PM Imran’s Focal Person Fahd Haroon Protected Sexual Harassers At Samaa FM, Claims Victim
Tehreem Muniba, a former Radio broadcaster at Samaa FM who recently won a sexual harassment case against her colleagues after two years of legal battle, revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Focal Person on Information Analytics Fahd Haroon had protected her harassers.
Talking to Naya Daur, she said that Fahd Haroon was her boss at the time of the incident. When she complained to Haroon against her harassers, he sent her on an indefinite leave instead of acting against the accused. “He assured that an investigation will be carried out against the perpetrators, but no action was taken”, she adds.
Moreover, in his testimony before the Ombudsperson, Fahd Haroon concealed evidence by falsely denying that CCTV cameras were installed in the office, she said. Muniba also revealed that the admin head of Samaa FM had admitted that the relevant videos from the office had been deleted deliberately, supposedly on the orders of Fahd Haroon.
The struggle for justice continues for Tehreem Muniba even after the Sindh Ombdusperson against Harassment of Women at the Workplace has issued a verdict in her favor, as she now has to face a defamation suit filed against her by the management of Samaa FM in the Sindh High Court (SHC).
Although allegations of sexual harassment against her former colleagues have been proven in court, she still has to fight against the powerful radio network and its management including Chief Operating Officer Fahd Haroon, as they refuse to withdraw the now invalid case against her.
Tehreem Muniba formally lodged complaints of sexual harassment under Section 4 (4) (ii) (e) of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace the Act, 2010, against her former colleagues in 2018. After two years of fighting for justice, the court ruled in her favor on May 22 and levied a fine of Rs100,000 on seven staff members of Samaa TV to pay to the complainant as compensation. Ironically, the management at Samaa TV also filed a lawsuit against Muniba in the Sindh High Court, demanding compensation of Rs500 million over defamation charges.
Recalling her five years working as a broadcaster at Samaa FM, Tehreem said, “It was a male dominated environment in the office.”
Even after leaving the organization, she continued to suffer due to the two cases she was fighting – as complainant in one and defendant in the other – in court. “I was fighting for justice, not to damage the reputation of the organization, but they filed defamation charges to stop me from taking legal action against them. They even sent me home on leave to detract me from pursuing the case.”
However, the broadcaster is glad after the ombudsperson’s decision. She says women should avail this legal option instead of putting up with harassment and intimidation at workplace.
‘Ombudsperson’s decision should be celebrated’
Activist Nighat Dad of the Digital Rights Foundation also appreciated the ombudsperson for a landmark decision and praised the courage demonstrated by the applicant. She said that this decision would set a positive precedent, not only for women but for the larger community, as the law protects all individuals, including both men and women.
Dad remarked that there are many cases in which evidence is available but the traditional environment prevents them from reaching their logical end. There is a need to ensure implementation mechanisms in the laws against harassment in workplaces so that individuals can freely raise their voices against unfair treatment, Dad said.
She added that the media should cover such successful case studies in a positive way to convey a message of hope, and to set the path for a wider legislation against sexual harassment, covering not only a company’s own employees but also outsourced staff.
Meanwhile, Fahd Haroon did not respond to Naya Daur’s request for comment.