Meesha Shafi #MeToo row: Eyewitnesses come out in support of Ali Zafar

Last week on Thursday, Shafi, who is also an actor-singer had accused her colleague Ali Zafar of sexual harassment. 

Meesha Shafi #MeToo row: Eyewitnesses come out in support of Ali Zafar
Pic courtesy: @itsmeeshashafi. Ali Zafar - Movie still

Mumbai: Artistes who have worked with  Ali Zafar have come out in support of the Pakistani singer-actor who was accused of sexual misconduct by their colleague Meesha Shafi. 

Last week on Thursday, Shafi, who is also an actor-singer had accused her colleague Ali Zafar of sexual harassment. And later during an interview, she spoke about an incident during a jamming session when he behaved inappropriately with her.

Two women, who were also a part of the session have come out in support of Zafar.

Kanza Munir wrote on Instagram:

"I have been working with Ali Zafar on and off since the past 3 years or so and up until now 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. It would be great if this important movement isn’t taken for granted or misused for personal reasons stealing limelight from real causes. Rest, time will tell!! (sic)."

 

I have been working with Ali Zafar on and off since the past 3 years or so and up until now 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. It would be great if this important movement isn’t taken for granted or misused for personal reasons stealing limelight from real causes. Rest, time will tell!!

A post shared by Kanza Munir (@kanzamunir) on

Aqsa Ali wrote:

"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. (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.

A post shared by aqsaali.official (@imaqsa.ali) on

Soon after Shafi made such a claim by issuing a statement on Twitter last week, Zafar took to the micro-blogging site to deny all claims of harassment lodged against him by her. 

He wrote: "I am deeply 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 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.
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."

Ali, a well-known film personality in Pakistan, is quite popular in India too. He has worked in quite a few Bollywood films and the list includes - Tere Bin Laden, Mere Brother Ki Dulhania, Kill Dill, London Paris New York and Dear Zindagi. 

Meesha had made her Bollywood debut in 2013 with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on the legendary sprinter Milkha Singh. She had also acted in Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

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