A sex scandal involving a senior official of Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) has rocked the academic community in Pakistan. The official was arrested by the police for allegedly having hundreds of obscene videos and images of university staff and students, as well as drugs, in his mobile phone. The scandal has raised questions about the safety and dignity of women in educational institutions, as well as the role of authorities in preventing and punishing such crimes.
How a Sex Scandal Shook Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB)
The Shocking Discovery
The scandal came to light when the police stopped a white car at a checkpoint in Bahawalpur, a city in the southern province of Punjab, on July 22, 2023. The driver of the car was a senior official of IUB, who tried to escape by taking a wrong turn. The police searched his car and found a black purse and five pills used for sexual enhancement. They also seized two mobile phones from him, which contained numerous explicit videos and images of women, some of whom were identified as IUB staff and students.
The police registered a case against the official under the Narcotics Act and sent the videos and images for forensic analysis. They also launched an investigation to find out if the official was involved in blackmailing or harassing the women in the videos and images. The official was suspended by the university administration and a committee was formed to probe the matter.
The Reaction of the Victims
The scandal has caused outrage and fear among the IUB community, especially the female staff and students. Some of them spoke to BBC Urdu on condition of anonymity, expressing their anger and distress over the incident. They said that they felt unsafe and violated in the university environment, where they expected to be respected and protected. They also demanded that the culprits be punished severely and that their privacy be respected.
One student said that her parents told her not to go to the university anymore, as they feared for her safety. Another student said that she spent the whole day in fear and anxiety, as everyone was talking about the scandal and asking questions about the videos and images. A third student said that she hoped that the videos and images were not leaked and that if they were, then the perpetrators should be punished in any case.
The Denial of the Accused
The official who was arrested by the police has denied all the allegations against him. His lawyer, Farooq Bashir Advocate, told BBC Urdu that his client was innocent and that he had no obscene videos or images in his phone. He claimed that the police had not shown him any evidence of such content and that they were trying to tarnish his reputation. He also said that the university should not be subjected to media trial and that his client should be given a fair chance to defend himself.
The lawyer also questioned the credibility of the police, saying that they had not followed proper procedures while arresting his client. He said that they had not informed him or his family about his arrest and that they had not presented him before a magistrate within 24 hours, as required by law. He said that he would challenge these violations in court and seek bail for his client.
The Implications of the Scandal
The scandal has exposed the dark side of sexual harassment and exploitation in educational institutions in Pakistan, where women often face discrimination and abuse. It has also highlighted the need for effective measures to prevent such crimes and to provide justice and support to the victims.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, sexual harassment is widespread in Pakistani schools, colleges, and universities, but it is rarely reported or punished. The report says that many women do not report such incidents due to fear of retaliation, stigma, or lack of trust in authorities. It also says that many educational institutions do not have proper policies or mechanisms to deal with sexual harassment complaints or to protect whistleblowers.
The report recommends that Pakistan should enact and enforce laws against sexual harassment in educational institutions, as well as provide training and awareness programs for staff and students. It also urges Pakistan to ratify the International Labour Organization Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, which covers sexual harassment in educational settings.
The scandal at IUB has shown that sexual harassment is not only a violation of human rights, but also a threat to academic excellence and social development. It has also shown that women deserve respect and dignity in every sphere of life, especially in places where they seek knowledge and empowerment.
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