‘A minister trying to save PU VC Kamran in sexual harassment case’

By Anam Fayyaz

Lahore, Aug 14 (www.pakdestiny.com) It appears that Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood is trying to save Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Mujahid Kamran in sexual harassment case.
Mr Mashhood is avoiding speaking on the issue when Pak Destiny contacted him. His staff official responded to this reporter of Pak Destiny: “Mr Mashhood will soon contact you to give his comment on the issue.” Pak Destiny fails to get his version despite calling him dozens of times.
It is learnt Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken notice of the harassment charges a Law College lecturer had leveled against Mr Kamran. “The chief minister has asked a member of his cabinet to probe the matter and report him at earliest,” a source said. The source said Shahbaz Sharif would not spare the VC if he was found guilty of the charges.

According to Dawn’s report, in a four-page complaint submitted with the Punjab Ombudsperson office on Tuesday subsequent submission of the complaint to the VC office on July 26, Law College lecturer Khujista Rehan alleged VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran was punishing her for her refusal to provide him with sexual favours. “You need to know that there are women with strong moral fiber, who can fight till the end,” she says.

Ms Rehan faces an explanation letter by the university administration for using ‘insulting language’ against the VC at the PU Academic Staff Association’s June 20 general body meeting.

The PU additional registrar dubbed Ms Rehan’s letter malafide, malicious and replete with false statements. Stating that the VC has never implicitly conveyed any such advances, the register said the VC was instead avoiding meeting her “keeping in mind your typical tactics of using sexual harassment against any person who does not succumb to your terms”.

The harassment history, according to Mr Rehan, has been going on for the last six years. The lecturer has also submitted the complaint with the Punjab Ombudsperson’s office as well as forwarded it to the chief justice of Pakistan, the Higher Education Commission, the Punjab governor (also the chancellor), the chief minister and the higher education secretary.

Ms Rehan wrote that in the last six years the VC, in person, communicated to her: “If you want me to stop inquiry letters (against you), you should do as whatever I tell you to do”. Stating that she had no proof of that communication therefore, she kept silent and faced inquiries. She said career women tended to stay silent to avoid ensuing public nuisance and insult, if they pointed out harassment.

She found an escape in higher studies abroad. Once she came back, inquires were initiated against her.

Ms Rehan has invoked the third part of the harassment definition: “Causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment”.

She also quoted an SMS forwarded by the VC from his official cell phone on April 12, 2013, that she was asking time to meet him but using very rubbish language. She alleged the VC had SMSed her to pressure her.

“The end result you wanted to achieve is that, I should come into stress and take note of your immoral demands which previously, you, in person, made before I went to Australia,” she stated. She alleged that the VC had also ordered an unsubstantiated inquiry against her when she had applied for study leave in February 2010.

Upon return from Australia, Ms Rehan stated that she was refused rejoining without any explanation and added that her pay was stopped when she was studying in Australia. She said she was allowed to rejoin on the interference of the governor (chancellor) in March 2011 but her annual increments had been stopped since 2010. She stated the VC took her case to Syndicate and without quoting any law decided that pay and increments should not be given, for which the case was subjudice.

In a rejoinder on behalf of VC, the additional registrar in a two-page reply stated that the VC never victimised her and added that the complainant had a long history of aggression and use of abusive language.He stated the VC never verbally or otherwise communicated that he would stop all inquiry letters, if she would do as whatever he would tell her” as alleged. He said the VC was instead avoiding meeting her because of her “typical tactics”. He stated that Ms Rehan had abused and physically assaulted her senior colleague Dr Farah Kanwal, associate professor of chemistry, who got registered an FIR and initiated court proceedings.

Referring to VC’s SMS, the additional registrar said the VC did send her the message but the matter rested after her clarification. He also termed Ms Rehan’s statement regarding immoral demands made on her as utterly false allegation.

The additional registrar also stated that Ms Rehan’s letter was malafide because she wrote it after the explanation letter issued to her. He also stated that Ms Rehan had gone abroad without having even applied for any leave to avoid facing several inquiries pending against her. — Pak Destiny

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