After popular model-actor-singer Meesha Shafi sensationally accused actor Ali Zafar of sexual harassment, more women have come forward against the the latter with similar allegations.
Meesha had taken to Twitter to post a long statement alleging she had been subjected to sexual harassment by Ali on several occasions even when she was a mother of two children. Ali has vehemently denied the charge and threatened to drag Messha to court.
Meesha’s post had said, “I have been subjected 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 be 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.”
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
Few other women too have taken to social media to make similar allegations against Ali. 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,” news agency IANS quoted her post.
“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.
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”. A blogger also recounted when he inappropriately touched her at a public event.
Actors Mahira Khan and Osman Khalid Butt have asked that matters related to harassment should be taken seriously, while another actor Hamza Ali Abbasi has caused a fresh controversy with his opinion stating that ‘Islam was right all along when it ordains gap between the two genders.’
“With this entire #MeToo global epidemic on the rise, I am beginning to realise that Islam was right all along when it ordains gap between the two genders. So called modernism has brought us to a point where the line between flirting and harassment is insanely blurred,” he wrote.
Random thought: With this entire #MeToo global epidemic on the rise, 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.
— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) April 20, 2018
Ali has also acted in Bollywood films such as Tere Bin Laden, Total Siyapaa, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Chashme Baddoor and Dear Zindagi among others.