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Friday, February 16, 2024

The case of Dr. Wasif Nauman: Does it reflect misuse of #MeToo?

BZU has dismissed a professor for harassing a female student. There are reports which claim the case was politically motivated. Is this another sad case which took place under the preview of #Metoo?

The Bahauddin Zakariya University has dismissed a professor from service for harassing a female student. The university administration maintains that the concerned professor blackmailed a student through inappropriate behavior and making her objectionable videos. Sources inside BZU, however, contradict the story and offer some eye-opening facts. GVS learned that the case was politically motivated which needs further investigation.

According to details, the university syndicate in its meeting on Jan 19, 2019, on the recommendations of the harassment committee constituted an inquiry committee, consisting of Prof Dr. Muhammad Shafqat (convener), Prof Dr. Masood Akhtar and Prof Dr. Ghazala Yasmin, to initiate proceedings into a complaint of harassment against Dr. Wasif Nauman, assistant professor of the Department of Forestry and Range Management.

Police 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

The proceedings were initiated under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act of 2016 on the charges of ‘guilty of misconduct on account of harassment to a female student of the same department through inappropriate behavior and making video calls, sending obnoxious contents by the accused’.

According to the termination order, the inquiry committee conducted several meetings where the professor in question was given opportunity of personal hearing besides addressing his contentions as well.

The committee submitted its report to the syndicate on May 18 last, which served a final show cause-cum-personal hearing notice to the professor telling him to submit his additional defense in writing and also to appear before the syndicate on Dec 12, 2019.

Read more: Has #MeToo turned into an attack strategy by false accusers?

The syndicate accepted the findings and recommendations of the committee and dismissed him from service with effect from Jan 19 last.

GVS contacted Dr. Nauman but he was not available to comment on the decision of the university.

It is worth noting that the agriculture department teacher was previously kidnapped by the varsity students for allegedly teasing girls, however, he was released after the administration’s intervention, media reports said.

The BZU administration had said Nauman went missing on Wednesday and his family reportedly came to know that six-car riders kidnapped him when he was returning home and shifted him to an undisclosed location.

It got popularity in 2017 when many actresses and celebrities spoke up and exposed some big names who were allegedly involved in the worst sort of sexual harassment

The agriculture department students said that the lecturer was allegedly involved in teasing the department girls. A few members of a student union had warned him against the activity but the lecturer continued teasing the girls, they claimed.

Meanwhile, the police spokesperson had said that five kidnappers abducted Nauman and they were managing to escape when the police intercepted the car and safely recovered him.

Last year, Head of Mathematics Department, University of Sargodha, Sub-campus, Bhakkar, was accused of sexual harassment by one of his students. Police 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 the 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’. The said professor was dismissed from service after he was found guilty.

M.A.O College’s lecturer committed Suicide

A lecturer named Muhammad Afzal of Government M.A.O College in Lahore committed suicide after he was accused of false harassment charges. Afzal was accused by none other than his own student. She could not prove allegations against the lecturer. Afzal’s formal letter written to the professor of college and inquiry officer, Alia Rehman, exposed the reality of the case and raised some serious questions. His suicide note and a formal letter ignited fury among the netizens.

Read more: Countrywide Protests Held on Balochistan University’s Sexual Harassment

The victim had explained the ordeal of facing false harassment charges in the letter. Afzal moaned that the false harassment accusation has tarnished his image, ruined his career, and disturbed his family life. His wife had left him following the allegations, leaving him devastated.

He requested the inquiry officer Alia Rehman to rusticate the student of Mass Communication department, who had leveled false allegations on him. Since he was cleared in the inquiry and awaits justice. He demanded the management to take actions, which will restore his image in the college.

If something happens to him, he requested the college management to give his salary to his mother and a Good Will certificate honoring him, clearing the disgrace brought to his name following the false allegations. He had written the letter to exonerate him from the charges on 8th October while he committed suicide on 9th October.

Read more: KU declares sexual harassment complaint against two professors ‘fake’

The lecturer in his suicide note asserted that he is leaving the matter to Allah and asked police not to investigate the matter further.

#MeToo in Pakistan

#MeToo is a social movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. It got popularity in 2017 when many actresses and celebrities spoke up and exposed some big names who were allegedly involved in the worst sort of sexual harassment. Many women in Pakistan also came forward against their harassers and shared their bitter experiences.

#MeToo was questioned in Pakistan when some high-profile cases emerged, and Pakistan’s media and opinion-makers did not explore the matter. But the victims have failed to prove their allegations before any court of law.

Read more: #MeToo gains momentum in India: Karim Morani accused of rape

In the instant case, it is yet to be seen whether Dr. Nauman approaches other forums or not. However, there is no denying the fact that many cases regarding women’s harassment are politically motivated under the tag of #Metoo.