The Punjab government has said that they will hand exemplary punishments to the perpetrators of the Lahore private school harassment incident and make an example of them.
According to Geo News, Punjab Government Spokesperson Musarrat Cheema said that the government, including Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and Education Minister Dr Murad Raas, has taken action against the harassment case reported in the private school. She said that an inquiry committee has also been formed to investigate the incident. On Wednesday, CM Buzdar had taken notice of the matter and had directed CCPO Lahore to carry out an impartial inquiry into the incident and had said that harassment of students will not be tolerated at any cost.
Cheema asserted that the government will use this incident to send a stern message across the board.
“These culprits will not only have to let go of their jobs but they will also be punished according to the circumstances,” assured Cheema.
The spokesperson also encouraged victims and their parents to come forward and share their experiences, adding that action can only be taken if the government is aware of any such incident. She also advised parents to educate their children on the matter and encourage them to speak up.
“If their kids go through such an incident, they should inform the administration and also tell the government so that we can remove those evil humans, who are in the form of teachers,” said the spokesperson.
Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas says that he will personally be dealing with the case.
Later, in a press conference, the minister announced that the provincial government would bring a new act for private institutions.
Lauding the students for their courage, Dr Raas said that the students who reported sexual harassment had gone through considerable mental anguish. He shared that more than 20 students spoke to him and broke down while narrating their ordeals.
“A written complaint of the incidents is required, without which action cannot be taken,” he said. “We are going to bring a new act for private schools [and] we are adding legislation on harassment to our laws.”
The Punjab minister said the government could only help people when written requests were submitted.
Meanwhile, Chairperson Child Protection & Welfare Bureau Punjab Sarah Ahmad shared that the school did not respond when officers from the bureau went to the school.
Earlier, Federal Minister for Human Right Dr Shireen Mazari also took notice of the allegations and said that the regional offices have been alerted on the matter.
Principal, administrator and coordinator suspended
Director of the institute Nighat Ali said that all five employees who were accused of harassing female students were fired from their jobs, while the principal, administrator and coordinator, who were accused of covering up the incidents, have also been suspended.
She added that an inquiry committee has been constituted to probe further into the matter.
“The school has full authority to take legal action against the culprits and if the charges against the dismissed employees are proven, an action will be taken against them,” Ali said.
On June 28, dozens of girls came forward with accounts of harassment and inappropriate behaviour by teachers at Lahore Grammar School (LGS) 1A1 Ghalib Market Branch. The management of the school, including female teachers, also came under fire for brushing the matter under the carpet for years. It is pertinent to mention here that most of the girls studying at the school were minors at the time.
Such incidents had reportedly been going on for the past four or five years and the victims had been reporting the matter to the admin and their teachers. However, they took no action and resorted to victim-blaming. Strict and immediate action was only taken after the girls shared their ordeal on social media and the matter became public.
According to details, students have come forward and shared their experiences of being harassed by three teachers namely Aitezaz Rehman Sheikh, Umer Shareef and Zahid Iqbal Warraich. All three teachers were fired hours after the allegations surfaced.