The Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, approved by the Parliament in 2010, based on which the government, semi-government and private workplaces are bound to formulate an inquiry commission within 90 days after receiving the complaint, is yet to be implemented despite a passage of eight years.
According to a report in the local media, over 90% of the government and private institutions have failed to formulate any committee, making women at work falling prey to sexual harassment, incidents of which now occur frequently.
As per Section 3 of the Protection of Harassment Act 2010, every institution should formulate a three-member bench committee, which includes one member from senior management, a lady member and a member from amongst the employees, to take actions against the suspects over sexual harassment complaint. The committee has the authority to demote the suspected employee or officer, dismiss him from employment, ask for early retirement or impose a fine on him, if accused of workplace harassment.
However, despite the harassment of women at workplaces, inquiry committees are not constituted due to which the victims do not have a legal forum to raise voice.
As a result many of cases of sexual harassment often go unreported and complaints highlighted by the media or taken notice by court are raised due to pressure, such as the case of the alleged sexual assault of a lady doctor and nurse at the Sheikh Zayd Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan.