Accusations of sexual harassment by teachers at an elite Lahore school which surfaced last week on social media have raised the alarm over student safety.

Busy street in walled city, pakistan

The school administration quickly dismissed the staff, the Lahore District Education Authority launched an inquiry, and the Punjab School Education Minister promised to deal with the case personally and “bring the case to a proper conclusion according to the law”. 

But the real scandal is that we rely on brave students outing abusers on social media to protect our students in the first place. Scandal, outcry, followed by swift ‘justice’ is a merry-go-round that obscured the truth – that Pakistan has no effective system for vetting applicants for jobs in our schools. 

On August 4th 2002, in the UK, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were murdered by a school caretaker, Ian Huntley. Despite Huntley being arrested on suspicion of raping an 18-year-old woman, and other charges such as burglary, he was hired to work at a secondary school. Holly and Jessica were 10 years old.

The murders transformed the way that school staff are recruited in the UK. First, the Bichard Inquiry, published in 2004, recommended a system which vets anyone who may be working with children. Then the Home Office launched the Criminal Records Bureau, which became the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which provides detailed reports of an applicant's criminal history to certain employers. 

Pakistan does not have an equivalent to the Disclosure and Barring Service, nor is there a national database of those convicted of sexual offences. When India launched its national sex offender register in 2018 it included 440,000 names.

This is a failure of government and a disservice to every child throughout our school system.

A register or DBS equivalent is only part of the solution - as it is only as effective as the data it is based on. Even with a system in place, poor record-keeping would leave children at risk.

At present schools wishing to vet teachers rely on their local or state police department records, but these records are chronically deficient.

After the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, in 2010, the subject of education was devolved from the federal government to the provincial governments. This scandal falls within the jurisdiction of the School Education Department of the Government of Punjab. If a criminal complaint is filed against the four alleged harassers, then this will be recorded in the police station concerned in the investigation, usually the closest. It will not necessarily be available beyond that police station. 

But even if it is reported, when a criminal offence is reported to the police a First Information Report (FIR) is filed, however, it only contains the facts of the case and the applicable sections of the law. The Punjab Police department has a public record available, but it hasn’t been updated since 2016. In 2019, a rapist dodged two arrests before killing four children in Chunian. There was no record of the complaints kept by the police. 

Pakistan also desperately needs a national teaching regulator to maintain a register of qualified teachers and with a mandate to conduct misconduct hearings and strike individuals from that register if they are found to have committed misconduct. 

Each state's District Education Authority has powers to investigate professional misconduct, but often there will be no criminal penalties. 

Only a national regulator, with access to a unified and efficient criminal records system, can ensure that teachers disgraced in one state cannot simply move elsewhere. 

For example, the penalty under the Punjab Protection Against Harassment of Women At Workplace Act 2012 is civil law, not criminal. The only way these teachers would face criminal charges would be if the school, the victims or a public official, such the Chairperson of the Children Protection Bureau were to file a criminal complaint under the Pakistan Penal Code. And if a criminal complaint isn't filed by the school or victims, then there will be no criminal record on any file.

Right now, we can't estimate the number of teachers who are working with children who have criminal records or have been cautioned by the police. Neither is there an authority flagging inappropriate applicants. 

In Pakistani law, there is no requirement that educational institutions conduct a background check on employees. Sohail Ayaz was a convicted paedophile deported to Pakistan from the UK. He worked as a consultant on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governance and Policy Project and was undetected for four years until his arrest in Rawalpindi. He later confessed to raping at least 30 boys while working in Pakistan. There was no government inquiry or reforms proposed off the back of Sohail Ayaz's case. The only positive was that an NGO, Sahil, started collecting data from newspapers noting the number of cases of child abuse cases reported in Pakistan. However, this doesn't prevent any individual convicted of sexual harassment move to another part of Pakistan and continue working with children. 

We need to find where our legal system falls short, introduce a sex-offenders register and a national database monitored by a teaching regulator. We need wholesale reform if we are to effectively protect children. 

365 days ago, we launched As cliché as this sounds, it feels like yesterday when I took the plunge.

Busy street in walled city, pakistan

This post reveals why I wanted to create a public awareness production house—one where we could produce documentaries about Pakistan's impact-orientated initiatives and individuals. After a year of creating digital content for the website and our social media platforms, I had a few thoughts to share about the experience.

I started with an ever-evolving idea. Met the right people who could do what I could not. And I put the hours in alongside a full-time job and social life to sustain our audience's interest.

Altering the Starting Point 

Starting with an idea is great. But to turn that into something tangible that people can interact with takes a great deal of work, time, and patience. The sheer workload and required self-motivation were not anticipated.

There are times where I enter a spiral of self-doubt and crumble when I explain my goals to strangers. But, in moments like these, I realise it's part of the process. With each setback, I've bounced back sooner than the last one—an accomplishment in hindsight.

Our first filming round dated back to August 2018, and I pitched my idea to a videography team who specialise in covering high-profile weddings. The idea was to create a fashion blog about Pakistani couture. I know – very different from what we are now. We did three weeks of filming, created hours of footage, and spent a considerable chunk of change.  

After I reflected on the video footage, I realised that this wasn't what I wanted to do. I went back to Pakistan in October 2018 to start again.

The point here is that it's ok to toss out the first pancake. The experience told me something equally important – what I didn't want to do.

Meeting the right people. 

I pitched my idea to several Paksitani videography companies from across the pond. This meant researching different companies and making decisions based on the content they had shared online. However, none of the research prepared me for those meetings.

One day over dinner, I ranted my frustrations to my family. My cousin's husband, Asim, recommend me to meet Shahrukh and Shahzeb Bhatti. I succumbed to my bad mood and dismissed the idea. Fortunately, Asim pushed me to a moment of clarity and convinced me.

I remember the first meeting with Shahrukh Bhai because it was the moment everything became real. I pitched my half-baked and fragile idea. He said 'yes' and we were doing a trial shoot in the next two days.

My cousin and Managing Partner Sahar Abbas sorted out the logistics, and before I knew it, I was standing in front of the camera. Without Sahar's constant support, each filming round wouldn't have been possible. 

The take-away here is finding the right people to work with can make and break your goal. Shahrukh and Shahzeb Bhatti are open-minded, experts in what they do, time-efficient problem solvers and follow through with their commitments. 

Jim Dethmer, the founder of The Conscious Leadership Group, said in a podcast with Shane Parish that "Most people in organisations keep between 40% - 60% of their agreements."

I didn't want to work with people who were unable to follow through. The age-old adage that

"a stitch in time saves nine." Meaning, if you sort out a problem immediately, it will save extra work later. Equally, I also wanted to work with people who would make me a better version of myself. As they say:

"You really are only as good as the company you keep." My team keep me on my toes throughout.

In turn, Shahrukh and Shahzeb continue to adapt to my feedback which meant we were able to change the initial idea. Shifting from creating a Pakistani Couture knowledge source to becoming a public awareness production house was the 180-degree turn nobody expected. And I'm pleased that this is the case because what we have created is better than what we imagined.

I gave a great deal of artistic license to Sophie Chittock, our Operations Director, who has a wealth of knowledge about digital marketing that I could only dream of having. Whatever idea or task Sophie works on, she produces a result which is above and beyond the limits of my imagination.

Sustaining self-motivation and self-discipline

When I started out, I thought that I would be 100% driven all day and every day. I was wrong. A new project is novel, but over time novelty runs out, and you must keep working when sometimes you don't want to. The desire not to work doesn't reflect that you aren't fully invested. It shows that you are human and that life sometimes gets in the way. We all have highs and lows that we pass through. 

Sometimes, my full-time job means I have to work beyond the 9-5 schedule, and this means fewer hours are available to work on the blog. 

Sometimes, personal struggles consume your headspace, and you aren't motivated. 

Sometimes, the lack of support from people who you expected it from can make you doubt what you are doing.

But then there are those moments of success which outshine those dark ones, in quality and quantity. You have family members who celebrate each accomplishment as if it were their own. You have virtual strangers advising you in how you can do better. Your work gets recognised by newspapers that you dream of having your name in.

To close, my team and I stuck to our principles and created something that we believed in. I remember sharing dreams of being mentioned in Propergaanda and Dawn's Newspaper and waiting to reach 1000 followers organically. Now those dreams have become accomplishments.

But, each accomplishment means more when you are sharing it with a team of people. People who believe in you, and who you believe in too. I hope you feel inspired to take the plunge.

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, small businesses mandated to close are following the social distancing guidelines put forward. This means that the primary source of income for many families in Pakistan is no longer there. Financial instability is rife.

Busy street in walled city, pakistan

Many people will work from home and will have job security. I am one of those individuals. But some people aren’t in the same position. It is the responsibility of those financially fortunate to support those who aren’t.

Pakistan is one of the world’s most charitable nations. There are plenty of organisations with systems where individuals can donate money. They will arrange and deliver provisions to those in need.

As an overseas Pakistani, I know that with this desire to donate, there is an element of concern in sending your hard-earned money. This concern is valid, and we respect it.

Below, is a list of Foundations collated by Shehzil Malik. We have organised the information stating the:

(1)    name of the organisation,

(2)    their location,

(3)    how they are offering support to those in need using your donations,

(4)    their contact details,

(5)    either a donate link or their bank details.

The organisations are not listed in any particular order.

The first group of charities have an e-portal in which you can click ‘donate’ and make a payment. We are promoting donations for the first list of charities due to the traceable nature of an e-payment.

1. Seed Out: SochoSabKayLiay

Seed Out has a special place in my heart. We interviewed Founder, Zain Ashraf Mughal and Operations Director, Ali Shakeel. Both opened my eyes to the power of micro-financing! I met the entrepreneurs who established a sustainable business through Seed Out’s programme. The families Seed Out has helped enabled 100s of children to attend school who would otherwise not have. 

We have worked with Seed Out and would like to raise an awareness of the great work they are doing. Seed Out are supporting their micro-entrepreneurs whose businesses have temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

Impact: Seed Out has already distributed 1000 ration bags in Gujranwala. 

Seed Out put the people they serve at the heart of what they do. 

Learn more about their Campaign - SochoSabKayLiay

What we do: Seed Out is a non profit organisation that aims to alleviate poverty in Pakistan by helping deserving individuals establish a means of livelihood. It has successfully established small scale businesses for 1000 people who previously lived below the poverty line. 

Support: Seed Out has established a corona relief fund to help those worst affected. We will be helping the most deserving families in our database as well others who may need. Ration Bags to deserving families in Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Bahawalnagar. 

Location: Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Bahawalnagar.

Donate Now

Contact Details:


0307 2222127

0300 8743502

More ways to donate

Bank Account Details 

Bank: Allied Bank

Account Title: Seed Out

Account Number: 0010028779120016

IBAN: PK81ABPA0010028779120016

Swift Code: ABPAPKKA0175

Branch Code: 0175

Branch: Ladies Branch, 21 - Z - Block, DHA, Lahore Cantt.

2. Akhuwat

What we do: The world’s largest Islamic microfinance organisation.

Location: 19 Civic Center, Sector A2, Township, Lahore, Pakistan

Support: Akhuwat have set up the ‘Corona Imdadi Fund’ (CIF) which aims to provide support to any deserving individual and family. They provide Ration Packages, free Coronavirus testing, professional consulting via their helpline and support for hospitals where facilities are inadequate.

Contact: + 042–111-448-464 / +92 42 35122743

Donate Now

3. Rizq – Lahore, Punjab

What we do: A Charity focused on food distribution and redistribution

Location: 40 - Commercial Area CavalryGround, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

Support: Distributing food Ration books to households of verified individuals. Rizq have collaborated with Eat Mubarak and Foodies R Us to provide ration boxes for all made redundant employees from the Restaurant industry.

Donate Now

4. Corona Aid Pakistan (CAP)

What we do/Support: A crowd sourcing initiative by a group of LUMS students providing ration packs and masks for families and daily wage earners.

Location or Targeted Areas: Lahore, Multan and Sheikpura

Contact Details: Faraz Khan (+92 3338691314)

Donate Now

The second group is a list of charities or individuals who do not have an e-portal. But would appreciate payment via bank transfer. At this point, we would like to state that any bank transfer you make comes at a risk. I do not know the individuals listed. These details are on social media, but each charity are doing great work to support those in need. If you are hesitant to donate money via bank transfer, then I would suggest looking at the first group of links. We do not take any responsibility for any bank transfers made by an individual.

1. JDC Foundation Pakistan (Sindh, Karachi)

What we do: JDC Foundation Pakistan is an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit and charitable organisation. JDC have provided immediate emergency services, provide aid and basic educational opportunities.

Location: B-24 Block 20, F.B Area, Karachi, Sindh

Support: Providing food boxes to isolated patients and free food to those in need.

Contact Details: 021 36341059, +92 333 0404043

Donate Now

JDC Foundation Bank Transfer Details:


Account Number: 1031-0081-011633-01-2

Branch Address: Bank Al Habib Limited, Gulberg Sub-Branch, Karachi

Swift Code: BAHL PKKA

Learn more

2. Robin Hood Army

What we do: The Robin Hood Army is a volunteer based organization that works to get surplus food from restaurants and the community to serve less fortunate people.

Location: Karachi

Support: Helping daily wage workers and their families with ration bags of basic goods.

Contact Details: 021-38693111,

Donate Now

You may donate a ration pack or inform us about a deserving family by sending us a WhatsApp message on 03000 225519 -18 or email on

For more information call at 021-38693111

3. Orange Tree Foundation - Karachi

What we do: Extends educational scholarships in mainstream schools and colleges and quality healthcare to financially challenged students.

Location: Orange Tree Foundation, Ground Floor , Office No. B, Plot 22C - 14th Street, Khayaban-e-Shamsheer, Phase 5, DHA, Karachi.

Support: We are collecting donations in the form of cheque, cash, online transfer of ration packs.

Contact Details: WhatsApp +92 300 0225519 for donation queries.

Donate Now

4. Elaaji Trust – Karachi, Sindh

What we do/Support: Their team survey households and identify deserving households who require aid in South Karachi’s colonies. They provide family packs to serve 5 people for a minimum of 3 weeks at a cost of 3000 PKR.

Location: South Karachi

Contact Details: (021) 34371601

Donate Now

Elaaji Trust Bank Transfer Details:

Account Title: ELAJ TRUST

Bank: Summit Bank

Account Number: 01990526001714110633

IBAN: PK73SUMB9905207140110633

Swift Code: SUMBPKKA

Branch: Dolmen Mall Karachi

Learn more

5. Hope Uplift Foundation

What we do: Raise funds and awareness for underprivileged communities in and around Lahore.

Location: 263-Y Block, Commercial Area First floor, Phase 3, Dha Lahore, Pakistan

Support: Providing ration boxes at 3000 PKR to jobless citizens.

Contact Details: +92-42-3718-6005/+92 300 844 9319

To donate for Ration boxes: 0300 8449319 // 0322 4441270 // 0305 4625524

6. Zariya and Greenvolunteers

What we do/Support: Creating ration boxes for daily wagers and medical supplies to support doctors

Location: Islamabad, Pindi, Lahore, and eventually Dir and Peshawar. 

Contact Details: 03455369969

Donate Now

For International Donors:

Swift code: ascmpkka

Iban : PK 43 ascm 0001 2310 7070 1468

Ban: 01231070701468

Askari bank

Haris Bin Saqib

Rameez Mumtaz


Standard chartered bank

F8 branch

Branch code: 086

Iban: PK 93 SCBL 0000 0181 4672 5301

For local donors:

Ban: 01231070701468

Haris Bin Saqib

Askari bank

GT road kharian

Easy Paisa


7. Slumnabad

What we do/Support: An organisation that is supporting the tribal community (Urdu: Pakhiwas) by providing ration packages. The Founder, Muhammed Sabir has been running a school for the Pakhiwas community. 

Location: Islamabad, Pindi, Lahore, and eventually Dir and Peshawar. 

Donate Now

Slumnabad bank transfer details:


Account Title: MUHAMMAD SABIR  

Bank Account Number: 0621801081004417

IBAN NUMBER: PK65 MUCB 0621 8010 8100 4417

SWIFT CODE ( small letters) : mucbpkka

BRANCH NUMBER: 0843 Upper Mall Branch Lahore

Learn more

8. Behbud Association of Pakistan: Corona Relief Fund (Punjab)

What we do/Support: Supply dry rations to affected daily wage workers of Behbud. Provide stipends to those workers whose income is stopped because of the lockdown. Provide an Out-Door Clinic to act as a Coronavirus Testing Centre. Distribute hand sanitisers. Prepare guidelines in Urdu for Coronavirus Prevention and distribute within the community. 

Location: B-24 Block 20, F.B Area, Karachi, Sindh

Donate Now

National Bank of Pakistan

Account Title: Behbud Association of Pakistan

Account: #3072077854

IBAN: #PK 51NBPA1493003072077854

RMC Branch Tipu Road, Rawalpindi (Branch Code: 1493)

Donations can be also made through crossed cheque in favour of “Behbud Association of Pakistan”. It can be sent by courier to address below:

Behbud Association of Pakistan,

NE-2D/1, Tipu Road, Moti Mehal, Rawalpindi

Phone: 051-5706627

Contact Details: +923008580750/ +923335292401

9. Karachi Relief Trust

What we do/Support: Providing ration money to daily wage earners. One ration box costs 7000 PKR. 

Location: 1D-27, Sector 30, Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi – 75500

Contact Details:

Mr. Saeed Iqbal

Cell: +92 302 5415941

Mr. Faisal Amjad Shah

Cell: +92 345 8402992


Donate Now

10. Hani Baloch (Lyari, Karachi)

What we do/Support: Providing ration money to daily wage earners in the Lyrai area. One ration box which can last one month costs 4000 PKR. 

Location: Lyrai, Karachi

Contact Details: 03212079925

11. Ehsaas Karo Na - Online Campaign

What we do/Support: An online campaign to raise funds for different organisations working on ration drives for poeple in need. Providing PPE to medical workers

Location: Islamabad, Pindi, Lahore, and eventually Dir and Peshawar.

Contact Details: Click to contact

Donate Now


Account Title: Ammar Khan

Bank Account Number: 0760671401006461

IBAN NUMBER: PK 24 MUCB0760671401006461