PESHAWAR: A student of the Institute of Management Sciences (IMS), Peshawar moved the high court on Saturday after he and another student were rusticated for sharing pictures of food contaminated with an insect served in the university’s cafeteria.
Ateeb Ali, a third-year student at the IMS, filed a writ petition in the Peshawar High Court against the university’s decision to suspend him. The university rusticated the students for posting what it claimed were “baseless and defamatory images” on social media.
“I only re-shared the post already posted by a student of BS Economics, named Shahzad Haider Khan, about a bug that found in the food served at the IMS cafeteria,” Ali told The Express Tribune. “For this, they first issued me a show-cause notice.”
The notice dated May 22 read that on May 12, Shahzad Haider Khan went to the varsity cafeteria with some friends and bought food. He had complaints about the ingredients being used in the preparation.
“You [Ali] posted baseless defamatory remarks against the institute on the social media,” the show-cause notice stated. “These false accusations have not only lowered the reputation of the institution but have also caused incitement and provocation among other students.”
The university further maintained that Ali’s “irresponsible” act of putting the post online and “irresponsible use of social media” had misled hundreds of people about the institute’s image and asked him to respond to the show-cause notice.
“I responded and cleared the situation that I just re-shared the post about the unhygienic food served in the university cafeteria and despite offering an apology, I have been rusticated,” Ali said.
Ali, in his reply, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, stated that he had only re-shared the post without “any intention to defame the institute but in good faith”.
He added that he was not the only one to share the original post by Khan – Peshawar deputy commissioner’s official page, a page called Peshawar Food Diaries and more than 127 Facebook users had also done so.
Ali’s reply to the show-cause notice. PHOTO: EXPRESS
Ali also submitted a screenshot of Khan’s original post along with his reply and wrote that he had not committed any misconduct and also apologised to the administration.
However, Ali was issued a rustication letter on June 19.
According to the letter, the varsity’s investigation committee reached the conclusion that Ali not only shared the “defamatory post” but also “committed gross misconduct by writing highly objectionable remarks against the institute and its officials on social media”.
The letter stated that Ali’s action were an “act of indiscipline”. He was rusticated, fined Rs10,000 and asked to submit a written apology along with an undertaking to stay away from any kind of misconduct in the future if he rejoins the varsity.
Ali said he had filed a writ petition against the university’s decision in the high court seeking to be reinstated because classes resumed on July 3 and his precious academic time was being wasted.
The Express Tribune contacted Khan, who is out of the country, on Facebook and he has confirmed that he too was rusticated. Khan added that he would pursue legal action once he returned.
Multiple attempts were made to contact the IMS administration for a response but it could not be reached.