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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi rejected a petition of one Dr Humayun Iqbal requesting to dismiss the order of a de novo inquiry against him and upheld the penalty of termination of service imposed by the anti-harassment committee and syndicate of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University.

The accused, a cardiac surgeon and an assistant professor at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), had filed an appeal against the decision of Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace to conduct a de novo inquiry into the matter.

The ombudsman had set aside the findings/ recommendations of the anti-harassment committee and sent the case back to the University for conducting a de novo inquiry.

Besides, in a similar petition, the complainant had also requested to set aside the impugned order of the ombudsman and uphold the recommendations of the anti-harassment committee, a press statement issued on Sunday said.

The committee then imposed the penalty of termination of service upon the accused in 2018.

The syndicate of the university approved the recommendations of the committee and terminated the accused from the service.

The accused filed an appeal before the ombudsman who set aside the recommendations of the committee and ordered to send the case back to the organisation for conducting a de novo inquiry to provide both the parties full opportunity of hearing and producing the evidence.

Subsequently, both the accused and the complainant, filed the representations with the president against the decision of the ombudsman.

The accused prayed to set aside the order of the ombudsman to the extent of conducting the de novo inquiry against him while the complainant requested to uphold the recommendations of the committee.

During the course of proceedings, it was informed that the previous conduct history of the accused reflected that he had assaulted women in the past.

He was removed from being a registered doctor in the United Kingdom and also expelled from service by the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology on allegations of sexual misconduct.

The president observed that few women dared to come forward with the complaint of harassment and those who do so, have to face the uphill task of proving it. He further observed that the said case has been lingering on since 2017 and it would be unfair to delay it further. He maintained that the decision of the inquiry committee regarding the imposition of the penalty of termination of service was well constituted which was also upheld by the syndicate.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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