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Ombudsperson orders dismissal of Pemra DG from service for harassing female employee

ISLAMABAD – Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces Kashmala Tariq on Thursday issued an order to remove a top official of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) from service on allegations of sexually harassing a female employee.

The ombudsperson also ordered the official to pay Rs2 million in compensation to the victim.

Tariq issued the ruling on a complaint filed by a woman, who was working at Pemra’s headquarter in Islamabad on a contingent basis, on January 20, 2020, levelling allegation of sexual harassment against one of Pemra’s directors general, Haji Adam.

In his order, the ombudsperson quoted the complainant as saying that the officer’s behaviour turned “rude, disgusting and demeaning” towards her after she refused “sexual favours” to him.

“Bringing all the pieces of evidence together […] the complainant has proved her allegation that [Adam] sexually harassed her [at] her workplace on November 11, 2019,” the order said.

It added that the director general could not prove his stance that he had been falsely implicated in the case by the complainant “at the instigation and conspiracy of someone else”.

Kashmala Tariq said that action was to be taken against Adam under the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010.

She also directed directed that the officer be dismissed from service and pay Rs2m in compensation to the complainant.

She also ordered demotion of another Pemra official, Fakhruddin Mughal, for facilitating Adam.

Moreover, the ombudsperson said in her order: “I deem it essential to ask the Pemra top management to constitute [a] permanent harassment committee to look into, probe and decide […] harassment cases, and also install CCTV cameras [at] conspicuous places to monitor the activities of staff at the workplace.”

“Similarly, I would also like the management to display [the] code of conduct and guideline[s] of FOSPAH (Federal Ombudsperson Secretariat for Protection against Harassment) [in] common areas,” it added.

The ombudsperson directed the Pemra management to submit a compliance report within seven days after receiving the order.

Tariq had suspended Adam in the case on February 4, 2020.

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