Women activists’ harassment : PTI to seek NADRA’s help to identify culprits

Party constitutes committee to probe matter; victims asked to submit complaints

Danish Hussain April 26, 2016
PTI's Sunday gathering was marred by incidents of alleged sexual harassment of women by male members. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will seek National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA)’s help for identification of people involved in harassment and molestation of women at the party’s F-9 Park rally.

A four-member committee – formed on Tuesday on the directives of PTI chief Imran Khan to investigate the matter – has also asked the victims of sexual harassment to submit their written complaints to the committee.

Committee is headed by PTI Information Secretary Naeemul Haq and comprises Nafeesa Khattak, Col (retd) Younus Ali Raza and Talat Naqvi.

“Party activists and media will be requested to submit all available video evidence to the committee, so that it could be submitted to the NADRA for prompt identification of people involved,” said Khattak.

First formal meeting of the committee will be held today (Wednesday).

NADRA has facial recognition software that is primarily used for identification of miscreants and people involved in crimes.

“It will not be limited to identification of accused and their expulsion from the party but the committee will also suggest registration of police cases against the perpetrators,” Khattak said. She said the party would take measures to prevent such acts in the future.

The committee has been directed to furnish its report in seven days.

Khattak said it was yet to be established whether the people involved were PTI activists or “outsiders” came to the event to create unrest and to give bad name to the party “that enjoys popular support of women”.

She said the committee would also interview party volunteers tasked with security and management of the rally.

On Sunday, when Imran Khan was addressing the gathering held to mark 20th foundation day of the party, a stampede-like situation was witnessed after men activists forced their way into a women’s section by breaching a security cordon.

After breaking into the women’s enclosure, the activists were found fondling, groping and sexually harassing women. The situation forced the PTI security volunteers to evacuate women activists through an emergency gate before formal culmination of the event.

“Complaints and video evidence will be probed thoroughly to reach conclusion,” she added.

Khattak said she would request Imran Khan to announce that party’s women activists should not attend upcoming rallies until finalisation of committee’s report.

Committee, she said, would also recommend future course of action in terms of security arrangements for women in PTI rallies.

Uzma Kardar, a PTI activist, told The Express Tribune that she, along with other women workers, sent written complaint about the incident to Khan.

“PTI enjoys a culture of respect for women at every level. Even Imran Khan’s own sisters attend the rallies and sit among the crowd,” Kardar said, adding party’s chief had been requested to ensure arrangements so that women activists could feel secure in future while attending rallies.

She also criticized Islamabad administration for not providing sufficient security for F-9 rally.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th,  2016.



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