ISLAMABAD – A female officer of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has levelled serious allegations of victimisation and sexual harassment in the workplace by some senior officers of the authority including its former deputy chairman.
Bokhari said that she has not only been denied promotion for raising voice against her alleged tormentors and harassers but also continued to face internal inquiries one after the other “to teach her a lesson” and now she was being harassed in the name of getting arrested through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The female officer has already approached the Federal Ombudsperson seeking protection against alleged harassment by the senior NADRA officers.
Bokhari while talking to The Nation said that former deputy NADRA chairman Syed Muzaffar Ali not only sexually harassed her as an inquiry officer but also created hurdles in her promotion when she refused to accept his “private offers”. “All of my colleagues have been promoted to the next grade but I am still working on the same pay scale because I have raised a voice in this male-dominated society,” she said. She has also mentioned all these apparent “facts” in her application to the office of Federal Ombudsperson.
The ordeal of woman officer started when she filed a sexual harassment case in 2009 against Kamran Latif, the then NADRA director production CNICs. The matter was resolved after Ehtesham Shahid, the then DG production CNICs intervened as a mediator and a guarantor and assured her that the episode would not happen again, she said.
He ordeal started soon after the NADRA management changed hands in 2014 and NADRA high-ups started an inquiry against her accusing her stealing 28 CNICs (computerised national identity cards) from the production section of the NADRA headquarters.
The woman officer said that the inquiry against her was initiated to “teach her a lesson” for filing a harassment application against Latif. She said that NADRA authorities later withdrew the inquiry when the Lahore High Court on her petition found that the competent authority did not even duly sign the inquiry report.
“During the proceedings of the inquiry in 2015, the then DG (operations) Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah asked me that ‘you would have to pay the price’ to close the inquiry against me,” she said explaining how she was harassed. Muzaffar Shah is currently working as DG admin, HR and data-ware house and was recently removed as deputy chairman on the orders of the LHC.
In the middle of 2016, a promotion board of NADRA denied Bokhari promotion and Muzaffar was also a member of the board. In September last year, a fresh inquiry was initiated against Bokhari accusing her of submitting fake medical bills of her mother to NADRA for reimbursement. “I am facing an inquiry of Rs9,000 on account of the alleged fake bills, who will believe this,” she said adding that this was a clear case of victimisation.
She said that first, the finance department informed her in writing that the file of the medical bills had gone missing from the DG admin office headed by Muzaffar.
“Now I have been charge-sheeted for submitting fake and unverified bills and DG (Operations) Brig (retd) Nisar has been appointed an inquiry officer,” she said.
“Now a case against me has also been forwarded to the FIA and I am being threatened to get arrest through the agency,” she said adding “there seems no end to my miseries”.
NADRA Spokesman Faik Ali declined to comment on the issue. A senior officer of the authority wishing not to be named said all the allegations against the senior officers were baseless. He said that some inquiries were pending against the female officer and she was trying to pressurise the authority by levelling unfounded and baseless allegations.
A spokesman for the interior ministry said that the complainant should file a complaint to the relevant forum and she would surely get justice if her allegations were founded to be true.