public sector universities, has also been informed about the matter.

The PML-Q MPA suggested that inquiry committee should be set up and head of the provincial woman commission should lead the committee.

Minister for Higher Education Qazi Mohammad Asad assured the House that his department would look into these complaints and the government would not show leniency in this regard.

The house, meanwhile, continued debate on the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao supporting the HEC devolution and both PML factions vehemently opposing it.

Leader of the Opposition Akram Khan Durrani said that the HEC had been ignoring priorities of smaller provinces.

He recalled that when he was chief minister he had offered free land and other incentives for the establishment of two universities in the province, but the HEC did not fulfill its commitments.

He said that the provincial government had provided land for engineering university in Mamo Khattki near Peshawar and law university in Nowshera district, but work on both projects could not be started. He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the ability to run its own HEC.

Mr Durrani said that people sitting in Islamabad did not understand problems and issues of the people living in far-flung areas like Chitral and Tank.

He called for setting up a commission for promotion of higher education with the consultation of the opposition and selecting qualified people for the institution.

He said that the HEC had received huge funds for research and higher education and asked the provincial government to seek details about their distribution.

Israrullah Khan Gandapur said that political parties had shown maturity and passed the 18th amendment, but some circles were trying to bring another amendment to protect the HEC in its current status.

Minister for Population Welfare Salim Khan said that a certain privileged class was opposing the HEC devolution. He said that of 10,000 HEC scholarships the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had received only 80 scholarships.

PML-N parliamentary leader Pir Sabir Shah, Javed Abbasi, Munawar Khan and Sattar Khan opposed the HEC devolution and said that the country needed centralised body for the promotion of higher education and research.