News Analysis |
Head of Mathematics Department, University of Sargodha, Sub-campus, Bhakkar, has been accused of sexual harassment by one of his students. Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Dr. Sajid Iqbal who reportedly sent indecent messages to Ms. Shahnza Komal and demanded ‘sexual favors’ from her. In a video message, Ms. Shahzna shared text messages of Dr. Sajid who was asking her to send him pictures. In the video, Dr. Sajid can be seen asking her to ‘come closer’ and tell him about her ‘veil’. Police have arrested Dr. Sajid.
According to details, the HoD of the Mathematics department allegedly misuses his position and demands sexual favors from his female students to give them good grades. Ms. Shanza claims Dr. Sajid is exploiting her for last one and half years and she was unable to share anything with her family or friends. ‘Ultimately I decided to get rid of it. Now all I want is justice otherwise I’ll commit suicide in front of the campus. I appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to provide me justice,’ Ms. Shanza said.
If professors commit such crimes they are unfortunately encouraging a conservative mindset of Bhakkar to not send their daughters to campuses. We all know how much pressure the university girl has to face in our society.
On the other hand, sub-campus Bhakkar professors have completely rejected the allegations and demanded the immediate release of Dr. Sajid. University professors have decided not to take classes until their colleague is released by the police. “FIR has been registered without any investigation. We have our own cell at university which should have been approached first. This is absolutely unfair and unacceptable. We are here and we demand police to release our colleague” a professor said while protesting in front of District Police Office (DPO) Bhakkar.
Dr. Muhammad Naeem Anjum, a professor at the Department of Management and Administrative Sciences at sub-campus Bhakkar, spoke to GVS and completely rejected the allegations. “I have been teaching at the campus since 2016 and I can tell you Dr. Sajid is a very decent and committed guy. The girl is lying and doing all this because she could not get good grades. Police have arrested Dr. Sajid and we are very hurt since it is the humiliation of a teacher who has been arrested without any prior investigation or solid evidence,” he said.
Read more: How to protect women from sexual harassment?
Professor Sajid has also rejected all the allegations and said the complainant in the FIR is not the one who is alleging him of harassment. It is important to point out here that the FIR has been lodged by Mr. Yaqoob Ishaq, father of Ms. Shanza Komal, who is also a teacher at a government school. The professor also claims that he is being pressured to give grades to the girl “but I’ll never increase her grades,” he maintained.
On the contrary to what Dr. Naeem and Dr. Sajid have said, a human rights activist from Bhakkar Mr. Jaffar Raza Khan told GVS that “Bhakkar is a backward area of Punjab where people are socially very conservative. Girls’ education is considered something very new and against the traditions of the area.
Many sexual harassments and sex crime victims were silenced and now they are themselves serving in various positions both in the faculty and administration in the educational institutions.
If professors commit such crimes they are unfortunately encouraging a conservative mindset of Bhakkar to not send their daughters to campuses. We all know how much pressure the university girl has to face in our society. Now the irony is that professors are blaming the girl and not asking for any strict action against the professor if found guilty,” he said.
It is important to note that sexual harassment against women at educational institutions is reported across the country. Experts believe that since the country is a male-dominated society, therefore, women have to remain silent. According to one reliable research, only a few sexual harassment and sex crime cases are reported but many cases go unreported and beyond this state of affairs, reasons are so many; a hostile social attitude against girls/ women, and denial of social and administrative justice. Many sexual harassments and sex crime victims were silenced and now they are themselves serving in various positions both in the faculty and administration in the educational institutions.
Read more: Sexual harassment: A true picture
Analysts believe that there are laws in the country to protect women from such inhumane crimes but it is the responsibility of the state to make those laws effective. Very often it is seen that due to ineffective legal process the fear of social backlash women decides not to disclose their attackers. Therefore, the government is encouraged to look into the issue and formulate policies accordingly.