University of Balochistan lecturers have come under fire again as claims from its female students have increased regarding harassment and blackmail used by the school officials to demand sex.
The case had come to light recently when the Balochistan High Court (BHC) directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate reports of students being harassed at the university.
The case of Rahila had caused uproar amongst students in the school, as in a bid to help secure admission into the University of Balochistan, a lecturer who promise to help began making sexual advances towards her.
Rahila alleges the lecturer began to harass her by sending her text messages, mostly at night and threatened to cancel her admission when she did not reply to him.
This is reportedly just one of the many cases of alleged sexual harassment at this government-run university against the students.
Balochistan reportedly has a female literacy rate of 33.5 percent, and the danger of harassment is often cited by parents who refuse to send their daughters to school.
According to the country’s bureau of statistics, only 5.1 percent of Pakistan’s 102 million women ever completed college education.
News of the scandal led Javed Iqbal, the university’s vice-chancellor, to step down, and many parents pulled their daughters out of the university.
The University of Balochistan home with about 10,000 students studying different courses has been regarded as a not typical university campus. Located on Sariab Road in the southern quarter of Quetta, the area has often been the site of suicide bombings or targeted attacks against security forces or, on occasion, university officials.
University of Balochistan security CCTV scandal
The University currently has 56 security cameras in operation, down from 94 cameras, after the significant security scandal that rocked the university.
According to the registrar, the university disconnected “unnecessary” cameras, referring to the installation of unauthorized places like the bathrooms.
The University of Balochistan also stated that security cameras had been installed all over the campus to safeguard students and faculty against that threat, and both police and paramilitary soldiers are stationed across the university.
Students, however, fear that the pervasive security on campus had undermined their learning experience. Others say it has contributed to the atmosphere of harassment at the University.
During the investigation into the video scandal, the FIA obtained university and security officials’ laptops and mobile phones, and Saifullah Langove, the head of the security control room, was removed from his post.
The senior FIA official investigating the case said there was no standard operating procedure for how the data collected on them would be used.
Students call for the prosecution of ex-VC
Hundreds of students have taken to the streets, including in the capital, Islamabad, and organized sit-ins at Universities across the country, demanding the prosecution of Iqbal.
Iqbal has previously refuted the allegations, stating he had no involvement in this scandal. He also claimed the charges are based on lies.
Javed Iqbal, University of Balochistan vice-chancellor, said that he was vacating his post until the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) concluded its inquiry into claims that CCTV footage of students was used by university officials to blackmail them.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), have also expressed concern about the allegations, and recent fact-finding mission found pieces of evidence of the alleged harassment. One student lamented:
Education is the light to show the straight & right path of life, therefore #Baloch children desire for education but their lives are being destroyed by #Pakistan, because Pakistan deprives them from education & doing atrocity in their homeland #balochistanuniversityscandal