GILGIT: Political leaders from Pakistan Peoples Party and the Awami Workers’ Party have condemned the detention of two students of the Karakoram International University Gilgit.
The two students, identified as Tauqeer and Faisal, were detained a couple of days. They were reportedly involved in organizing protest demonstrations after students of KIU came forward accusing an official of sexual misconduct and harassment. Hundreds of students had protested at the KIU Gilgit campus, and also in Skardu and Hunza, demanding action against the accused official.
KIU formed a three-member committee on November 20, promising ‘fair and timely’ investigation of the allegations. No investigation report has been brought to the fore so far, however.
GB Assembly’s member Said Danish, spokesperson of PPP, has called the detention of the students a ‘shameless’ act, accusing the university of trying to protect officials involved in sexual harassment of students. She has also demanded installation of the cameras in all offices and classes rooms of KIU to ensure safety of the students. She has also expressed concerns over the ‘constant reports’ of sexual harassment emerging from KIU, the only center of higher learning in the Giglit Division of GB.
Awarmi Workers Party’s Asif Sakhi has threatened to start a long march from Sost to Gilgit if the investigation report of the sexual harassment was not made public and if no action was taken against the accused university official, Syed Ahmad, who works in the scholarship department. The accused official denies the allegation against him. He has accused the students of ‘conspiring’ against him after failing to get scholarships.
According to reports making the round of social media, at least five female students have come forward with allegations of harassment during the last two months.
Accusations of sexual harassment have been emerging from the Karakoram International University over the past few years. In the past, an official was transferred to a different campus after similar accusations. KIU promises investigations and committees are formed, but the reports never come out.