Hollywood came together to support the #TimesUp movement and #MeToo when Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other big names were accused of sexual harassment over the years at the workplace. After taking down big names in the industry, the campaign has reached Pakistan. Pakistani actress and singer Meesha Shafi left everyone in shock as she has accused singer Ali Zafar of sexual harassment. She hopes that her experience will inspire other women to come forward with their stories. She has accused Ali Zafar of harassment on more than one occasion.
Taking to her Twitter, Meesha Shafi 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 out.. but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo," she wrote alongside the post.
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.
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!"
"I feel betrayed by his behaviour and his attitude and I know that I am not alone. We only have our voices and the time has come to use them," she concluded.
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 out.. but it is harder to stay silent. My conscience will not allow it anymore #MeToo pic.twitter.com/iwex7e1NLZ
— Meesha Shafi (@itsmeeshashafi) April 19, 2018
After the story went viral, the actor-singer Ali Zafar came forward immediately to deny all the allegations. He said that he won't be silent in this case and plans to take legal action. Sharing his official statement, Ali took to twitter and wrote, "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..."
Ali Zafar's official statement read as, "I am deeply aware and in support of the global #MeToo movement and what it stands for. I am the father of a young girl and a young boy, a husband to a wife and a son to a mother. I am a man that has stood up for myself, my family, my colleagues and friends countless times in the face of slander, defamation and general unkindness. I will do the same today. I have nothing to hide. Silence is absolutely not an option.
I categorically deny any and all claims of harassment lodged against me by 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, contesting personal vendettas on social media and in turn disrespecting the movement, my family, the industry and my fans. Ultimately I am a strong believer that the truth, always prevails.”
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) April 19, 2018
Meesha Shafi is known for popularly known for her performance on Coke Studio Pakistan. She had a small role in Farhan Akhtar's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Ali Zafar has not only been a heartthrob in Pakistan but has extensively worked in Bollywood. He starred in several films including Tere Bin Laden, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, London Paris New York, Total Siyapaa, Kill Dill and Dear Zindagi.