Harassment under Pakistani law

Question: What is considered harassment under Pakistan’s Law?


Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply to such request or is made a condition for employment. Words like “jahil”, “badtameez”, “Loser” do not suffice to establish harassment.

Lodging sexual harassment complaint

Question: How may I lodge a sexual harassment complaint?


Process to file a complaint against sexual harassment is as follows:

  1. Approach the Inquiry Committee in your office.
  2. Submit a complaint in writing to the Inquiry Committee in your office/organization.
  3. The Inquiry Committee will inform the accused person that he has been accused of harassment within 3 days of receiving a complaint. If the accused fails to respond within 7 days, the Committee will decide the matter without the accused person.

Harassed by colleague/supervisor outside of workplace

Question: I was harassed by a fellow employee in a meeting not held in our office; can I file a complaint against him under Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010?


If you were harassed by a fellow employee anywhere outside the office while on official business then yes, you can file a complaint against him to the Inquiry Committee.

Harassment in School/Colleges

Question: Does the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 also extend to students at educational institutions?


Yes, it does! Each educational institution is required by law to setup an inquiry committee for the purposes of dealing with sexual harassment of women on campuses. Any female student harassed on campus shall file a complaint to her institution's inquiry committee.

Non-cooperation of employer in harassment complaints

Question: My office does not have an inquiry committee is there any other platform available to file a sexual harassment complaint?


Even though it is incumbent on each employer to set up an inquiry committee however if your office does not have one you can approach an ombudsman. The government appoints an ombudsman at the federal and provincial level. Each employee has an option to either register a complaint with an inquiry committee or the ombudsman. The process of registering the complaint with the ombudsman is exactly the same.

Punishment for Harassment

Question: What possible punishment can an accused face if convicted pursuant to a harassment complaint made to the Inquiry Committee?


The Inquiry Committee can decide the case and penalize the accused for harassment with either a minor penalty or major penalty

Minor penalty includes:

(a) censure; (b) withholding, for a specific period, promotion or increment; (c) stoppage, for a specific period, at an efficiency bar in the time-scale, otherwise than for unfitness to cross such bar; and (d) recovery of the compensation payable to the complainant from pay or any other source of the accused.

Major penalties:

(a) reduction to a lower post or time-scale, or to a lower stage in a time-scale; (b) compulsory retirement; (c) removal from service; (d) dismissal from service; and (e) Fine. A part of the fine can be used as compensation for the complainant. In case of the owner, the fine shall be payable to the complainant.