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Friday September 29, 2023

Harassment at workplace: Panel recommends Pemra officer’s reinstatement

By Our Correspondent
May 29, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A special parliamentary committee for the sacked employees has directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to reinstate an official who was removed from service for harassing a female colleague despite the fact that respective courts and the president of Pakistan had already rejected his appeals for reinstatement, it was learnt on Sunday.

The government had recently formed the committee for the sacked government employees. It is unclear under which law services of an employee who has exhausted all appellate channels could be restored on the directives of the committee. The committee head as well as the Pemra chairman could not be reached for point of view on this question. PEMRA officials, requesting anonymity, told this correspondent they are confused as to how to comply with the orders of the committee when the president and the courts have already rejected the sacked official's appeals.

According to documents, a copy of which is available with this correspondent, the committee, headed by Qadir Khan Mandokhel MNA, had directed secretary information and broadcasting and chairman Pemra on May 3, 2022 to ‘reinstate Haji Adam, former DG Human Resource/Admin, with effect from the date of his termination/removal with all benefits’. It was also directed to immediately withdraw the case (FIR No.387/22) against the applicant.

The committee also issued a show cause notice to Sohail Asif Ali Khan for misguiding and wasting time of the committee.

Haji Adam earlier pleaded that all the proceedings were conducted unilaterally against him in a biased manner. According to him, the department registered an FIR against him. On the other hand, DG HR Sohail Asif Ali told the committee that the said officer was terminated in compliance with the directions of the ombudsman against harassment of women at the workplace.

According to the documents, Haji Adam’s appeal to the president of Pakistan against his termination was also rejected on September 30, 2022.

The special committee also directed regularizing the services of 40 daily wagers (Urdu unit) along with all other daily wagers serving in any other unit/wing of the department.

Some of the affected employees told the committee that they had been working for 15 years but their services were not regularized.

The committee was informed that 35 employees fell in the said category. Keeping in view the long service, the committee directed regularization of services of all 35 employees.

The committee also recommended regularizing the services of Naeem uI Hassan and 10 others. It also directed regularizing the services of 70 employees working as researchers and coordinators in the department.

With regard to the issue of 600 pensioners, it was briefed by the department representative that the issue of commutation of pensions had been approved by the board. Hence, the committee directed that commutation and pension be granted to all the employees.

Ms. Humaira Rana, an affected employees, told the committee that her services were terminated in 2020 for filing a case of harassment against a department officer. The committee directed her immediate reinstatement with all allowances and benefits and arrears (if any).

The committee also directed regularization of services of 853 other employees and sought a report within one week.

Applications of Mr. lftikhar and 11 others were handed over to the department with directions to submit a detailed report within seven days.

Upon issues raised by Ms. Hina Chaudhry and Ms. Samina Waqar, the committee sought a detailed report within seven days.

The applications of 72 employees along with the application of Kashif and four others were handed over to the department with direction to submit comments within three days.

With regard to PID employees, the committee observed that in the previous meeting, direction was issued for regularizing the services of 33 employees of the Pakistan Information Center Project. The committee directed that job security of all these employees be ensured and extend their contract/project till approval of PC-IV from the Planning Division.

He committee observed with grave concern that despite repeated notices, no one from the ministry attended the meeting. Hence it was recommended that a show-cause notice be issued to the secretary concerned with further direction to the Establishment Division to initiate the process for stopping his salary.