Ali Zafar sexual harassment controversy: Bandmates defend actor-singer against Meesha Shafi's allegations
The allegations of sexual harassment against popular Pakistani singer and actor Ali Zafar have taken the country by storm. A day after singer Meesha Shafi accused him of sexual misconduct, more women from Pakistan's entertainment industry have come forward to allege that the actor misbehaved with them on various occasions. However, Shafi's claims have now been denied by two women who say they were in the same room when the alleged incident happened.
Aqsa Ali, a Pakistani model-singer took to Instagram to share Zafar's side of the story. In a lengthy post, she defends Zafar by stating that she has been a part of his concert crew and has travelled with him to foreign locations as well. She adds that Zafar makes sure everyone is working in a comfortable environment. She expressed solidarity with the #MeToo movement but added, "Astonished that she (Shafi) would take a lie to this level which so many of us can prove wrong. I am a woman and I would never allow wrong to any woman. But come on , it's a serious matter and we should be really clear on everything rather then putting accusations on people and then saying sorry you cannot question any woman it’s wrong [sic]."
So as the stories taking turn every minute regard Ali Zafar, MeeshaShafi &#metoo movement, I think as a musician and a woman I should talk about this issue as I was SHOCKED 😮 right now with this article of Meesha. She said that her conscious doesn’t allow her to say quiet so mine also doesn’t allow me. As I am the part of concert crew, I travel intl and locally with Ali Zafar, and I have seen girls throwing themselves at him and his gentlemanly response to that which is so rare of any rockstar. balkay we all travel like friends and we work in a very comfy environment. Today finally Meesha tells us what she says happened to her that Ali harassed her at a jam or did something wrong to her and I cannot stay quiet. I was at this jam session becoz I sing in Ali’s band and so was her manager and our entire band. I am astonished that she would take a lie to this level which so many of us can prove wrong. We all have pictures, we were there and event manager was there and it was a gr8 jam session. I am a woman and I would never allow wrong to any woman. But come on , it's a serious matter and we should be really clear on everything rather then putting accusations on people and then saying sorry you cannot question any woman it’s wrong. Ali is a genuine person, who treats people around him nicely and has always been a support system for everyone; Accusing some1 is easy but living with the guilt is difficult. As a woman I felt sad with her rude behaviour towards everyone including the band but more I feel bad that she’s causing disrespect to this Intl movement of women and all of us female musicians and hard working women.
Another band member, Kanza Munir, has come to Zafar's aid. She, too, claims that she was present during the said occasion and terms Shafi's statement "odd". In an Instagram post, Munir elaborates, "I’ve been quietly observing the current situation because I am no judge of personal character be it Meesha Shafi or Ali Zafar. However, I stand witness to this particular ‘Jam’ late last year that Meesha mentions in her interview with The News. The whole house band along with myself and another fellow female vocalist were present during this session and whatever interaction took place between the two was in front of at least 10 other people. All I can say is that this particular statement that she makes here is rather odd. I have toured with the Ali Zafar band a lot of times and all my trips have been really pleasant and professional and we’ve spent hours jamming together."
After Shafi leveled allegations against Zafar, several other women came forward to speak up against the singer. Pakistani journalist Maham Javaid tweeted that Zafar had tried to kiss her cousin "many years ago". Maham said they did not report the incident as they thought nobody would have believed their side of the story.
Make-up artist Leena Ghani also shared her story on social media. She said while clicking a selfie with Zafar, she felt him touching her inappropriately. She said the fact that Ali thought he could get away with saying vulgar things to her still "disgusts me".
With inputs from PTI.
Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 16:12 PM