ISLAMABAD: Failing to find relief from her institution, a woman working at a state-run television channel has approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan to find justice for herself after claiming to be harassed by a male colleague.
An application was submitted by a female human resource coordinator of the channel in the HR cell of the SC, a copy of which is available with Daily Times, in which she alleged that the incumbent Administration Controller and Personnel of Pakistan Television Abdul Rasheed Khan has harassed her in the office adding that he was “a big harasser” and has already been punished by the wafaqi muhtasib under harassment charges.
“He always takes pleasure in harassing female employees and is fond of ruining the careers of these employees and messes their Annual Confidential Reports,” reads the application.
She informed the court that instead of action being taken against the culprit, which was addressed to PTV Managing Director & Federal Secretary for Information Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, the very next day she was transferred to PTV news from PTV headquarters.
The MD also threatened to fire her from the job and told her that there will be dire consequences.
According to the muhtasib’s judgment issued in September last year, Abdul Rasheed Khan had been sentenced with fine when he was proved guilty in harassment allegations leveled by a female employee of the channel. The court had also withheld his promotion to the next grade.
She stated in the application that this was not a single case of harassing women in the channel but several other women have also been victims there.
“Many employees did not dare to report their grievances due to fear of defamation or losing their jobs,” she explained.
She added that despite presence of a female as an information minister, the incidents of harassment and discriminatory behavior with female staffers has become a part of routine.
“The main reason of an increase in this activity is because no stern action has ever been taken against the culprit,” she added.
While commenting on the issue, a senior official of the information ministry said that it was rare to raise voice against harassment on record as many women concealed this due to being wrongly labelled.
Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010, defines harassment as “any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidation, hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment”.
According to this definition, harassment includes not only sexual but also verbal or written abuse, which may affect the working conditions or make the working environment unsafe for an individual.
Not only this, valiant woman also pointed out several other irregularities in different wings of the organisation saying that Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb remains busy all the time in political activities and have no time to spare some moments to review the plight of PTV.
“She left the channel on the mercy of a particular corrupt group who is ruining a national asset,” the complainant alleged.
She said that favouritism and nepotism while appointing officials on key positions was on its peak as MD Sukhera has appointed several officials in violation of rules, adding that she has all evidences to prove this allegation.
“Instead of encouraging professional and credible officers for their performance, Sukhera’s lobby disturbs them mentally and by such behaviour, they have no other option but to approach the court,” she regretted.
Besides this, she also highlighted cases of alleged illegal appointments of PTV Chairman Attaul Haq Qasmi. The appointment was already challenged in SC and the court reserved the verdict which is scheduled to be taken up tomorrow (Tuesday).
According to details, a three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked during hearing of this case held on February 25 that Article 62(1) (f) can also apply to former information minister Parvez Rashid as he had admitted that he had recommended Attaul Haq Qasmi for the appointment.