Mohammad Gibrail’s lawyer says reinstatement shows potential power of student organization and protest
Karachi’s Institute of Business Administration (IBA) on Tuesday reinstated student Mohammad Gibrail a week after expelling him for sharing on social media details of alleged workplace harassment at the varsity.
Gibrail had, in August, posted on Facebook that a male employee of IBA’s finance department had allegedly berated and threatened a woman employee in front of him. In its expulsion notice, the IBA said he had refused to take down the post until the completion of an ongoing probe by the varsity’s anti-harassment committee. However, it added, he had the right to appeal his expulsion.
The case provoked outrage on social media, with many describing it as tantamount to punishing whistleblowers and abetting harassment.
On Tuesday, IBA said its Executive Director S. Akbar Zaidi had heard Gibrail’s appeal against the disciplinary committee’s decision to expel him, adding that the student had “reaffirmed his respect for the IBA and the executive director and his commitment to the institution.” It said that Gibrail had agreed to withdraw parts of his appeal “unrelated to his expulsion” and been reinstated with immediate effect.
“The IBA looks forward to all stakeholders, including students, engaging in a responsible, healthy and constructive discourse with the aim of taking the institution to new heights,” the statement added.
“Congratulations to all students! Gibrail’s admission on appeal to [IBA Karachi] has been restored unconditionally,” lawyer Jibran Nasir posted on Twitter. “Furthermore, [the executive director] has also committed reforms to make IBA safer, give students representation in admin affairs and expeditious and transparent inquiry into harassment case,” he added.
Noting that this reinstatement showed the “power and potential of student organization and protest,” he said the incident had made a case for a “free political environment on campus” as well as robust student bodies to empower youth and prepare them for leadership roles.
“There is strength in numbers and solidarity, don’t shy away from taking the right and principled stance and it will only encourage your peers as Gibrail’s resolve encouraged fellow students of IBA to speak up and join him,” he added.