Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal on Thursday took notice of the alleged harassment of students at Jamshoro University by their teachers, appointing Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Hyderabad Javaid Alam Odho as an inquiry officer to look into the matter.
The minister has directed the DIG to conduct a comprehensive inquiry, submit a detailed report and take all necessary legal actions to resolve the matter.
In a letter addressed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and the university’s vice chancellor, two female students – writing on “behalf female students [sic] who are victims of harassment” – have sought assistance and asked that action be taken against teachers of the English Department.
In the letter, A alleges that a teacher had blackmailed her for sexual favours and that she had shown text messages as proof of the harassment to the vice chancellor of the university.
However, she added that while the vice-chancellor had promised to take action, the teachers had threatened to protest against him if he did so, the letter said.
A further alleged that an officer of the university had approached her sister and threatened to take the matter to their father who, she said, is a heart patient.
In the letter, B said that she had filed a first information report (FIR) against another teacher at the university for harassing her.
She said she had approached the vice chancellor with her brother; however, after promising to take action, the former gave into pressure from faculty members.
The letter further claimed that in August, a stage director at the university had called some of the students in the English Department to his house on the “pretext of preparation for an August 14 function”.
“Some of his friends were also there. All [of them] were drunk and forced us to do objectionable things to them,” the letter read.
The letter also recalled the case of Naila Rind, a Sindh University student who was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her hostel room in January, who had been a victim of harassment by the teachers at the university.
According to the initial investigations into the case, Rind was cyber blackmailed by Anis Khaskheli, a teacher in Jamshoro.
During a recent hearing of Rind’s case at the Sindh High Court, Fouzia Ashraf, the deputy director of the women’s development department at the university, said that many girls at the university had told her that “sexual harassment by teaching staff and other staff members is prevalent”.
In their letter, A and B, sought action against the vice chancellor and the members of the faculty.
The two petitioners said that they had written a similar request before but no action had been taken.