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Event Title: Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights

Event Date: 2019-11-21

Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights in its meeting sought briefing from government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the issue of threats to Principal, Edwardes College Peshawar. The principal of the college narrated the incidents in which he and his family received threats at home, at college as well as while travelling. Atif Rehman Additional Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Zahoor Afridi SSP Operations Peshawar told the committee that all the incidents were triggered by the fact that two parties within the institution are at loggerheads and the matter is not actually of the status of the college but of some steps taken on part of the administration and the principal.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar here at the Parliament House on Thursday and was attended among others by Leader of the House Senator Shibli Faraz, Senators Tahir Bizenjo, Usman Kakar, Dr. Jahanzaib Jamaldini, Dr. Mehr Taj Roughani, Keshoo Bai, Kamran Micheal, Qurrat ul Ain Marri and officials from relevant government departments. The Committee with consensus decided to refer the matter to the Leader of the House in the Senate Senator Shibli Faraz as he is well versed with the issue and the institute as an alumnus to reach to an acceptable solution of the problem in one month’s time.

While discussing the fate of PMDC employees after promulgation of Ordinance, Dr. Arsalan Haider Secretary PMC, told the committee that the council’s meeting is due on 29 November to discuss the fate of the employees. He said that former employees will be given consideration but new rules will guide it. Secretary National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination told the committee that the fate of the ordinance will be decided by the Parliament but as of now many of the former employees have gone to the Lahore High Court. He said that if the ordinance is revoked then the situation will go back to as it was in 2012 and then the previous setup can revise or revoke the decisions taken in this time under the ordinance. The Committee was told by the affected employees that around 250 employees have been affected by this hasty ordinance and the promised six basic salaries have still not been paid. The Committee was assured by Secretary NHSR&C and Secretary PMC that communication has been done with AGPR and the salaries will be disbursed by 1st December.

While discussing the incidents of harassment and blackmailing of students by the University of Balochistan’s staff and steps taken so far, the Committee was told that on the direction of the committee, inspection was carried out and the number of cameras has now been reduced from 91 to 56. Vice Chancellor of the university told the committee that the next hearing of the investigation being conducted by Federal Investigation Agency has been scheduled for 2nd December and further directives can be communicated afterwards. He also told that during meetings with IG FC they were told that Frontier Constabulary will vacate the premises and remove all posts but hasn’t given any time frame for doing the same. The university is currently in a debt of 16 crore rupees and it does not have any money to pay salaries and pensions. The committee members were of the view that most of the issues of the university can be attributed to the previous vice chancellor who despite all the problems and allegations wasn’t removed from service but instead transferred to another institute. The committee was also given a briefing by HEC on the Anti-harassment policy framework developed by HEC. The committee asked HEC to present before the committee any correspondence done with Balochistan University in the past on constitution of a harassment committee at the university. 300 police staff in the premises may also be reduced.

While discussing the issue of convicted paedophile Sohail Ayaz who was employed as a consultant in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, the committee was told by RPO that the convicted is a 46 years old chartered accountant who has previously worked and travelled in 9 countries and has also been tried and convicted in United Kingdom and Italy. One case against him was registered by Punjab Police on 12th November and two on 14th November. The Committee was told that he targeted children from ages 8-15 and he has admitted having wronged 30 children. He said that after the news reports were run on media, more complainants came up to register their cases against him. The Committee was told that the police department is working on the case meticulously so that no lacuna is left for acquittal. The Committee appreciated the wsift investigation of the police but at the same time expressed surprise as to how this man was hired as a consultant twice by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. The Committee decided to call FIA, Interior in the next meeting and also sought the convicted man’s CV as well as the advertisement against which he was hired.