ISLAMABAD:(APS)January 26, 2017- Members of South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) and representatives from the civil society of Pakistan strongly condemn the banning of Tanzeela Mazhar and Yashfeen Jamal on the totally flimsy grounds of allegedly besmirching PTV’s reputation. We express our strong concerns on the harassment of women anchors at Pakistan’s state-owned Television channel.
Whereas we applaud the courage and perseverance of both, Ms. Tanzeela Mazhar and Ms. Yashfeen Jamal, for standing up against sexual harassment at workplace by the Director Current Affairs of PTV, Agha Masood Shohrish, we strongly condemn the top management of PTV for being biased against the complainants. Instead of ensuring transparent and fair inquiry into the matter, PTV management decides to penalize both the complainants for exercising their inalienable right to express themselves.
Also, as per the complainants, Tanzeela Mazhar & Yashfeen Jamal, the probe committee has not been acting in an appropriate manner and instead has asked derogatory questions to the complainants, which shows lack of understanding of the issue.
The current committee of inquiry has made it absolutely clear with their conduct that it is not capable of making unbiased and transparent investigation. We demand that the current inquiry committee be immediately dissolved and an external committee be constituted with mandatory membership of National Commission on the Status of Women and National Commission on Human Rights. The Committee must include senior representatives of civil society and senior women journalists, who could hold an unbiased investigative inquiry.
We call upon the Minister of Information & Broadcasting to personally look into the matter, immediately revoke the notice of banning Ms. Tanzeela and Ms. Yashfeen, withdraw the erroneous charges against Tanzeela and Yashfeen, ensure a transparent and speedy inquiry of the case and take strict action against the sexual offender.
We fully support Ms. Tanzeela and Ms. Yashfeen in their struggle for dignity at the workplace and hope that the Government of Pakistan shall act on its own agenda of women’s empowerment as announced a number of times by the Prime Minister.