Web Desk(April 20, 2018): The Twitterverse went into a meltdown on Thursday after singer and actress Meesha Shafi accused pop star, actor and composer Ali Zafar of sexual harassment – an allegation he denied categorically a few hours later.
Shaking the Pakistani entertainment industry to the core, the allegations quickly became a widely discussed topic on social media, as celebrities and the public at large chose their sides and shared their thoughts on the country’s equivalent of the breakthrough #MeToo movement.
Urwa Hocane tweeted that “More Power to Meesha”.
— URWA HOCANE (@VJURWA) April 19, 2018
Reham Khan said that that’s my kind of Rockstar, she appreciated Meesha Khan on her stand.
Proud of this gutsy woman. That’s my kind of rockstar! More power to women who stand up to predators. https://t.co/KT07tU6N8f
— Reham Khan (@RehamKhan1) April 19, 2018
Osman Khalid Butt said that Meesha did it for the cheap publicity.
A woman breaks her silence about abuse, withstands character assassination & further abuse on social media, her story turns into memes & tone-deaf jokes that trivialize the issue, she fears ostracization – but suuuuure, she did it for the cheap publicity. https://t.co/eDeOpXYUox
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) April 19, 2018
It may be recalled that singer and actress Meesha Shafi has alleged Ali Zafar sexually harassed her on more than one occasion.
The singer took to Twitter to speak up about her experience stating “my conscience does not allow me to be silent anymore.”
“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,” Shafi tweeted.
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 #MeToopic.twitter.com/iwex7e1NLZ
— Meesha Shafi (@itsmeeshashafi) April 19, 2018
Shafi continued, “Despite having a voice, there are some issues that are very difficult to speak about as a woman, especially sexual harassment.”
“If this can happen to someone like me, an established artist, then it can happen to any young woman hoping to break into the industry and that concerns me gravely.”
She added, “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 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.”Shafi who has featured prominently in Coke Studio further said, “ 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 behaviour and his attitude and I know that I am not alone.”
“Today I am breaking this culture of silence and I hope that by doing that I am setting an example for young women in my country to do the same. We only have our voices and the time has come to use them.”