January 21st, 2022
By Ahmed Saeed
The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi has dismissed an employee of finance department after the anti-harassment committee found him guilty of the harassing a female colleague last year in August. The committee also ordered to demote another staff member and reprimanded the concerned head of department ‘for failing to address the issue in a proactive manner.’
“This decision gives me some confidence that the anti-harassment process we have at the IBA, works”, read an email by the executive director IBA Syed Akbar Zaidi sent to all students. “The IBA has zero tolerance for any type of harassment”, the email read.
The harassment incident was reported by then final-semester student, Muhammad Gibrail on the social media and it went viral.
“This was actually the incident of a workplace harassment that took place in front of my eyes in IBA’s Finance Department where [I] saw a person whom, I inquired his identity late, named Tanveer, yelled at a female [employee] of IBA in that Finance Department and bursted on her, ” Mein Raat tak tumhe bithaonga”,” Gibrail’s post read.
The varsity students’ demanded the administration to take action against the alleged harasser. In the meanwhile, the female employee also filed also filed a harassment application on September 7.
But, the IBA administration, instead of launching an investigation into the incident and taking action against the alleged harasser, ordered Gibrail to delete the post. He was also told to issue a public apology and was threatened with expulsion in the case of non-compliance.
The whistleblower, however, refused to take down the post and decided to face the disciplinary proceedings against him. The disciplinary committee on 29 found Gibrail guilty of defaming and maligning the university, inciting the masses to protest, attempting to influence the decisions of relevant committees, and non-compliance with institutional procedures.
The committee imposed a penalty of expulsion from the institute and the hostel with immediate effect.
The expulsion order was widely condemned by rights organizations and individuals including prominent IBA Alumni on the social media and demanded of the IBA’s executive director Syed Akbar Zaidi to reverse the decision and to take action against the alleged harasser.
Gibrail filed a review petition against the expulsion and after hearing the said petition, Zaidi reinstated the expelled student on October 6.
Rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir, who also provided legal assistance to Gibrail after his expulsion, hailed the decision of terminating the employee.
“I hope this experience & outcome at IBA will push student bodies of other unis to also push for reforms on their campuses as there is no honest expectations from universities themselves to introspect and bring in reforms. Things will change for the better but not without struggle”, Nasir tweeted.