BY ANUJ RADIA
Pakistani actor and singer Ali Zafar has firmly denied any and all claims of harassment lodged against him by compatriot actress-model-singer Meesha Shafi.
Ali recently took to Twitter and said he has nothing to hide and that silence is not an option.
“I am aware and in support of the global #MeToo 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 who 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 categorically deny any and all claims of harassment lodged against me by Shafi,” he added.
The actor, who has also worked in Bollywood films like Dear Zindagi, London Paris New York, Chashme Baddoor and Kill Dil, said that he will take legal action.
“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,” the note read.
Just recently on Thursday evening, Shafi sparked Pakistan’s #MeToo moment when she took to Twitter to allege Ali Zafar sexually harassed her on more than one occasion.
This is the first incident of a Pakistani celebrity alleging a colleague harassed her.
She tweeted: “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.”
Since then, several other women have also accused Zafar of sexual harassment. Some of the names include Make-up artist Leena Ghani, Journalist Maham Javaid and blogger Humna Raza.
Ghani wrote: “Seeing Meesha’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 added: “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.”
It is expected that the case will be taken to court and will be dealt accordingly, though no official confirmation or announcement has been made.
Further updates to follow.