Alleged sexual harassment of VTI instructor: Inquiry not being conducted in fair way, says complainant
LAHORE: A female Vocational Training Institute (VTI) instructor from Muzaffargarh has said the inquiry into her sexual harassment complaint is not being conducted in a fair way – an allegation that the officials heading the inquiry has denied.
On June 16, Nagma Malik, a junior dressmaking instructor at the VTI, had complained to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the CM Inspection Team chairman, the CM Complaint Cell chairman, the Zakat minister, the Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) chairman, the PVTC chief operating officer and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan that the principal of the institute and the District Board of Management President Syed Ayub Shah and VTI Principal Aqeel Ahmed had tried to seduce her.
“I refused to accept their demands, but they pressured me and that almost led me to a nervous breakdown,” she told Daily Times. She said she was treated at Nishtar Hospital in Multan.
“An inquiry has been initiated on my application, but the principal and the DBM president are pressuring me to withdraw my complaint. The authorities are also favouring them.” She said several DBM members were also asking her to withdraw the complaint.
Muzaffargarh District Co-ordination Officer Tariq Javed Malik, who is heading the inquiry, said he had probed into the matter and found the woman a liar. However, he said he could not inquire criminal cases. He said DSP Saif Khattak was investigating the case. The VTI principal was not available for comment.
Muzaffargarh Deputy Superintendent of Police (City) Saif Khattak said that Nagma had not complained to the police.
No involvement: The DBM president said he had never been involved in any immoral activity. He said, “I did not influence the DCO or the police. I have good relations with the VTI principal, but did not favour him illegally.”
HRCP: HRCP Legal Adviser Mehboob Ahmad Khan said, “Workplace harassment is a serious offence and people behind this should be brought to justice. He said the HRCP would look into Nagma’s application.
Case: Mukhtara Mai, Muzaffargarh-based women rights activist, said, “If a woman raises voice against sexual harassment, she is declared immoral. Nagma’s case should be probed properly. DCO has no authority to probe the case. Thousands of such cases are pending but the government pays no heed to it.”
On Friday, a PVTC regional manager visited Nagma in Muzaffargarh. Nagma said the official had pressured her to withdraw her complaint, saying that it was harming the institute’s repute. Nagma said she would hold a press conference against the treatment meted out to her by the authorities concerned.