Offended: Entire QAU sexual harassment body resigns

The decision came after another committee was formed to probe same issue.


Riazul Haq July 29, 2013
Sources said the anthropology department teacher questioned the report findings and pointed out contradictions in the witnesses’ statements before the syndicate members in an in-person hearing. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


The three-member probe committee looking into cases of sexual harassment at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) has reportedly resigned after another body was formed to investigate the same case for which they had given their recommendations.


The committee comprised National Institute of Psychology Director Dr Anila Kamal, Chemistry Department Chairperson Dr Saqib Ali and Department of Biochemistry Professor Dr Wasim.

On July 18, a QAU syndicate meeting heard two cases of sexual harassment for which the committee had recommended both assistant professors, from departments of plant sciences and anthropology, be disqualified from service.

But the syndicate members found loopholes in the committee’s report and directed a revision of the investigation thus constituting another committee comprising two professors from the university and one from outside.

The decision did not sit well with members of the established body that has been dealing with such cases for three years and had sent two professors packing in 2011 over sexual harassment.

They submitted their resignations to the vice-chancellor.

“What is the purpose of a body when you disregard its recommendations and establish another to probe the same case,” said a member of the committee, adding that it was better to resign as there is no reason to stay in the committee now.

An official of the syndicate meeting, on the condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that it was important to address the inaccuracies of the report submitted by the probing body.

Sources said the anthropology department teacher questioned the report findings and pointed out contradictions in the witnesses’ statements before the syndicate members in an in-person hearing.

According to the Protection Against Harassment Of Women At The Workplace Act 2010, in case a complaint is made against one of the members of the inquiry committee, that member should be replaced by another for that particular case. “There is no any mention of constituting another probing body when one has given its proposals,” said one of the members who have resigned.

Supreme Court Justice Nasirul Mulk, a member of the syndicate committee, was quoted as saying during the meeting that “the new act has certain loopholes which, if reach the court, will be removed”.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.

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