Anti-IJT stance put Baloch in hot water

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LAHORE: Affiliation with the Teachers’ Front, having leftist ideas and being anti-Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT), are stated to be the reasons behind the suspension of Punjab University (PU) College of Earth & Environmental Sciences (CEES) Principal Dr Iftikhar Hussain Baloch, who was being threatened with dire consequences from ‘quarters with vested interests’ active in the varsity, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to CEES teachers, Baloch was facing charges of sexually harassing two female students a couple of days ago and a case was registered against him. But interestingly, the PU inquiry committee probing the matter had not yet found Baloch guilty. The CEES faculty members condemned Baloch’s suspension and said that the administration had never taken any action against those officials who were allied with the IJT despite being found guilty in many inquiries.
Similarly, no case was registered against PUASA Vice President Dr Abdul Ghaffar despite the fact that he was receiving life threats on support of pro-IJT teachers but Dr Iftikhar was suspended within no time. The CEES faculty member alleged that Baloch’s case had revealed the IJT’s influence in the PU administration, which they dubbed as the headquarters of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the IJT, which was posing a threat to people supporting different ideologies. They claimed that such decisions would increase militancy in the varsity. The faculty members were disheartened on Baloch’s suspension despite the fact that he was already receiving threats from the IJT activists for taking steps against their hooliganism.
According to a notification issued by the PU on Tuesday, the varsity syndicate suspended Baloch. The notification read that on the syndicate’s direction, the PU VC had removed the CEES principal with an immediate effect and had ordered the transfer of Baloch to the Institute of Geology. The notification said that Dr Riaz Ahmed Sheikh had been appointed the CEES principal with an immediate effect. In April, Baloch was severely tortured by IJT activists and Muslim Town Police had registered a case against 30 IJT activists on charges of manhandling him. The IJT activists had tried to kill Baloch with sticks and rods and even damaged his office. Dr Baloch, in his capacity as the PU Disciplinary Committee chairman, took action against the IJT hooligans and the students’ organization staged protests against him for three weeks.
A couple of days ago, two cases were registered in the Muslim Town Police Station precincts on the complaint of Shabina Gul, a second semester student and one administration employee alleging that Baloch had sexually harassed them. A female faculty member said that only Baloch had challenged the hooliganism of the IJT and had to pay a heavy price for it. She said that it was up to the court to decide whether the former CEES principal was a criminal or not, but the varsity administration had acted on the signal of JI leaders. The female faculty member said that according to the preliminary inquiry, Baloch was declared innocent. She said that some pro-IJT teachers including Institute of Education and Research (IEER) Dean Dr Hafiz Iqbal was also involved in harassing females but no action was taken against him. PU Registrar Dr Akhtar confirmed that the inquiry against Baloch was continuing and the cases were registered by two females. He said that the administration condemned the harassment of females at the PU. Both Baloch and the females who had accused him of harassment were not available for comments.