Following the tension sparked by an argument between a Khyber Medical College (KMC) student and a faculty member, the former demanded an end to discrimination against female students wearing a veil.
“I stand for all students who wear a veil. They should not be treated the way I was by Dr Raheem Bangash for wearing one,” said Misbah Syed about her alleged ordeal during a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday. Syed is a Canadian nationality holder currently enrolled as a first-year medical at KMC; she came to Pakistan to study medicine.
At the news conference, she accused faculty member Dr Raheem Bangash of physically assaulting her after a heated argument. The two had fought over Syed contesting college elections for the girl representative (GR) seat; Bangash had insisted that girls with visible faces also participate.
The student went on to claim she was the sole contender for the GR seat and was going to be elected unanimously. But, she alleged, Dr Bangash, a faculty member present in the classroom to oversee elections, said the person’s face should be visible as she would have to interact with teachers, the college principal, and should be easily identifiable.
Syed claimed they argued over the veil, but after she snatched Bangash’s microphone and tried to convince him about the importance of the covering, the faculty member lost his temper, slapped her and threw her out of the classroom.
“The episode lasted 25 minutes and I was crying. He slapped me and kicked me. Those who usually protect me, my brothers, were back home in Canada,” Syed said. She maintained she possessed video footage of the incident as well.
The 18-year-old said she has travelled widely, but has never been insulted in this manner.
On Friday, students affiliated with various religious parties began protesting on campus, but dispersed when K-P Minister for Information Shah Farman visited the college and ordered the formation of a committee to look into the issue.
According to some senior KMC faculty members, the committee has recorded statements of both sides and will submit its report in a day or two. Dr Bangash has been suspended and his entry into the college has been banned by KMC and Khyber College for Dentistry Chief Executive Inayat Shah Roghani.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2013.