Sexual abuse of students
PESHAWAR – Additional District and Sessions judge Farhatullah Khan on Friday extended till Nov 3 the pre-arrest bail granted to nine former employees of a local school in a case of sexual abuse of students.
The court issued directives to the prosecution to produce all relevant documents, including the report of a judicial inquiry, conducted in the case by another judge, Jamal Khan.
The nine accused, including three former headmasters of the City Government Higher Secondary School No 3 for Boys, were granted pre-arrest bail on Oct 25 and Oct 29 was fixed for arguments on their joint bail application.
Due to non-production of the relevant record, hearing of the case was adjourned. Advocates Abdul Lateef Afridi, Sattar Khan and Ms Nusrat Yasmeen appeared for the applicants, whereas additional public prosecutor Zaheeruddin Babar represented the state.
A judicial inquiry conducted by the Additional District and Sessions Judge Jamal Khan had found the nine teachers and other school employees guilty of sexual abusing students. The employees moved the court after an FIR was registered against them on the directives of the provincial government in the Kabuli Police Station on Oct 23.
The FIR was registered under Sections 377, 409, 420, 468 and 471 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The nine accused are: three teachers Himayatullah, Abdul Qayyum and Mubarak Ahmad; clerks Shahnawaz and Muhammad Humayun; watchman Abdul Baseer; and three former headmasters, Syed Hussain Shah, Abdul Rashid Khan and Gul Nawaz.
In the inquiry, the judicial officer had held six of the accused directly responsible for the sexual abuse whereas three others were found guilty of abetment as they remained silent over the wrong-doings.
During the judicial inquiry, the inquiry officer recorded statements of different people, including the former principals, teachers and other staff members and students.
The terms of reference of the inquiry was: background and causes of the incident; fixing responsibility on each score, if any; and recommendations. The issue surfaced in September last year and the government transferred all staff members of the school.
There were many allegations against the employees and in news reports it was stated that a number of students had to leave the school due to such immoral activities of the school staff.
The gang members reportedly used to award corporal punishments to those students who did not submit to them. Similarly, they used other tactics for wooing the students and used to fail or pass students to force them into submission.
The NWFP Assembly on Sep 27, 2003, had referred the issue to a standing committee on schools and literacy which constituted a sub-committee to investigate the matter.
The sub-committee finally recommended a judicial inquiry of the matter. Earlier, an inquiry was also conducted by the Schools and Literacy Department, but it had exonerated the guilty school staff members.