islamabad - After postponing for three years, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has finally implemented the decision of federal ombudsman secretariat (FOS), given in a harassment case, for protection against harassment of women at the workplace.

In a harassment case filed against a PIA employee Asad Hameed Baig, ex-station director Islamabad, the FOS had penalised him with a fine of Rs 100,000 and out of the total fine, Rs 50,000 had to be paid to the victim. Instead of paying fine, the respondent had approached the Lahore High Court through writ petition number 2547/2011 and by order dated October 12, 2011, Lahore High Court had suspended the order of  the ombudsperson till next date of hearing. The restraining order continued without any progress in writ petition up to 2013. Again on the repeated approaches of complainant in 2011 and 2013, the managing director PIA on June 25, 2013 was directed to implement the order of the ombudsperson given in 2011. The PIA authorities again challenged this order before Lahore High Court and again a second stay order was granted by the court on August 21, 2013.

Through order dated July 31, 2013 the ombudsperson office directed human resources administration & coordination of PIA to implement the order saying: “It appears that the management of PIA with mala fide intention to defeat the end of justice had again approached the Lahore High Court.”

The ombudsperson office informed LHC and PIA authorities: “As per law legislated as Act IV of 2010 and the subsequent legislation titled as Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reform Act 2013, no court or authority has jurisdiction to entertain a matter, which falls within the jurisdiction of an ombudsman. Section 18 of Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reform Act 2013 further provides that no court or authority shall assume jurisdiction in respect of any matter pending with or decided by the ombudsman.”

It further stressed, “Therefore, assumption of jurisdiction of this forum is against the prescribed principle enshrined in the constitution that every organ of the state has to perform its duties and functions within the mandated sphere. Article 5 of the constitution of Pakistan also makes it obligatory on every citizen of Pakistan wherever he may be obedient of the constitution and the law. Any act to suspend the implementation of the order of this office of protection against harassment of women at the workplace will assume to protect the perpetrators.”

“The only authority to examine the validity of an order under Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 by virtue of section 9 of the act is the president of Pakistan and none else,” clarified the office.

At last contempt notice was issued to director human resources PIA for wilful defiance of the order of federal ombudsman, who was creating hurdles for giving a safe working environment to women which is free of harassment, abuse and intimidation as required under law. And non-bailable arrest warrants of director HR were issued for not implementing the decision.

After this, finally, the PIA complied with the order of federal ombudsman with deposit of full penalty announced. Although the implementation took too long and the accused official has been retired but the ombudsperson office has managed to implement its decision, officials informed. The accused has paid the imposed fine to the victim and to the government as well.

An internal inquiry of PIA in its decision had upheld that the accused had committed the offence but due to lack of any evidence, the committee could not suggest any penalty. Then the passenger services officer of PIA, Islamabad, approached the ombudsperson against the decision of internal committee. She had alleged that the accused had harassed her verbally and even grabbed her scarf to molest her.