Probe into reports of harassment incidents underway as LGS 1A1 dismisses all four accused
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Wednesday took notice of allegations of sexual harassment at a branch of the Lahore Grammar School, which dismissed four accused employees a day earlier after the news went viral on social media.
According to local media, the chief minister has directed Lahore’s Capital City Police Officer to launch an impartial inquiry into the incident, adding that there would be zero tolerance of any harassment of students in the province.
“Action should be taken against the accused under law,” the chief minister said. He said the students who had been harassed would be ensured justice at all costs. The chief minister’s directions follow the local administration’s announcement of its own investigation into the scandal.
On Tuesday, after multiple students linked to the 1A1 branch of the school revealed stories of harassment on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Lahore’s District Education Authority formed a three-member committee to investigate the staff accused of harassing students. Headed by Government Islamia High School Principal Ghyas Sabir, it also includes Model Town deputy district education officers Shahid Ali Shah and Sadia Naeem as its members.
The committee has been asked to “dig out facts” and probe the sexual harassment allegations leveled by multiple current and former students of the LGS 1A1 branch against four male employees. It has been directed to submit a report with related corrective recommendations within three days.
In a posting on Twitter, Punjab School Education Minister Murad Raas said he would “deal with the case in Lahore Grammar School 1A1 myself.” He said he was gathering details himself and vowed that the case would be brought to a proper conclusion. “These children are my children. I will protect them,” he added.
Reports of the sexual harassment allegations at the girls’ private school emerged on social media last week. According to postings by students, four members of staff are accused of sexual harassment and misconduct:
- Aitzaz Sheikh, an A-levels teacher who taught debate and politics and also coached for the school’s Model United Nations team
- Zahid Warraich, an A-levels chemistry teacher
- Umar Sharif, an administrator
- Shehzad Irshad, a school custodian
The students claimed the allegations against the four accused had been forwarded to the 1A1 branch’s staff multiple times but no action had been taken. They said an administrator had blamed them for the sexual harassment, and told them to “stop dressing revealingly” if they wanted to avoid the abuse.
After nearly a week of the allegations going public, the school dismissed all four accused and also immediately suspended the services of 1A1 principal Rubina Shakil, administrator Maira Omair Rana, and coordinator Rubab Hassan. In a statement, it said students had provided evidence against the accused men in the form of videos, photographs and indecent messages.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has also taken notice of the incident and urged any survivors of sexual harassment to contact the Ministry of Human Rights’ helpline at 1099. “Have taken note of serious harassment allegations of young girls and women at educational institutions—most recently at two premier private institutions in Lahore. MOHR helpline 1099 is available for complaints and for help. Our regional offices have been alerted on this issue,” she posted on Twitter.