After charges cleared: Male accused of harassment serves legal notice on bosses, complainant – 11 May 2022

ISLAMABAD: After a two-year struggle to clear himself of harassment allegations which caused him mental toture, this is Akmal Ghumman’s turn to return bosses the same coin. A senior producer at Radio Pakistan, Ghumman has done something unprecedented.

He has served legal notices to the Secretary Information & Broadcasting, Director General Radio Pakistan of that time, director programming and the complainant against him. Ghumman has demanded an unconditional apology within 15 days for causing him social and psychological harm. Failing in tendering an apology would result in legal proceedings against them for claiming the damages, according to the notice. This sordid episode started in June 2020 when Ghumman reported to his seniors the observations about the alleged casual and unprofessional attitude of a female resource person who was his subordinate. The controller external services forwarded these observations along with his comments to the director programme, Khalida Nuzhat.

After getting wind of the matter, the female resource person lodged a complaint against Ghumman in which she alleged him of harassment. Altaf Shah, a deputy controller at Pakistan Radio, was assigned the investigation into the matter. Khalida Nuzhat, the director of the programme, issued a warning to Ghumman after the report was submitted to her.

Ghumman wondered what was the indictment in the report against him that resulted in the issuance of a warning. He sought the report and it was denied.

He invoked the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, commonly known as Right to Information (RTI) Law. Again, he was denied. He could obtain the report only through the intervention of Pakistan Information Commission, the appellant forum against the government departments denying the information. In the report, it was mentioned that the complainant “couldn’t prove her allegations.” Nevertheless, the then-DG Radio, Ambreen Jan, recommended the issuance of a warning note to Ghumman which was done by Khalida Nuzhat. Upset at this baseless warning which contained highly objectionable language, Ghumman went into appeal to the then-Secretary Information & Broadcasting, Akbar Hussain Durrani demanding the withdrawal of the warning letter as the inquiry had cleared him of allegations.

Instead, the secretary referred the matter to an anti-harassment committee composed of a male and two female officers. Despite repeated notices, the complainant didn’t appear before the committee.

Resultantly, the anti-harassment committee also declared him innocent. Again, Ghumman was refused the copy of the report which he obtained through the Pakistan Information Commission.

While he stood vindicated, Ghumman suffered a lot mentally and emotionally. Day in and day out, he had to plead his innocence before his colleagues and the family. On the other hand, his bosses disregarded the trauma he went through and were not even willing to share with him the inquiry findings.

Consequently, he has served them with legal notice to apologise for this inhuman treatment and is set to drag them into the court in case they fail to accept their fault.

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