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Workplace hostility: Inquiry ordered against official accused of harassment

Workplace hostility: Inquiry ordered against official accused of harassment

By: Umer Farooq

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Home and Tribal Affairs Department has ordered an inquiry against an employee of the probation department for allegedly recording objectionable videos of his female co-workers.

Requesting anonymity, an officer within the home department told The Express Tribune on Wednesday an earlier inquiry report had been turned down by former home secretary Azam Khan.

“A fresh inquiry has been ordered and the team will probe the matter under the Harassment Act, 2010,” he said, adding the home department had also issued directives to the probation department to conduct its own investigation.

The probe was ordered after two female officers of the Probation and Reclamation Department filed an application with the home department seeking action against a male colleague for allegedly recording their videos when they were using the washroom.

Sana* and Bushra* claim they caught Bakhtyar, an assistant, red-handed in June while he was attempting to install a pen-camera inside the women’s washroom. Upon playing the video, the women found a recording of themselves and another employee Shumaila* while using the bathroom. Sana said Bakhtyar often tried to enter the ladies washroom before or after someone used it.

The women said they had tried to bury the issue keeping in view Pushtun norms and had destroyed the camera and its memory card on the spot after Bakhtyar apologised. The officers then requested their department head to transfer the accused, but their concerns were never addressed.

Bushra told The Express Tribune in August that they had demanded Bakhtyar be punished in accordance with the Harassment Act. However, instead of addressing her grievance, the department victimised the women for raising their voice, she said. Bushra added she was transferred to Kohat despite the fact that she was unmarried and employed for Peshawar Zone.

On the other hand, officials of the probation department say the women’s complaint is a drama being staged to bring back a former director who had been transferred earlier. They insisted the incident Bakhtyar is accused of did not fall under the Harassment Act, 2010.
*Names have been changed to protect identities

Express Tribune

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