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PM Imran’s Close Aide Accused Of Sexual Harassment, Summoned By Ombudsperson

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment (FOSPAH) of women issued notice to Chairman of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) Zulqarnain Ali Khan who also happens to be PM Imran Khan’s aide over sexual harassment of a former employee of USC on Tuesday.

The Federal Ombudsman Kashmala Tariq also summoned the head of the Human Resource (HR) section of the USC and other individuals in a complaint lodged by a former employee of the USC. In the complaint she alleges she was sexually harassed by the chairman and was sacked for not consenting to his inappropriate moves.

It should be noted here that Zulqarnain Ali Khan is Prime Minister Imran Khan close aide and the financier of Middle East for the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He was appointed by the Prime Minister back in 2018 as USC Chairman.

Maimoona Qaiyum Shaikh, a Karachi resident and London financer for the ruling party was allegedly harassed by the chairman of the USC as the complainant in her application submitted that she was appointed as consultant in the USC back in July 2019 for a period of three months against a salary of Rs80,000. The complainant had done her masters in economics from Karachi and is a diploma holder from the UK.

The complainant further submitted that the Chairman of the USC after appointing her to the said post offered her a flat to live in the luxurious residential complex Silver Oaks which she accepted reluctantly as the chairman claimed that this is government residence. She says she was not aware of the fact that this flat was owned by the chairman of USC. She added that she was also given a Suzuki Swift car for pick & drop to the head office of the USC  in Islamabad.

The complainant further claimed, “When I shifted to the apartment in luxurious F-10 Markaz, Zulqarnain Khan -the USC chairman- visited me and asked about my routine and other ongoing activities which irritated me and when I asked how he entered the house, he said he had a spare key. Later he started making demands for sexual favors and it was quite shocking that a person of my father’s age could fall to that level. I firmly asked him to leave the house and the next day vacated my house and my job was terminated.” 

The complainant was asked in the hearing about her appointment in the department on which she responded that she had dropped her CV and requested a family friend -the late Naeemul Haque, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affair. She said she came all the way from Karachi to settle in Islamabad and Naeemul Haque had recommended her CV to Zulqarnain Ali Khan.

It should be noted here that the PM aide faced various alleged corruption charges. The Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) had written a letter to Mr Khan and sought a reply from him for allegedly giving the contract of technology up gradation to his company and appointing one of his relatives as corporation’s board member. The ministry in a letter sent to chairman also said that he is exceeding his authority repeatedly as the USC chairman.

The Federal Ombudsman Kashmala Tariq sought record from the human resource department of the USC to check whether the job to the complainant was advertised or not and she argued that they will check the record whether this was regular appointment or was a purpose of blackmailing. She added that a group of people in various departments are blackmailing the women in different government offices and that is the reason why the court is checking the whole record whether this appointment was done on merits or not? The court adjourned the hearing till 16th Dec.

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Naya Daur