The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has formed four ‘Zonal Committees’ in its provincial zones located in Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, and Quetta.
The agency created an ‘Anti-Women Harassment Committee’ at its head office earlier to provide protection against harassment to women at their workplace. Now, it has established committees with the same purpose in its zonal offices, following the ‘The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010.
Section 3 of the said act requires every institution to formulate a three-member bench committee including one member from senior management, a member from the employees, and a female member to take action against the suspects involved in sexual harassment complaints.
However, an independent survey and several media reports point out that over 90 percent of the public and private institutions have not made any such committee.
The committee is also authorized to demote the suspected officer or employee, dismiss him from employment, demand early retirement, or charge a fine, in case he is accused of workplace harassment.
Despite the increasing instances of harassment of women at workplaces, organizations have failed to form inquiry committees due to which the victims have no legal forum to raise their voice in.
In the absence of an inquiry committee, the majority of the cases of sexual harassment go unreported. Even the complaints brought to light by media or taken notice of by the court are raised under pressure, as the case of the alleged sexual assault of a nurse and a lady doctor at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan.