The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements took over the world by storm after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other big names from Hollywood industry were accused of sexual harassment over the years at the workplace. After taking down big names in the industry, the campaign has now reached Pakistan. In the shocking turn of events, last week, Pakistani actress and singer Meesha Shafi accused singer Pakistani heartthrob Ali Zafar of sexual harassment. From her detailed post, she hoped 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. While Ali has clearly denied all the allegations and plans to take legal route, his band members Kanza Munir and Aqsa Ali have come out in support of him.
After Meesha Shafi’s post went viral on social media, many women came forward with their stories about Ali Zafar. While many of them claim the singer harassed them, his band members have only amazing things to say about it. They supported Ali Zafar and said that he is nothing but respectful of women.
Kanza Munir wrote, “I have been working with Ali Zafar on and off since the past 3 years or so and up until now I’ve been quietly observing the current situation because I am no judge of personal character be it Meesha Shafi or Ali Zafar. However, I stand witness to this particular ‘Jam’ late last year that Meesha mentions in her interview with The News. The whole house band along with myself and another fellow female vocalist were present during this session and whatever interaction took place between the two was in front of at least 10 other people. All I can say is that this particular statement that she makes here is rather odd. I have toured with the Ali Zafar band a lot of times and all my trips have been really pleasant and professional and we’ve spent hours jamming together. It would be great if this important movement isn’t taken for granted or misused for personal reasons stealing limelight from real causes. Rest, time will tell!!”
Aqsa Ali wrote, “So as the stories taking turn every minute regard Ali Zafar, MeeshaShafi &#metoo movement, I think as a musician and a woman I should talk about this issue as I was SHOCKED ???? right now with this article of Meesha. She said that her conscious doesn’t allow her to say quiet so mine also doesn’t allow me. As I am the part of concert crew, I travel intl and locally with Ali Zafar, and I have seen girls throwing themselves at him and his gentlemanly response to that which is so rare of any rockstar. balkay we all travel like friends and we work in a very comfy environment. Today finally Meesha tells us what she says happened to her that Ali harassed her at a jam or did something wrong to her and I cannot stay quiet. I was at this jam session becoz I sing in Ali’s band and so was her manager and our entire band. I am astonished that she would take a lie to this level which so many of us can prove wrong. We all have pictures, we were there and event manager was there and it was a gr8 jam session. I am a woman and I would never allow wrong to any woman. But come on , it’s a serious matter and we should be really clear on everything rather then putting accusations on people and then saying sorry you cannot question any woman it’s wrong.
Ali is a genuine person, who treats people around him nicely and has always been a support system for everyone; Accusing some1 is easy but living with the guilt is difficult. As a woman I felt sad with her rude behaviour towards everyone including the band but more I feel bad that she’s causing disrespect to this Intl movement of women and all of us female musicians and hard working women.”
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.