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Harassment Inquiry Committees to be Set up in all Medical, Dental Colleges

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LAHORE– A meeting of the Vice Chancellors’ Committee constituted by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar to formulate an effective strategy to prevent incidents of harassment in public places and workplaces was held on Wednesday at the University of Health Sciences(UHS).

UHS Vice-Chancellor Professor Javed Akram presided over the meeting.

On the occasion, Prof. Javed Akram said that internal inquiry committees would be set up in all medical and dental colleges to investigate the incidents of harassment. He said that incidents like Iqbal Park brought the country into disrepute.

He added that most of the incidents of harassment go unreported. He suggested that a multi-centre study should be done to have evidence-based data on incidents of harassment.

Those who were present in the meeting included VC Government College Women’s University Sialkot Prof. Rukhsana Kausar, VC University of Home Economics Prof. Kanwal Amin, VC University of Education Prof. Talat Naseer Pasha, VC University of South Asia Mian Imran Masood, VC Punjab Tianjin University Dr Abdul Sattar Shakir, motivational speaker Qasim Ali Shah, religious scholar Maulana Muhammad Yousaf, Advocate Noshab A Khan, SSP Operations Lahore Ismail Kharak, and social worker Maliha Hussain while VC Rawalpindi Women University Prof. Anila Kamal participated through video link.

Motivational speaker Qasim Ali Shah said that there is a flood of pornography in the country and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority should pay attention to this menace. “The whole society has been hijacked by the mobile phones”, he lamented and added that laws and systems in the countries with the lowest number of harassment incidents should be studied.

Religious scholar Maulana Muhammad Yousaf said that worship prevents immorality and evil deeds. He added that punishment for misreporting in such cases is commanded in the Holy Quran.

University of Home Economics Professor Kanwal Amin said that the media should show responsibility in reporting such incidents. She added that there was a harassment policy of the Higher Education Commission for universities which was very comprehensive.

Prof. Talat Naseer Pasha said that 80 pc of the cases of harassment turn out to be fake. Vice-Chancellor Rawalpindi Women University Prof. Anila Kamal said that incidents of harassment had always been there; it is only now that people have started talking about it. She further said that the character building of the youth would bring in a difference in thought.

Advocate Noshab A Khan said that the Supreme Court had recently declared the existing law on harassment as cosmetic and inadequate. The present law needs to be amended especially with regards to the definition of harassment. Prof. Sidrah Saleem, Dr Sara Ghafoor, Dr Allah Rakha were also present in the meeting.— PRESS RELEASE