A female Town Education Officer in Malir, Karachi, has urgently reached out to the Secretary of the School Education and Literacy Department (SELD), Akbar Laghari, through an audio message on WhatsApp, appealing for immediate action to be taken against District Education Officer Sikandar Gabol. The officer alleges that Gabol has been coercing her into engaging in immoral activities.
According to her, the District Education Officer has been making inappropriate and unsettling demands of her. She recounted instances where he has requested private meetings, stating, “Sometimes, the DEO calls me and insists on meeting me alone. As a widow, I am dedicated to my job, and as a single parent, I am focused on providing for my children. However, each time I visit his office for official work, he pressures me to stay and meet with him privately.”
She went on to reveal that the DEO has even gone so far as to comment on her appearance, deeming her “very attractive.” In a disturbing incident in March, he allegedly called her and demanded that she spend time with him. After lodging a complaint against his behavior, he has reportedly abused his authority to intimidate her further. She expressed her plea to the Secretary, saying, “I am living alone with my children, but that does not mean I lack respect, nor does anyone have the right to subject me to sexual abuse.”
Furthermore, the officer asserted that the DEO has resorted to blackmail, utilizing officers who consistently support him. Each time she has reported his misconduct, he reportedly manipulates the situation, turning the education officers against her instead. Disturbingly, the situation has escalated, with the DEO now allegedly demanding bribes and justifying his actions by claiming that their offices are reliant on monetary contributions.
Her demand is unequivocal: she implores authorities to take strict action against the District Education Officer and conduct a comprehensive investigation into the matter. She also directly appealed to the caretaker education minister, who is a woman herself, to address the issue promptly. “I request that the minister, being a woman, takes note of this matter and intervenes to ensure justice.”
The situation highlights the vulnerability and challenges that many women in positions of authority can face when dealing with abuse of power and harassment. The officer’s courage in coming forward with her story serves as a reminder that addressing such issues is crucial for creating a safe and respectful work environment for all individuals.