Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed that the Federal Investigation Agency officers involved in neglecting the sexual harassment complaint be suspended.
According to the reports, a sexual harassment victim, after being ignored by the relevant departments took to PM’s Citizen Portal to complain about the negligence of the concerned officials.
The woman lodged five complaints from 16 December 2019 to 13 June 2021, however, FIA’s inaction led to PM ordering a transparent inquiry into the matter, while suspending relevant officials.
The woman was forced to quit her work at a university due to continuous harassment by men there and complained to FIA, and the inaction led her to lose hope leading to an attempt to end her life.
The Prime Minister’s Office added that despite reopening the complaint twice, the agency failed to bring the case to its logical conclusion.
PM Khan called upon the FIA director to suspend the officials and provide relief to the complainant at the earliest. PM said that no such claims must be ignored in the future.
The Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit also has issued a letter to FIA Director to submit the report to the Prime Minister’s Office by 20th June.
She is not alone..
A similar case was written about on 18th June by The News where a female lecturer became the victim of online harassment by her former colleague, and after seven years of working against the victim, she got justice.
According to a news article, the harassment victim was unsatisfied with the sentence handed down to her harasser, saying that she had suffered for seven years, and the penalty wasn’t enough.
This happened when on 16th June, a District East sessions court announced a total sentence of eight years for the University of Karachi (KU), Assistant Professor Dr. Farhan Kamrani who was convicted of making and sharing fake nudes of the victim. The court also fined him Rs1.1 million.
“I suffered difficulties, mental stress, and financial problems for almost seven years to get justice.” She remarked that she would have completed two PhDs during the time she spent struggling for justice. “I couldn’t complete my doctorate degree because of the court case,” the victim told The News.
According to the court documents, the convict admitted in front of the investigation agency to his crime of making edited porn photos of the victim. He tried to tender an apology and prayed for mercy but got no response from the complainant.
Reportedly, the female lecturer was threatened by the peers of the harasser bringing firearms to her home, and later when that didn’t work, a page was made by the supporters of the harasser on social media disparaging the victim and she was called names such as Chalbaz Aurat.
The victim told the media outlet, “Just for the last two days, I’m feeling free. In the last many years, they would create groups and pages, and I would file complaints over complaints. At the same time, I was dealing with court cases.”
In a message to other women, the victim said that women should come forward against such harassers, adding that it is not an easy job and seeking justice with patience is really a serious task. However, she added, that silence equates to being part of the crime.
It is worth mentioning that the latter event tells us the importance of FIA not ignoring these crimes as they did in the latest case which the Prime Minister took notice of.
It also puts weight on the statement by the PM which said, “no complaint, should be ignored.”
Men who harass women can get relief from Courts
It has also been seen that men against whom women complain to FIA often manage to obtain premature relief from the courts. These men facing complaints rush to courts, with smart lawyers, on one or the other pretext and courts end up intervening with stay order or instructions that act like stay order, while investigations are still going on.
This was recently seen in case of a tv producer in Islamabad who made series of videos against a female journalist attacking her character. But when she and her family complained to FIA he rushed to Islamabad High Court, with a cleve lawyer, and court intervention made it difficult for FIA to summon him. Investigative agencies like Police and FIA are often afraid of courts, these premature court interventions thus make it difficult for FIA to complete its routine process, delay result and matters get stuck or die down. Cyber law is in its nascent stages in Pakistan. Governments through ministry of law may need to advise courts not to intervene in matters under investigation so that such men, especially the repeat offenders, can be held accountable for their actions. Unless governments, FIA and courts show unwavering determination such men harassing women at work place will not be discouraged.