Harassment has become a very important topic of world-wide discussion after allegations of harassment and abuse of power emerged against famous men in Hollywood, recently. In Pakistan too, Sharmeen Obaid’s allegations of harassment against a doctor, and the subsequent public outcry has provided an impetus for discussion around this very important subject matter.
A letter by female students at University of Sindh, Jamshoro recently emerged where they are alleging suffering harassment at the hands of their professors
They are studying in the Institute of English Language and Literature (IELL). The letter highlights how rampant harassment is in IELL. Rimsha Memon and Naseem Deepar took the initiative of pointing out the problem of harassment in the English Department on behalf of all the girls studying in the department.
In April this year, Rimsha lodged a complain against a teacher Faraz Bughio. He would blackmail her for having sex with him. She went up to the Vice Chancellor Dr. Fateh Burfat and showed him his texts. He promised to take action against him.
However, a group of teachers gathered to threaten the Vice Chancellor of protests against him if he took any action against the teachers accused of harassment
Iftekhar Pathan, an officer of the university, approached another student and blackmailed her to have relations with Faraz Bughio. And if she does not do not, they would approach her father and tell him about her misconduct.
Naseem Deepar, another victim, lodged a complain against assistant professor Sanaullah Ansari. She along with her brother went to the Vice Chancellor. But again, under the pressure of the teachers he asked her parents to withdraw the FIR. The FIR was lodged at the Jamshoro Police Station.
The teachers have also refused to supervise the thesis of one of the students who wrote the letter
They blatantly agree that the reason of not supervising her work is that she lodged a complain against their colleagues.
The Vice Chancellor, with promises of discussing the matter with the Dean, has not been able to do anything till now.
The incidents of harassment at the campus have become so common. And almost every other girl in the English Department has been a victim of it.
The students said that it was the lack of inaction in the matter that forced them to write the letter
It is address to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Chief Justice, the Chief Minister of Sindh, the Higher Education Commission, Ms. Bakhtawar Bhutto, the Governor of Sindh, and the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace.
You can read the letter in detail here.
The issue is also being discussed on social media
Harassment @ Sindh_Uni
A female student of Sindh University (Jamshoro) claims that majority of students are blackmailed and sexually harassed by teachers for marks. pic.twitter.com/j5j345ENKh
— Jannisar-e-BilawalBZ (@majid_unar) October 25, 2017
— ashok sharma (@ashokjournalist) October 25, 2017
And as a result, the Sindh Minister has pledged to take action against those accused
Sindh minister takes notice of students' alleged harassment at Jamshoro University https://t.co/gwCtScB1PZ
— *Dr Barkat SOOMRO* (@DrBarkatSoomro) October 27, 2017
This cult of people who feel no shame in violating another person and threaten to harm them further if they speak up, need to be dealt with seriously. Harassment in any form is not acceptable. Education institutes should not become a hub of harassment. It is a place of learning, and if harassment stems from instructors, it has a huge impact on the students’ lives.
Now, we await the government’s response.
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