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PIA airhostess sues management over sexual harassment

KARACHI: An airhostess has taken to court the defence secretary, the chairperson of the Pakistan International Airline, its general manager, the human resource director and chief medical officer for issuing her show-cause notice allegedly to victimise her for complaining against the harassment at the workplace.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued them notices to file their comments through the federal law officer by August 22.

The flag carrier’s airhostess, Shahila Parveen, had approached the high court challenging the show-cause notice served on her by the organisation’s human resource’s director. In her petition, she said that she joined the service in 2005 and started performing her duties as general manager.

Later, Parveen said she was placed under charge of Zafar Khaskhely, the controller at the PIA medical centre. She alleged that the officer started harassing her by objecting to her dressing and using inappropriate language.

The air hostess informed the two judges that on February 16, 2015, the officer’s intents became clear as he called her on the pretext of discussing something important but started misbehaving with her. She complained to the competent authority against the controller of the medical centre due to which other officers including Dr AQA Akhund, Dr Naveed Daudpota started pressurising her to withdraw her complaints.

Parveen alleged that she was also victimised for refusing to take back the complaint. The authorities deliberately denied her and her family medical care at the PIA health facility. “I was not provided an ambulance on time that resulted in the miscarriage of my baby,” said the air hostess, adding, “The respondents are responsible for the killing of my baby.”

She further said that later the human resource director issued her a show-cause notice, seeking an explanation for allegedly making false complaints against the officers all the time.

The petitioner pleaded the court declare that the show-cause was issued with malafide intentions to victimise her for complaining against the officer involved in harassing her at the workplace. Therefore, she sought suspension of the notice.

After hearing the initial arguments on Friday, the division bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, issued notices to the respondents for August 22. The deputy attorney general was also issued notice to file comments of the defense secretary, the PIA chairperson, GM, director HR, chief medical officer and medical centre controller by the next date of hearing.

The Express Tribune: