LAHORE: An English language professor at Government MAO College died by apparent suicide on Saturday amid a case in which he was accused of harassment.
Reportedly, Professor Afzal Mehmood, took his life after his wife separated from him and the college administration refused to issue a clearance certificate to him even after harassment allegations were proven false.
After conducting legal proceedings, the police handed over the body to the deceased family without conducting a postmortem. The professor allegedly consumed a toxic substance.
A handwritten note was found next to the body stating that the deceased decided to take his life and did not want interrogation into his death.
A day before his death, the professor had written a letter to his senior colleague, Dr Aaliyah Rehman, who was heading the committee that was investigating the harassment charges made by a female student against the professor.
In his letter to Dr Aaliyah, he complained that he had not been informed of the decision made by the committee in writing, even though he had been acquitted of the charge against him.
Afzal also expressed his grievance that the matter had tarnished his image.
Lecturer, Muhammad Afzal at Government MAO College Lahore has committed suicide, because of being falsely accused of sexual harassment. He came to this point, because of the extent to which his reputation had damaged amongst everyone and even his own wife refused to support him pic.twitter.com/AbwytcANlC
— Dr. Muneer Yousafzai (@DrMuneerHassan) October 19, 2019
He contended that he wanted written evidence, calling off all false accusations made against him. Alternatively, the inquiry should be revived so that other teachers are not threatened with false accusations in future.
According to Rehman, a student from the college’s Mass Communications Department initially complained that Prof Afzal used to stare at girls. “The student changed her statement during the inquiry and said that the professor used to deduct students’ marks because of low attendance.”
She revealed that after completing the inquiry, the student wrote in the report that Prof Afzal is innocent and false accusations were hurled against him. As a result, the report recommended a warning to be issued against the student.
Rehman maintained that she had already sent the letter to the principal three months ago. “In the next step, the principal had to issue a clearance letter to Prof Afzal, in which it should be written that he is innocent and the allegations levelled against him were false.”
MAO College Principal Farhan Ibadat responded that Prof Afzal never came to him, otherwise, he would have issued him the letter.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2019.