Pakistan is a country where sexual harassment like many other issues is frowned on within the society and even gathering authentic data is a laborious task. In keeping with non-governmental organizations approximately seventy percent of working women face sexual harassment varying from minor to distressingly major incidents.
In the face of this unsettling reality, mostly women prefer to stay silent and bear the brunt of male ego in a society which allows in letting men get away from taking responsibility of harassing a woman. Moreover, women, in particular are unaware of the legal provisions that the Constitution of Pakistan furnishes against sexual harassment at workplace.
The number of women joining country’s workforce is rapidly increasing. However, physical, psychological and sexual harassment of women in the workplace is widely prevalent in Pakistan.
In 2010, the President of the time, Asif Ali Zardari signed the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill. According to this bill:
According to the act:
“Harassment” means any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment.
Penalties priscribed for the guilty are:
a) Minor penalties:
2 Withholding, for a specific period, promotion or increment
3 Stoppage, for a specific period, at an efficiency bar in the time-scale, otherwise than for unfitness to cross such bar
4 Recovery of the compensation payable to the complainant from pay or any other source of the accused
b) Major penalties:
1 Reduction to a lower post or time-scale, or to a lower stage in a time-scale
2 Compulsory retirements
3 Removal from service
4 Dismissal from service
5 Fine – A part of the fine can be used as compensation for the complainant. In case of the owner, the fine shall be payable to the complainant.