The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has recently released the findings of its inquiry committee that was formed to investigate the allegations of drug use, sexual harassment, and distribution of inappropriate videos at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB). The committee has dismissed the allegations as baseless and recommended strict actions against the individual officers involved in illicit activities.
Background of the Scandal
The IBU scandal came to light on July 24, 2023, when the Chief Security Officer of IUB, Syed Ejaz Shah, was arrested by the police at a checkpoint while trying to flee. A search of his vehicle led to the discovery of drugs and medicines used for sexual pleasure. The police also claimed to have found more than 5,500 obscene videos and pictures of women, involving university staff members and students, on his phone.
The news sparked outrage and concern among the public and the academic community, as it raised questions about the safety and reputation of the university. The Punjab Governor took swift action by establishing a one-member tribunal led by Justice Sardar Mohammad Sarfraz Dogar to conduct a thorough investigation into the scandal.
The HEC also formed its own inquiry committee on July 28, 2023, to probe into the allegations and determine if there was any organized effort related to indecent videos within the university. The committee also investigated the activities of the former vice-chancellor and reviewed the administrative and academic irregularities in the university’s operations.
Findings of the Inquiry Committee
The inquiry committee submitted its report on September 12, 2023, and revealed the following facts:
- No evidence was found supporting allegations of an organized effort related to indecent videos within the university. The videos in question were unrelated to IUB and were downloaded from various websites. The forensic report also confirmed that there were no videos on Shah’s phone.
- Claims of organized drug and “ice” activities also appeared to be baseless. However, certain discrepancies arose as two to three university officers were found to have engaged in individual illicit activities. The investigation committee has recommended strict actions against the officers in question.
- The former vice-chancellor was found to have violated various rules and regulations regarding appointments, promotions, transfers, and financial matters. He was also accused of misusing his authority and creating hurdles for the new vice-chancellor. The committee has suggested legal action against him.
- The committee also identified several administrative and academic issues in the university’s operations, such as lack of transparency, accountability, merit, quality assurance, research output, faculty development, student welfare, etc. The committee has recommended immediate measures to address these issues and improve the performance and governance of the university.
Implications of the Report
The report has cleared IUB from any involvement in obscene videos scandal and has restored its credibility and reputation as a leading public sector university in Pakistan. The report has also highlighted the need for reforms and improvements in the higher education sector to ensure excellence, integrity, and accountability.
The HEC has appreciated the efforts of the inquiry committee and has assured its full support to IUB in implementing the recommendations of the report. The HEC has also urged all universities to follow the rules and regulations set by it and to maintain high standards of quality education and research.
What are your thoughts on this report? Do you think it is fair and transparent? Do you think it will help improve the higher education system in Pakistan? Share your views with us in the comments section below.