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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

HEC to probe issue of sexual harassment as Islamia University Bahawalpur

HEC Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed announced the formation of a committee comprising three vice chancellors, which will be tasked with handling the matter promptly.

The HEC has responded proactively to address the issue of sexual harassment at the Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB). HEC Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed announced the formation of a committee comprising three vice chancellors, which will be tasked with handling the matter promptly.

The committee’s formation will be officially notified in due course and will remain active until a resolution is achieved.

During a briefing to the National Assembly’s standing committee on education, chaired by Sami Al Hasan Gilani at the Parliament House, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed provided updates on the case. He also shared that the committee’s primary objectives include conducting an audit of IUB and compiling an operational performance report. However, he refrained from disclosing the names of the committee members at this stage.

The incident came to light when the university’s chief security officer, Major (retired) Ijaz Akram, was arrested on July 21. Following this, snapshots of the first information report (FIR) revealed the discovery of numerous obscene videos and images on two phones recovered from him, believed to be of students.

Additionally, drugs were found in his possession. Subsequently, two other officials, Professor Abu Bakar and transport in-charge Muhammad Altaf, were also arrested in connection with the case.

Currently, three committees are actively investigating the matter, with one of them being constituted by IUB Vice Chancellor Mehboob Akhtar. The university administration has committed to implementing the recommendations made by these inquiry committees.

Considering the gravity of the situation, which involves compromising images of students, the panel chairman stressed the need to involve the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency in the investigation. The committee members urged the IUB authorities to prioritize transparency and avoid protecting influential individuals, emphasizing the importance of holding everyone involved accountable.

Read more: US Congressmen convene to address Pakistan’s human rights challenges

During the meeting, committee member Farrukh Khan raised concerns about the existence of surveillance cameras at the university, suggesting that the situation might have been planned and ongoing for some time. On the other hand, the IUB registrar, who has been at the university since 2020, downplayed the situation, considering it to be more sensationalism than actual reality.

As the investigation continues, the committee members are closely monitoring the developments to ensure a fair and just resolution. Attendees at the meeting included Dr. Shazia Subia Aslam Soomro, Zahra Wadud Fatemi, and others, with some participants joining via video link. HEC’s swift action in forming the committee indicates its commitment to combat sexual harassment at IUB and promote a safe and secure learning environment for all students.