Last week, Ali Zafar publicly addressed allegations of sexual harassment made against him by Meesha Shafi when he made an appearance outside Lahore High Court. In a series of TV interviews and tweets following those comments, Ali has repeatedly insinuated that he has been exonerated of the charge by the judiciary and that Meesha is now avoiding court proceedings in the defamation suit filed against her by Ali.
On Saturday, Ali appeared on Geo News show Naya Pakistan where he broke down while talking about what he and his family have endured for the past one year in the wake of this serious allegation against him.
“I decided that I will take the legal route but they [Meesha and her supporters] tweeted about me through fake accounts and contacted organizations which would hire me so that my career is destroyed. Any such allegation on a man or woman can destroy them,” he said.
— Shahzad Iqbal (@ShahzadIqbalGEO) April 28, 2019
He added that Meesha should answer what she aims to gain from this case; whether it is Canadian immigration or her attempt to garner fame from the international Me Too movement, she should be held answerable.
Meesha too, broke silence on the matter and appeared popular talk show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Ke Saath last night (Monday) to address pertinent questions regarding the case. She stated that after the alleged incident of sexual harassment took place, she did not spend her days thinking about it or planning when to make a public statement about the matter as she had blocked out the incident but had made a promise to herself that after what she had experienced firsthand, she would not let herself go through this vulnerable situation again. Which is why, when a situation arose where she and Ali had to work together for a TV project over an extended period of time, she couldn’t hold herself back.
“I tried my best to not let this come out in the public. I was clear that I do not want any controversies regarding the matter and I tried my best to communicate through representatives how I feel about having to work with him but he persisted that I come to meet him at his house which was not acceptable for me.”
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
She added that the people involved in this communication stated if an apology would be deemed acceptable by her, however, when the response was in the affirmative, Ali retracted from his statement and requested that Meesha should meet him personally.
Referring to Ali’s claim that she not only rehearsed with him but also performed with him on stage after the alleged harassment incident, Meesha said, “It was part of the agreement as per the professional contract. the organizers insisted therefore, it was neither my choice nor my decision.”
She also clarified that the court has not summoned her therefore, she is not liable to appear in court until an order demands. Ahead of Meesha’s appearance on TV, her legal team also issued a statement on her behalf, clarifying that Ali has not been exonerated of the sexual harassment charge and that the case was dismissed on jurisdiction grounds with Meesha’s appeal pending in the Lahore High Court and there being no decision given by any court on merits of allegations thus far.
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) April 29, 2019
Watch her complete interview with Shahzeb Khanzada and let us know what you think: