LAHORE: In wake of the sexual harassment accusations levelled by actor and singer Meesha Shafi against colleague Ali Zafar, the latter has sent a legal notice to Meesha asking for removal of the allegations from her Social Media account.
According to Ali’s counsel, Meesha was sent a legal notice which seeks an apology from the 36-year-old, while it also demands removal of the tweet alleging Ali of sexual harassment. Zafar maintains that accusations against him are ‘false’.
Moreover, the notice mentions that a defamation suit will be filed against Meesha if she fails to issue an apology within 14 days. On the other hand, Meesha’s counsel has denied receiving any such notice from Ali’s counsel. Lask week on Thursday, Meesha took to Twitter and accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her “on multiple occasions”. “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 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,” she tweeted.
Later in the day, Ali Zafar also tweeted his response and categorically denied the accusations. He added that he will take the matter to court and resolve it via legal means. Ali Zafar is a well known face in Pakistan and India. In Bollywood, he has worked in films like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Tere Bin Laden. He is now in the middle of a raging controversy right now. He has been accused by a fellow musician and many other women of inappropriate touching, vulgar behaviour and sexual harassment. Ali Zafar has denied all the allegations. He wrote on social media, “He wrote, “I categorically deny any and all claims of harassment lodged against me by Ms *****. 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 vendetta on social media and in turn disrespecting the movement, my family, the industry and fans. Ultimately, I am a strong believer that the truth, always prevails.”
More women accuse
More women have come forward with similar allegations. The women, while lending support her, tweeted saying she was not alone and they had faced similar experiences, reported Geo News.
A make-up artist thanked the original accuser for being brave enough to speak out.
“Seeing (the original accuser)’s courage it’s impossible for me to not speak now, not only in support of her but also to say she’s not alone. In the many years I have known Ali, he has on several occasions crossed boundaries of what is appropriate behaviour between friends,” she wrote. She elucidated on how Ali’s behaviour displays a “clear lack of respect for women”. “Inappropriate contact, groping, sexual comments should not fall in the grey area between humour and indecency. Comments that would make your skin crawl and make you feel objectified are not to be reduced to ‘a joke’ such behaviours can leave women feeling embarrassed, small and reduced to the level of entertainment at the hands of a woman.
“In such cases, women like myself run from a situation and hope to God you never cross paths again. And when by some misfortune you do, you hide from him. Hoping that his sleazy eyes and hands don’t find you again. His hands don’t make their way up and down your waist or hold you too tight while you desperately try to wiggle and run,” she wrote.
The make-up artist said that the original accuser “isn’t and has not been alone”.
“The memories of the times when Ali thought he could get away by saying vulgar things still disgust me,” she added.
A journalist described an incident from “many many years ago” when Ali tried to kiss her cousin and pull her into a restroom with him. The journalist thanked the original accuser for “reminding us that our stories matter”.
Momina for apology
Popular singer Momina Mustehsan has urged actor Ali Zafar and all men who have violated a woman in any way, to acknowledge their fault and apologise unconditionally. Mustehsaan posted an open letter on social media, admitting that she has been a subject of harassment herself. She shared her thoughts after another singer had openly hit out at actor Ali Zafar of sexual harassment — a claim he has denied.