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Saturday Jul 04 2020

Case registered against employees of Lahore private school after harassment allegations

Five employees of a private school had been sacked after reports of female students being harrased had emerged. Photo: File

LAHORE: Authorities in Punjab on Saturday registered a case against four employees of a private school in Lahore — including a teacher who was earlier sacked by the administration — after they were held responsible by the school for the alleged sexual harassment of female students.

A case was registered on the complaint of Child Protection Bureau officer Ehtisham Arshad under Section 292-A (exposure to seduction), 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Pakistan Penal Code, and Section 25 (intentionally damaging or tampering with telegraphs) of the Federal Investigation Agency's Telegraph Act.

Last week, reports of a school teacher and administration harassing female students at a private school in Lahore had emerged. Administration Officer Aitzaz, Accountant Omar, a chowkidar named Shehzad and chemistry teacher Zahid Warraich were accused of harassment by female students, some of whom had left school a few years ago and others who were still studying there.

Students said that they had lodged various sexual harassment complaints over the years against the accused but no action had been taken by the administration. Hence, some of them were forced to leave the school and seek admission in others.

The administration said that after receiving evidence against the accused, which included videos, photographs and indecent messages sent by them to students, all four persons involved were shown the door.

The students revealed that the chemistry teacher, Warraich, used to harass them by staring and trying to touch them inappropriately. They also said that he tried to sit with them in a manner that made it very uncomfortable for the students to study.

They also spoke of a female teacher in the school who told them about how she was also a victim of harassment by one of the staff members at the institute but instead of taking action against the harassers, she told the students to remain silent.

Punjab govt promises to make an example out of perpetrators

Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Cheema had said the provincial government would hand exemplary punishments to the perpetrators of the Lahore private school harassment incident.

Speaking to Geo Pakistan on Thursday, Cheema said that the government has taken action against the harassment case reported in the private school.

However, she emphasised that the government will come to know about such incidents only when they are reported as Punjab has a population of 110 million hence it is impossible for the provincial government to know about every harassment incident.

Cheema said that as soon as the girls spoke up, the school administration took action and the Punjab education minister and the chief minister took notice of the incident as well. She added that an inquiry committee has also been formed to investigate the incident.

“I appeal to all children that God forbid if you go through something like this then you need to point it out as currently there are a lot of harassment laws under which the culprits can be punished,” Cheema, said, adding that whatever decision the committee takes will be shared with the nation.

“Yes, these culprits will not only have to let go of their jobs but they will also be punished according to the circumstances,” Cheema added.