Four female sanitary workers of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) have accused two officers of the Government Hostel, formerly the MNA Hostel, of sexual harassment.
The cleaners have submitted an application to the CDA chairman against the hostel caretaker and assistant caretaker, saying they had been ‘facing the situation’ for quite some time and were recently threatened of dire consequences if they did not submit to the ‘wishes’ of the caretakers.
They have also stated in their application that other female colleagues had also been targeted in the past but they did not speak up due to fear.
One of the complainants, who requested anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the accused officers are well-connected with the CDA’s labour union and hence the victims are afraid to go public with the issue.
She said the women workers had been humiliated and harassed by the officials for petty issues because they resisted them, adding that several women in the past had refused to work at the facility and moved to other departments.
Babar Awan, the hostel caretaker who has been accused of harassing the staffers, denied the charges and said it was a routine matter for low-grade staffers to accuse their seniors of such crimes.
“I do not directly interact with the female sanitary staff deputed at the facility. Sanitary supervisors and maids usually deal with them,” Awan said. He further said that recently the complainants managed to change their cadres, which was illegal. Fearing possible action against this illegal change, they accused me of the crime, he explained, adding that he would personally meet CDA Chairman Maroof Afzel and inform him about the issue.
The caretaker was recently removed from his position but was reinstated within days of his suspension due to his links in the labour union.
CDA Member Engineering Shahid Sohail, who oversees affairs of the hostel, said the issue was not in his knowledge. He stated that he would look into it on Monday and if the officers are found guilty, admissible action would be initiated against them.
According to The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010, harassment is a punishable offence by up to three years of imprisonment and dismissal from service.
The CDA chairman was unavailable for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ