HED launches probe into lecturer’s suicide over harassment charge – Pakistan

LAHORE: The Punjab Department of Higher Education on Monday formed a four-member committee to investigate the issue of the suicide of MAO College professor Muhammad Afzal and the allegations of sexual harassment against him.

The secretary of HED, Sajid Zafar Dall, appointed the vice chancellor of the University of Okara, Professor Zakria Zakar, as the convener of the committee whose other members include the registrar Lahore College for Women University, government director of the PG College Township, Lahore and Undersecretary (Male Establishment) of the HED

The committee was instructed to submit its report within seven days. He would hold his first meeting at 11 am today (Tuesday).

Prime Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar also noticed the incident and requested a report.

Meanwhile, Dr. Aaliya Rehman Khan, dean of science at the MAO College, who conducted an investigation into sexual harassment charges against Afzal, accused the director of the university, Dr. Farhan Ibadat Yar, of cheating the media on the matter and also press it to support his position.

Muhammad Afzal, an English teacher at MAO College, allegedly committed suicide after consuming poisonous pills for not obtaining the certificate after the investigation that found him innocent and demonstrated erroneous sexual harassment accusations against him on July 8. 2019. The university administration conducted an investigation into the incident under Dr. Aaliya, who concluded that Afzal had not harassed anyone.

Mr. Afzal reportedly continued to require the certificate of authorization from the director of the university and the president of the anti-bullying committee, but he did not entertain himself. He was informed that the report had been sent to the principal's office on July 13, 2019.

Mr. Afzal tried to obtain the report and the authorization certificate for more than three months, but it was in vain. His wife left him on October 8 and committed suicide on October 9, 2019 after writing a note for Dr. Aaliya that he was leaving the matter to God. The professor's death had raised several questions. The matter was reported in the media and in a media report, Dr. Aaliya said it was not her responsibility to issue the authorization certificate to Afzal while the director was responsible for it. On the other hand, Mr. Yar had a similar stance, saying that the matter was the responsibility of Dr. Aaliya.

Now, Dr. Aaliya had filed a complaint against Farhan Ibadat Yar before Secretary HED.

The complaint, available with DawnShe states that she served as president of the anti-bullying committee of the university, and that she had also conducted some investigations within the university, including complaints against Muhammad Afzal.

The complaint said that he had initiated an investigation / investigation against Afzal on July 8, 2019 and, once finalized, had delivered his report to the director with findings and recommendations on July 13.

In addition, he declared after Afzal's suicide and the media frenzy broke out against the university administration. The director denied that he did not receive any investigation report and the investigation officer should be blamed for not completing the investigation.

In addition, he states that the director was giving false statements to the media and was also harassing her to support her position.

The plaintiff requested the secretary to initiate an adequate investigation into the matter involving director Yar for negligence and misconduct for not acting according to the recommendations of the investigation report, making false statements to the media and harassing her by calling and asking her not to say Anything in any forum.

The plaintiff also demanded that the principal be removed from his post immediately, before the HED initiated an investigation, as it could influence the procedures by removing his investigation report from the office and pressing the university staff to not give no statement in favor of Afzal or against himself.

Speaking about Afzal's suicide issue, Mr. Farhan Ibadat Yar said he was not told that the professor was looking for a copy of the authorization certificate. He said the conference did not write to him, but he wrote to Dr. Aaliya, who told him about his demand when he committed suicide on October 9.

"I never stopped teaching and lecturing and he continued teaching in the class," Yar said.

On the accusations made by Dr. Aaliya against him in his letter to the HED, he said, he said he could not comment on it, but that he would respond to the HED committee.

Posted on Dawn, October 22, 2019

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1512236/hed-launches-probe-into-lecturers-suicide-over-harassment-charge

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