The #MeToo campaign against sexual exploitation against women has now reached Pakistan. Here the actor and singer Meesha Shafi has accused her colleague and popular singer Ali Zafar of sexual harassment. Meesha has also worked in the film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. She says that her experience will empower other women to stand up for themselves and speak about such encounters, the actor took to Twitter to share an elaborate post accusing Zafar of sexually harassing her on more than one occasion.
After her revelation, the whole Bollywood is in shock. As Ali Zafar is a renowned actor/singer of both India and Pakistan film industry. Zafar, on his part, denied the allegations and said that silence is not an option and he will take a legal action against the charges made by the actress.
Meesha alongside with her Twitter post wrote:
Sharing this because I believe that by speaking out about my own experience of sexual harassment, I will break the culture of silence that permeates through our society. It is not easy to speak…but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo.
(Source of statements: NEWS18)
Her post included the following words:
“Throughout my career, my family and fans have given me unconditional support… However, despite having a voice there are some issues that are very difficult to speak about as a woman, especially sexual harassment. Today I speak up because my conscience doesn’t allow me to be silent anymore. If this can happen to someone like me, an established artist, it can happen to any young woman and that concerns me.”
She went on to write:
“I have been subjected, on more than one occasions, to sexual harassment of a physical nature a the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar. These incidences did not happen when I was young or just entering the industry. This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children!”
Meesha also admits that the experience has been traumatic not only for her but for her family too. It is because Ali is someone she has known for many years and has shared the stage with.
“I feel betrayed by his behaviour and his attitude and I know that I am not alone.”
On the other hand, Ali Zafar after knowing this has also said on the matter:
“I categorically deny any and all claims of Ms. Shafi. I intend to take this through the courts of law and to address this professionally and seriously, rather than to lodge any allegations here…”