Meesha Shafi took Twitter by storm when she accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment.
Meesha Shafi and Ali Zafar have pretty much been face to face on social media today. Twitter was lit on fire with Meesha’s tweet and Ali’s response to it. Both celebrities are telling two opposite sides of the story and we do not know who to believe.
Meesha took a bold step and using the #MeToo hashtag accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment.
Meesha Shafi has claimed that she had been subjected to sexual harassment of a “physical” nature at numerous occasions at Ali’s hands. She also encouraged other women to speak up and use their voices because that is all the victim has got. Meesha has set path for other women, who do not have enough courage, to step up and speak their truths.
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
If it can happen to Meesha Shafi, a well-known artist, it can happen to anyone.
What Meesha said in her message too was that no woman is safe from the vile nature of certain men. This step has made it clear that whenever a woman speaks ill of a man and his actions she will face consequences. The first thing Pakistani society does is to blame the victim and the same thing happened with Meesha.
Reading the replies underneath her tweet one is bound to feel disgusted and even shocked.
Soon the “ghairat brigade” was seen coming to action as pictures of Meesha floated all over the internet. Pictures where she is willingly wearing the clothes of her choice and posing for a picture with a male friend. Those same pictures have been used to victim blame her and tell her that if Ali Zafar harassed her, he is in the right.
Reason: You wore such and such clothes and were definitely asking for it.
While we cannot know for sure what transpired between Meesha Shafi and Ali Zafar we must commend Meesha’s bravery. It is not easy for a woman in Pakistan to do what she did. She is in the public eye and her action might even encourage more women to do the same thing.
Consequently, Ali Zafar also issued an official statement and denied all allegations. This has brought Meesha Shafi and Ali Zafar on two opposite grounds.
Ali Zafar alos resorted to social media and his official statement clearly denied any and all allegations against him. He very humbly dictated that he had a family, he was a father, a son and a husband, and he has done no such thing.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) April 19, 2018
It has now come to a point where it is Meesha’s word against Ali’s. Ali Zafar has so much as even threatened to take this to court as it has done nothing but tarnish his public image.
Ali Zafar is one of the few Pakistani celebrities that have received international fame. He is well-known across the border as well.
While we see no reason why Meesha Shafi would blame Ali Zafar as she will gain nothing out of this, we cannot ignore Ali’s claims of innocence. It might not be possible for us to judge whether Ali Zafar has harassed Meesha or not. The point though is much bigger than Ali and Meesha.
Such cases are always reduced to minimum impact as the personalities are discussed while the issue is not.
We need to realize this sooner rather than later that sexual harassment is a real issue and it goes way beyond two celebrities. Meesha Shafi may be right, Ali Zafar may be right but none of that will ever change how wrong, disturbing and vile this act really is.