After being accused of sexual harassment by Pakistani singer Meesha Shafi, Ali Zafar has sent a legal notice to her, denying the claims.
According to a report in Geo News, the actor-singer has sent a defamation suit to Meesha on 23 April. In the legal notice, Zafar seeks an apology from Meesha which, if not provided, will result in “damages to the tune of at least Rs 100 million” under Defamation Ordinance. It also directs Meesha to “delete the tweet dated 19.04.2018” within two weeks of the legal notice issued.
Meesha Safi had recently released a statement invoking the #MeToo movement, and accusing the Dear Zindagi actor of sexual harassment. Shafi and Zafar have shared the stage on multiple occasions.
Earlier, Ali Zafar had issued a statement, denying the singer’s claims. He had taken to Twitter to slam Shafi’s claims as slanderous and stated that he has nothing to hide.
"“I categorically deny any and all claims of harassment lodged against me by Ms Shafi. 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 vendettas on social media and in turn disrespecting the (#MeToo) movement, my family, the industry and my fans.”" - Ali Zafar, Singer/Actor
Read his full statement here:
Zafar also said in his statement that he would be suing Meesha:
"“I intend to take this through the courts of law and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any allegations here....”" - Ali Zafar
However, now other women are speaking up accusing Zafar of harassment. Journalist Maham Javaid took to Twitter to share how Zafar had tried to kiss her cousin several years back and how then, they had decided not to speak up about it because they knew his celebrity status would ensure non-action.
So @itsmeeshashafi's brave sharing of her experience reminded me of a story about @AliZafarsays from many many years ago, when Ali Zafar tried to kiss my cousin and pull my cousin into a restroom with him. Luckily my cousin's friends were there to push Ali Zafar off https://t.co/kBQbBiwyFP— Maham Javaid (@JMaham) April 19, 2018
This was on a boat on the way to a party at the Yacht Club between 2004-2005. Why don't I remember the date? Bc this is what's crazy: in those days such sexual harassment was such a non issue and simultaneously such a taboo that we hardly spoke about it— Maham Javaid (@JMaham) April 19, 2018
We didn't even think of telling anyone, apart from friends, or reporting him because "he's a celebrity, no one would possibly care or listen". And tbh over the years we forgot the story ourselves, until today. Thanks @itsmeeshashafi for reminding us that our stories matters— Maham Javaid (@JMaham) April 19, 2018
Make-up artist Leena Ghani shared her story on Twitter too and wrote how while getting a selfie with Ali Zafar, she felt his hand going up her waist. And now Meesha’s story has assured her that it wasn’t her imagination.
Raees star Mahira Khan also took to social media to support the women speaking out against harassment.
The sick mentality of those commenting on an issue as serious as sexual harassment as casually as they are just shows where 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.— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) April 20, 2018
Artist Meesha Shafi spoke about being sexually harassed by Zafar on social media on 19 April and that as a woman, she could not stay silent on the matter and hopes to “break the culture of silence that permeates through society”.
"“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.”" - Meesha Shafi, Singer/Actor
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
(This is a developing story.)
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