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Shame covers sleaze

February 09, 2012

Many connected with the university admit that "seedy affairs had been going on in the holy precincts" for some time. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Sex scandals have rocked the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) in recent months, with several faculty and staff members accused of preying upon the vulnerable female students or juniors.

Many connected with the university admit that "seedy affairs had been going on in the holy precincts" for some time. But they did not speak on record.

Acting president Sahabzada Sajidur Rehman of the university, however, confirmed that recently a professor and a librarian left the university after allegations of rape emerged against them.

"We did not approach the police to investigate the allegations as it would have brought bad name to the university and set parents of the 9,500 girls studying here worrying," he told Dawn on Thursday.

Sources in the university claimed that the professor of economics department used to offer his victims "good marks" in examinations in return for sex. He would even force himself upon the unwilling with threats of failing her.

It was shocking to hear the president of the University Staff Welfare Association, Chaudhry Mohammad Nazir, say "the situation is far worse than what you know".

IIUI sources said the professor's escapades came to an end after he landed his last victim on January 20, a Friday. The university asked the victim to file a formal complaint for initiating action against the accused but her family refused.

However, the students union took up her case and threatened the university administration it would go public with the evidence, the sources said.

It was claimed to be the same kind of evidence that had gone viral on the internet and forced the university's old librarian to resign a few months earlier.

That was despite the university administration's alleged attempt to make his victim - a female assistant - to resign on the charge that she was a willing partner. But she firmly refused and went on leave.

On her return, the administration assigned her to a new department, according to her colleagues.

It is not that families of the victims of coercive sex took their sufferings lying down. One father reported a senior faculty member to the Prime Minister's Secretariat which instructed the Islamabad police to investigate.

When the investigators arrived to probe, however, the university officials pleaded with them to hush up the matter as "the accused has already been punished" and a probe would only tarnish the image of the university and scare the parents.

It is a different matter that for the librarian the punishment meant retiring six months before it was due, and for the professor resigning on his own and securing a new job in the National Agriculture Research Centre, allegedly with the help of friends in the bureaucracy.

khawar.ghumman@gmail.com