Rising cases of harassment in Pakistan

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Muhammad Nadeem Bhatti

Harassment is an unwanted behavior that one can find offensive or that makes a person feel intimidated or humiliated. It can happen on its own or with other forms of discrimination.

It could be spoken abuse, facial expressions, jokes, physical abuse, offensive comments, or tweets on the social media platforms.

Sexual harassment has become a common problem in Pakistan and so far a good number of studies have been conducted on this topic mostly in educational institutes, public, and workplaces.

Research showing 452 victims (255 women and 197 men) with ages ranging from 12 to 55 collected from different places of three major cities namely Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi.

The results indicated that people fall, victims to sexual harassment more compared to any other country.

The results also indicated that uneducated men are the major committers of sexual harassment.

Recently, a video went viral in which a Madrassa’s Mufti from Lahore was seen sexually harassing a young boy. The accused name is Mufti Azizur Rehman.

The student who was harassed said that Rehman sexually abused him, while the cleric’s sons blackmailed and threatened to kill him. In the FIR he said, “If justice is not provided, I will commit suicide.”

The priest was later arrested during a raid in Mianwali city and remanded to police custody for four days in the case filed at a Lahore police station.

After the FIR was registered against Aziz, he escaped from the madrassa. He was tried to avoid arrest and wanted refuge at the houses of some of his students.

He pressurized the victim’s family to present the case in a jirga system where the cleric was very highly respected.

The news spread all over and brought to the notice of the Prime Minister of Pakistan who ordered an inquiry on merit by the Punjab Police which has tarnished image of the country.

The CCPO Lahore investigated the case with SSP CIA, interrogate and arrest the culprit. The police started searched in different cities including Lahore, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, and finally, Mufti Aziz was arrested from Mianwali city.

For an Islamic country, it is very embarrassing for everyone that such elements exist in our society and are given so much respect.

Teaching is a holy profession in our Islam. It is very painful and disgusting that teachers like Aziz are in almost every educational institute in Pakistan. Every month, we witness news of harassment with young students. Moreover, social media abuse is increasing day by day.

Although there are laws on Cyber Crimes in FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) PECA (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act) against such crimes, but one can easily escape from a case or an FIR against his/her doings.

These so-called teachers are the pioneers of harassment in educational institutes of our country.

The community tops when it comes to watching pornography. This is one of the reasons why they are so frustrated from inside sexually.

The priest had also admitted that he had attracted the student with passing marks in examinations and had later sexually abused him. He also stated that once the case was all over the news, he was fearful of the consequences.

Also, the accused (Aziz-ur-Rehman) told the police that his sons threatened the pupil and told him not to tell anyone about it. Though, despite the threats, the boy went ahead and posted the video online that went viral.

In a statement, the cleric said that he issued a video statement because he did not want to leave his job in a madrassa, but due to the hype of the case, the administration of the madrassa advised him to leave the job.

The boy was sexually exploited every Friday for three continuous years and blackmailed.

When he went to the Management of the madrassa, they said it is not possible as Mufti Aziz is an old man and a religious person. They accussed the boy of lying, according to the police report.

Then the victim secretly started filming to gather evidence which he presented to “WifaqulMadari Nazim-e-Aala Hanif Jalandhary.” When Mufti Aziz learned of this, he threatened to kill the boy.

The boy was so scared of his teacher that even he thought to hide after the news went viral.

In response, the culprit “Aziz” is not guilty at all. He simply denied the accusations and said the boy added sedatives in his tea and he was not in his senses in the video. As a defending statement, he said “the biggest proof of my innocence is that my body was not even moving.

If I were in my sanities, how could I have not known that he was filming a video from his phone”.

The question is; why a young boy needs to seduce a 60-year-old man? Why does someone do that?
The thing is; Pakistan was made in the name of Islam. Our ancestors sacrificed their lives for our peaceful life.

The country that should be considered as a role model for other nations as the best country for practicing Islam, is all the time in the news for the cases like sexual harassment, corruption, and terrorism.

It is need of the hour that government should make amendments in the laws and strict punishments should be given to culprit like Mufti Aziz so that no one ever dares to do it again.

The Writer is a Senior Social Analyst and Chairman Pakistan Columnist Council
Can be found at [email protected]

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