Pak singer Meesha Shafi accuses Ali Zafar of sexual harassment

KARACHI, Apr 20: Pakistani singer-actor Meesha Shafi has accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her, saying the decision to share her #MeToo story was difficult but she felt it was important to break the culture of silence.
Singer-actor Zafar, a well-known face in Bollywood, has “categorically denied all claims of harassment” and said that he “intends to take this through the courts of law”.
Shafi, who belongs to a family of actors, dropped the bombshell on Twitter where she posted a lengthy statement.
“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,” she tweeted.
Shafi said she had been subjected to sexual harassment “of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague” on more than one occasion.
The actor-singer, who has produced a number of successful tracks and acted in high profile films such as Mira Nair’s “Reluctant Fundamentalist” and Bollywood film “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, said it has been a traumatic experience for her and her family.
Referring to the ‘Me Too’ campaign, which became a rallying cry of women across the globe to share their experiences in the wake of Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal in October 2017, Shafi said what concerned her the most was that she faced it despite being an “empowered” woman.
“These incidents 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,” she said.
“I feel betrayed by his behaviour and his attitude. I know that I am not alone,” she added.
Meanwhile, Zafar took to twitter to deny the allegations and said: “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 movement, my family, the industry and my fans”.
“Ultimately, I am a strong believer that the truth always prevails,” Zafar said in a statement posted on twitter.
He also said that he is deeply aware and in support of the global #MeeToo movement and what it stands for.
“I am the father of a young girl and a young boy, a husband to a wife and a son to a mother. I am a man that has stood up for myself, my family, my colleagues and friends countless times in the face of slander, defamation and general unkindness. I will do the same today. I have nothing to hide. Silence is absolutely not an option,” Zafar added. (AGENCIES)


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