ISLAMABAD - A three-member probe committee of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) has honourably exonerated a professor from the charges of sexual harassment made by a female student about two months ago that brought a bad name to the varsity and sparked a debate for making stringent laws to curb harassment at educational institutes.

The committee absolved the teacher from the charges respectfully as the allegations levelled by a female student against her department in-charge were unsubstantiated by the evidences she presented before the committee, confirmed QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Etazaz Ahmad.

The witnesses she presented spoke in favour of the professor instead, he added. The probe committee at QAU heard sexual harassment accusations made by a female student against Ajmal Waheed, the in-charge of Quaid-e-Azam School of Management Sciences (QASMS). As the university had dissolved anti-harassment committee after being informed by the President Office that anti-harassment act did not apply on educational institutions, the case was referred to the incumbent committee as it was already probing another harassment case under efficiency and discipline rules.

Another disciplinary committee was already hearing a case against the student for using unfair means in examination of MBA 5th semester. That committee has also decided against the student unanimously and directed the student to repeat the semester that is minimum punishment a student is awarded for cheating.

The student has rejected the decisions of both the committees and plans to pursue the cases in the Federal Ombudsperson Secretariat for protection against harassment of women at workplace and in courts. An application has already been forwarded to the Ombudsman Secretariat, as we were dissatisfied with university investigations, she maintained.

The teacher had pleaded not guilty, saying that the case was fabricated against him as he had refused to help withdraw a cheating case against the student and get her passed in a subject.

“I’m happy that the committee has unearthed the truth after detailed meetings and interviews. And I had shown my confidence on the committee,” said the teacher.  “I have no bad blood against my students but the way the issue was exaggerated in the traditional and social media without any investigation and with continued mudslinging, the words they used for me damaged my reputation and caused me inexplicable pain,” he regretted.

Though the case can be referred to the ombudsperson for any action for making false accusations, the committee has neither made any recommendations in this case because of immense pressure from media nor it was powered to do so, said an official.

Earlier, in January a three-member probe committee looking into cases of sexual harassment at the university had also decided not to frame any charge against a professor of anthropology department as the allegations levelled by a female student were also not proven by the evidence for a number of reasons.