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Harassment and threats: Female health official vows to resign unless provided security

KARACHI: A senior female doctor of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has alleged that some officials harass and threaten her constantly. She has told the Sindh government that unless she is provided security, she will resign from her job.

Dr Salma Kausar Ali, the senior director of medical and health services, has sent a letter to Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, seeking security after ‘constant life threats from KMC officials’.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Dr Ali alleged that she has been under threat for the last couple of months, saying that the top authorities have not addressed her issue despite complaints in written.

“All officials were informed but no one takes notice,” said the disappointed doctor, adding that she also visited the New Town police station for lodging an FIR against the threats. “But the complaint was not registered.”

Dr Ali has levelled allegations against four officials of the KMC: former Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases (KIHD) deputy executive director and current Human Resources Management (HRM) director Dr Siraj Ul Haq Tariq, HRM senior director Javed Rahim and KMC officials Imran Mirza and Shoaib Waqar Khan.

She said that the threats started when corruption issues at the KIHD were exposed by her.

Substandard medicine and equipment were being purchased and used in the hospital, said Dr Ali. She said that she also sacked some ghost employees from her department. “I thought my efforts would be in the interests of the people but I was mistaken,” she said. “I [came] under threat [since] when absentees were removed.”

Dr Ali also alleged that she has been harassed in the office as well. “These people use abusive language and misbehave.” She said that some unknown persons on motorcycle also followed her from the office to her house.

She further claimed that she has received some phone calls. “They ask for money for settling the dispute,” she explained. “It is very tough now. It is unbearable to handle the situation. I may quit my job if the government can’t provide security to me.”

Denying accusations

One the other hand, the officials who are being accused of harassment and threats said that these are mere allegations and no one has ever harassed Dr Ali.

Rahim said that he is the head of over 40 different departments where hundreds of female workers perform their jobs. “No one has harassed or threatened her,” he said. “She is blackmailing us.”

According to him, Dr Ali is a grade-19 official and was posted at grade-20 position. He said that on the orders of the Supreme Court, his department has already sent back 98 such officials to their parent departments. “She uses these tactics so we [the department] could not remove her from her current position,” said Rahim. “She is not ready to leave her post but we have to obey court orders.” Dr Ali’s case is already in court and she has been granted a stay order, he added.

Meanwhile, East district and session court, disposing of the application filed under section 22-A of the Criminal Procedure Code by Dr Ali, ordered the New Town SHO to register a case against the accused ‘if a cognisable offence [has been] made.’

Express Tribune