CM Kamal orders inquiry into UoB harassment scandal

Vows to punish the culprits involved in ‘unpardonable crime’

Mohammad Zafar October 16, 2019

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal on Tuesday took notice of the harassment scandal involving female students at the University of Balochistan (UoB) and termed the heinous act an unpardonable crime.

Expressing deep concern over the issue, the Balochistan CM said that harassment incident in the province’s biggest university has ruined the sanctity of the varsity. “Our government will not spare the culprits behind this heinous act which is an unpardonable crime,” the chief minister said.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has also commenced investigation against UoB’s surveillance branch following alleged harassment and blackmailing incidents. According to FIA sources, the additional CCTV cameras had been installed at hidden spots of the varsity to capture videos of students.

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Chief Minister Jam Kamal has pledged full cooperation with IG Police and FIA officials in the investigation of UoB’s harassment case and directed the authorities to arrest the culprits involved.

Earlier, Provincial Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Meer Zia Langove also expressed grief over the incident and pledged to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice. The minister directed free and fair investigation into the case.

“The University of Balochistan has been playing its role in the province’s prosperity through its quality education but these incidents have brought shame to the province,” Langove said and announced the constitution of a high-level inquiry committee over the incident.

Meanwhile, various student organisations staged demonstrations inside Balochistan University in protest over the harassment incident.

The students marched through the campus to mount pressure on the authorities to punish the culprits allegedly involved in the harassment of female and male students.

The case had come to light about a month ago when the Balochistan High Court (BHC) directed the FIA to investigate reports of students being harassed at the varsity.

The FIA, which has been probing the case for several weeks now, discovered that male and female students were being harassed through “objectionable” videos of them. These videos were recorded using at least six cameras that were secretly installed at various spots in the university’s Quetta campus, in addition to the already existing official CCTV cameras.

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Earlier, it was claimed that FIA cyber-crime branch has arrested the varsity’s security branch officer and surveillance in-charge for blackmailing students with immodest video content.

The accused were allegedly blackmailing female students and were subjecting them to harassment.

Balochistan government’s spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has promised stern action against the culprits involved in the scandal.

“The case is taken up by the Balochistan High Court and the FIA has been directed to probe the matter. The FIA is conducting the investigation and varsity’s administration is fully cooperating in this regard,” Shahwani had said.

The university administration, however, had denied the news of arrests of security branch officers and surveillance in-charge and called it a fabrication of facts. In a statement issued by a UoB spokesperson, it was stated that FIA had not arrested any staff member of the varsity. The statement also denied the recovery of video or any other material and assured that the administration was fully cooperating.

“Whoever is involved in the harassment scandal will face strict action,” asserted UoB spokesperson.

Balochistan government established a department for the protection of women after passing an act in 2016. The department facilitates women and addresses their issues.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2019.

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