Countrywide Protests Held on Balochistan University’s Sexual Harassment

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Shafaqna Pakistan:The students of Balochistan University continue to protest against the university administration after a series of reports harassing students emerged on media.

Various student organisations on Thursday staged a protest outside the Quetta Press Club against alleged harassment and blackmailing of students by few members of the university administration.

Countrywide protests
The student protest organized under the banner of Students Educational Alliance, the leaders leading the protest accused the UoB Vice-Chancellor responsible for the entire scandal, claiming that the VC was “head of the blackmailers and saviour of the culprits”. The protest entered the fourth day on Thursday. The students also marched throughout the university to mount the pressure on the administration to take action against the culprits.

The protests were held not only in Balochistan University but in several other universities across Pakistan including Punjab University to express solidarity with the victims of sexual harassment.

A day earlier, the UoB’s Academic Staff Association had distanced itself from the scandal and pointed the finger at the university administration, including the VC.

The scandal surfaced a month ago after Balochistan High Court had ordered Federal Investigative Agency to probe the reports of sexual harassment of students at the university.

The FIA in the investigation revealed that several students including both male and female were being blackmailed by some staff members through ‘objectionable’ videos of them, recorded through CCTV cameras hidden at various places on the campus including its washrooms.

The videos were recorded using at least six hidden cameras that were secretly installed at various spots in the university’s Quetta campus, in addition to the already existing official CCTV cameras.

FIA has reported having recovered 12 videos, with females making up most of the victims.

Official sources claimed that the videos were personal and involved the mingling of female and male students. These videos from the cameras installed in the washrooms and smoking areas were used to harass students. The FIA has so far interrogated nearly 200 officials of Balochistan University.

The investigation into the scandal is expected to delay further following the failure of the meeting to elect the chairman to head a 10-member body of Balochistan’s Assembly Parliamentary Committee, formulated to probe the scandal.

Public Reaction

The startling revelations stirred reactions from various public office holders and institutions. Governor Balochistan Amanullah Khan Yasinzai, who is also chancellor of all provincial universities, assured to take strict action against criminals involved in harassing students.

“Whosoever found involved in demoralizing educational structure in Balochistan will be brought to justice because the UoB’s scandal has triggered anger in society,” the governor said.