Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi among others speak up on the Meesha-Ali controversy | Pakistan Today

Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi among others speak up on the Meesha-Ali controversy

LAHORE: The Pakistan film industry got its own taste of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement Thursday when singer/actor Meesha Shafi accused fellow singer Ali Zafar of sexual harassment on multiple occasions.

Meesha made her allegations public via a Twitter post in which she said that she cannot maintain silence anymore. The singer shared her experience in a note with the caption, “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.”

Ali Zafar, on the other hand, denied all allegations and shared that he will follow the proper course of law to deal with the issue.

Meesha’s allegations sparked a controversy on social media as fellow actors and fans came forward to share their two cents on the issue.

Several Pakistani celebrities including Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Osman Khalid Butt, Maya Ali, Urwa Hocane, Fakhr-e-Alam have come forward to speak on the issue.

Mahira Khan who recently portrayed the role of a rape victim in her film Verna also addressed the issue on Twitter saying that “the root of this problem exists – in our minds. We will continue to breed harassers for as long as we continue to desensitise this issue.”

Actor-anchor Hamza Ali Abbasi also shared his two cents on the matter. Abbasi, who is known for his conservative views remarked: “I am beginning to realise that ISLAM was right all along when it ordains gap between the 2 genders. So called modernism has brought us to a point where the line between flirting & harassment is insanely blurred.”

In his next tweet he said, “FOR EXAMPLE: The man flirts, the woman doesn’t tell him she is feeling uncomfortable, maybe he is in a position of power or other reasons, the man takes it as consent, the woman years later comes out saying she got harassed & the guy keeps thinking he just flirted with consent!”

However, he immediately clarified his statement by saying, “I am not justifying men here neither justifying silence as consent, I am just saying how things are getting so blurred & so easily prone to manipulation! Easy liberal hawks… Easy!”

British-Pakistani actor Armeena Khan, who is a vocal advocate of women rights also shared her thoughts on Twitter. Armeena has been the subject of internet trolls also. She appealed to the masses to reserve their judgments “till all goes through the courts.”

However, she said that she was “horrified at the personal attacks against Meesha based on her occupation and gender.”

Khan chose to not pick any sides, writing, “I’m not saying that she’s wrong and he’s right or that he’s wrong and she’s right; that’s for the courts to decide…This culture of shame is what leads to rape and little girls being killed. What a sordid affair.”

Osman Khalid Butt voiced his support for Meesha in a Twitter post which read, “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 ostracisation – but suuuuure, she did it for the cheap publicity.”

Osman also voiced his support for the singer by sharing an excerpt from her statement on his Twitter.

Maya Ali spoke up for her Teefa in Trouble co-star and requested everyone to see the full picture before making any judgments.

Sharing Zafar’s defense note on Instagram, Maya wrote, “I’m not here to say who is wrong and who is right or who did what and who didn’t… Let’s say, I haven’t known him for long, but I have been working with him since 1 year, we shot our film in Lahore and then we were all together in Poland to shoot the rest of the film and I never ever got any kind of that vibe from him… I always found him talking to his wife and kids on FaceTime and this made me a fan of hi, because he would always share his good and bad moments with his wife and family… When we were on set or in any restaurant with the whole team he would always make sure that he was sharing these moments with her… I am not judging anyone nor giving any clarification on anyone’s behalf, and we can’t judge the one side of a book… I respect this man and want the truth to come out until then we shouldn’t judge anyone’s character.”

A post shared by Maya Ali (@official_mayaali) on Apr 19, 2018 at 10:35am PDT

Urwa Hocane also supported the 36-year old mother of two with a tweet which read, “More power to you! Meesha Shafi.”

Singer-Songwriter Fakhr-e-Alam requested everyone to not pass judgments.

“Idiots who are thinking I am by any means dismissing allegations or taking sides need to know I am in shock and I find no amusement in this situation. But cuz I know both Ali Zafar and Meesha Shafi I am just hoping this is a bad misunderstanding & if true must be consequential.”

Sanam Taseer, who has known Zafar since childhood supported the actor and said that “he can be completely trusted.”

However, other Lollywood bigwigs have chosen to remain silent on the issue as of now.

Saman Shafiq

The writer is a former member of the staff and holds a BA.LLB Degree from the Lahore University and Management Sciences (LUMS). She tweets @saman_shafiq7

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  1. Pakistani said:

    This woman is nothing but trash. She belongs to a class that brings shame to the people of the country. Our Media Ads are full of such indecent women who would remove their dress at the drop of a hat.

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