In April 2018, Pakistani singer Meesha Shafi accused actor, singer and colleague Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her multiple times. The shocking revelation marked the entry of the MeToo movement in the neighbouring country. Now, as per the latest reports, Meesha, 39, faces a three-year jail term in Pakistan after Ali slapped a criminal defamation charge against her.
According to a publication, Ali claimed that he didn't touch Meesha inappropriately and her charges have caused 'irreparable' damage to his career. The other eight women who accused Ali on social media have also been charged. Meesha is currently in Canada and will return to Pakistan for work. Her statement said, "Which woman has got justice in a case of this nature and at what cost?" The singer's lawyers will reportedly challenge the charge.
In a statement on Twitter in 2019, Meesha wrote, "I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassment of a physical nature at 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 even though I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children."
"It has been an extremely traumatic experience for me and my family. Ali is someone I have known for many years and someone who I have shared the stage with. I feel betrayed by his attitude and I know that I am not alone," she continued.
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
Ali then denied Meesha's allegations and wrote, "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
(Source: Daily Mail)