KARACHI: Singer Meesha Shafi has narrated details of her uneasy encounters with Ali Zafar during concerts, saying she was finding it hard on her conscious to stay silent.
In a Twitter statement earlier this week, Meesha accused Ali of sexual harassment on more than occasions, a claim he denied and vowed to take the matter to court.
In an interview with Instep, Meesha recounted how it began: “The first time it happened, I didn’t react and just left.”
Shafi said she told her husband about the entire episode but asked him not to react. “I am a public figure and so is he (Ali Zafar). My thought process was who I am and who he is and what that’s going to lead to. Being ready to talk was far off because it had just happened. I buried it.”
She said it happened again in late last year or last quarter of last year. The second time it happened in a jam room. “I got booked for a concert,” she said, adding that they were both performing on the same concert.
Responding to a question as to why she had agreed to perform alongside Ali Zafar, she said: “It is my bread and butter; it was work coming my way.”
“I was jamming with my band in Lahore and the organisers insisted that he was trying to get in touch. It started turning into a thing, and I was being seen as difficult or a diva, I got such feelers. I was avoiding him. I was asked to jam, figure out songs, scale and it happened while we were jamming.”
Responding to another question as to why did she now decide to speak up against what Ali Zafar did to him, she said the first and foremost reason is that she is ready.
“I have started talking to people and divulging my experience. I’m finding it hard on my conscious to stay silent any longer than this because I’m seeing such brave girls and women speaking up – not just around the world – but here as well.”
Story first published: 21st April 2018