Despite harassment findings, no action taken against Professor Sahar Ansari

At least six witnesses including male students came forward to verify sexual harassment claims


Mudaser Kazi January 30, 2018
Karachi University. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Three weeks after a senior faculty member of Karachi University was found guilty of sexual harassment cases, the university awaits implementation of recommendations forwarded by the inquiry committee.

The inquiry committee, headed by Chairperson Centre of Excellence Women’s studies at KU Professor Nasreen Aslam Shah, advised the vice chancellor to ban Professor Sahar Ansari's activities inside university premises. It recommended barring him from giving lectures and participating in seminars or conferences.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Professor Nasreen confirmed that Ansari had been found guilty before the committee and the recommendations for subsequent actions to be taken against him had been forwarded on January 9.

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“Those proven guilty in harassment cases must be taken to task in order to curb the future cases of harassment,” she added.

Professor Nasreen said Dr Ansari was unable to provide witnesses to prove his innocence while the applicant had at least six witnesses including male students, verifying her account. “Statements were recorded after thorough interviews of the eyewitnesses which clearly proved the claims of harassment,” she said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Professor Navin said recommendations by the committee are the final verdict as it came after thorough investigation. “A few people are mishandling the case by giving an impression that the case would further go to the provincial ombudsman for final verdict. This is wrong,” she clarified. “They want to create confusion and lessen the reduce the gravity of finding Professor Ansari guilty of harassment.”

Professor Navin said she would issue a statement to clear the confusion “created by the guilty party.”

Meanwhile, the President of the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, Ahmed Shah told The Express Tribune that the recent development will be discussed in the upcoming governing body meeting since he himself has no authority to revoke the basic membership of the renowned Urdu scholar.

“The governing body meeting, in the early months of 2017, disconnected him from the Arts Council and did not allow him to take oath as a member of the governing body after he was elected,” said Shah.

The Express Tribune also reached out to Dr Ansari who blamed the inquiry committee of character assassination which he would challenge in the court of law. “The first committee gave me a clean chit but what happened in between where the investigation proved me guilty,” he said. He added that it “clearly shows the malicious designs of an inquiry committee against him.”

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The inquiry began after Assistant Professor, at the Pakistan Study Centre at KU, Dr Navin G Haider filed a complaint filed to the VC on March 16, 2016. A committee was formed in May 2016 to investigate the complaint, giving Dr Ansari a clean chit.

Unhappy with the decision, Dr Navin then filed a complaint in the office of the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh – which rejected the committee report and directed the VC at KU to re-investigate the matter under the new law of Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010.

A three-member committee comprising of Professor Nasreen Aslam Shah, KU Deputy Registrar Ashraf Ali and Karachi University Teachers Society President Professor Jamil Hassan Kazmi was formed to re-investigate the case.

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