EXCLUSIVE: Is IBA siding with a harasser yet again?

By Cutacut Editorial Team

KARACHI: IBA Karachi seems to be having a hard time keeping itself away from public scrutiny these last few months. From the infamous harassment case that blew up in September last year to the more recent controversy regarding an on-campus rave party, IBA just seems to be making one bad decision after another. Just when we thought that the institute was working on revising policies and implementing better codes of conduct for the students, a problem within the university’s management has resurfaced. On April 22, students and faculty members of IBA received an email from Muhammad Gibrail, the complainant of last year’s harassment case. In his email, Gibrail implied that IBA is set to facilitate a harasser yet again, and hence, Gibrail needs help amplifying the cause. However, this would not be the first time that IBA has sided with a harasser.

In August 2021, Muhammad Gibrail, a final-year student of IBA, witnessed a case of workplace harassment when he saw a male employee yelling at and threatening a female subordinate. Gibrail took up the matter with the anti-harassment committee (AHC) at IBA and also posted about his experience on social media. Gibrail’s Facebook post got a lot of traction and IBA was brought under fire for its lack of harassment laws and overall delaying the matter.

The institute, however, surprised the masses in September 2021 by choosing to expel Muhammad Gibrail for ‘defaming’ IBA and not following ‘proper channels’ to file his complaint. However, after a massive outburst on social media, the management reversed their decision to expel Gibrail in only a week.

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One might think that the decision was a win for Gibrail and the student body at large. Until Gibrail took to social media again to highlight yet another act of injustice happening at the IBA. In his recent Facebook post, Gibrail highlighted how the AHC dealing with his case had declared his expulsion an ‘unjust’ decision. The AHC had also claimed that the decision was made by members of the Disciplinary Committee (DC) under the influence of Dr. A*, the Registrar. Hence, the decision to expel Gibrail was an act of ‘abuse of power’ by the Registrar. In a statement shared by Gibrail on Facebook, the AHC demanded the Registrar to apologize to Gibrail ‘in writing or in presence of the ED (Executive Director) for the harm and mental trauma caused to him.’

The AHC also declared the Registrar’s behaviour during Gibrail’s expulsion ordeal as harassment and accused him of ‘severe, persistent and pervasive’ conduct that adversely affected ‘Gibrail’s morale and ability to function’. Moreover, since the IBA code of conduct does not involve the Registrar to participate in matters concerning the DC, his involvement in the matter was labelled as ‘misuse of authority and power’ as he exceeded his mandate and ’caused irreparable damage to the reputation of IBA’. Consequently, the AHC suggested suspending the Registrar for two weeks in February 2022.

Following the AHC’s decision, the accused reportedly resigned from his position as Registrar. However, his resignation was reportedly not accepted by the management at IBA.

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In the email that Muhammad Gibrail sent out to the faculty and current and former student bodies of the IBA, he claimed that Executive Director (ED), Akbar Zaidi, has made a new inquiry committee to review the Registrar’s plea against his conviction in the harassment case. Once the review has been finalized, it will be sent to the newly constituted Anti-Harassment Committee (AHC) instead of the one that gave out the verdict in February.

iba karachi harassment

According to Gibrail’s email, one of the members of the review committee who is a faculty member at IBA is also one of the co-accused in the harassment case. Hence, the committee’s credibility and ability to make a fair decision remains questionable. Gibrail has also contested the formation of the committee and management’s decision to review the plea altogether since the penalty on the Registrar was imposed by the AHC.

iba harassment case

Other than emailing fellow students, Gibrail has also been reaching out to various authorities to facilitate his cause. “Since my email to the ED in February 23, when I came to know about the abetting of the proclaimed harasser- Dr. A*, I approached to the Board of Governors multiple times who also seem to absorbed with eternal silence at this crime being committed so vehemently in our Alma Matar. I have also written to CM, Sindh whose reply is still pending when I came to know about this move of ED, Dr. Akbar Zaidi to protect and whitewash the harassment charge from Dr. A*,” revealed Gibrail.

Muhammad Gibrail has also started an online petition to have the Registrar permanently removed from his position and end the cycle of abuse that seems to be going on at the Institute of Business Administration.

*Names of the accused have not been revealed upon Muhammad Gibrail’s request*

*Cutacut is currently in touch with Executive Director, Dr. Akbar Zaidi, over the matter and is in process of getting the institute’s side of the story*

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