LAHORE – Meesha Shafi had earlier alleged that on multiple occasions she has been sexually harassed by none other than the most famous singer/actor, Ali Zafar. People were left shocked without any further details of how and when the occurrences took place.
Meesha Shafi finally tells more.
While talking to Instep, Meesha said, “The first time it happened, I didn’t react and just left,” Meesha recalls “I told my husband but also asked him to not react; I’m a public figure and so is he (Ali Zafar). My thought process was who I am and who he is and what that’s going to lead to. Being ready to talk was far off because it had just happened. I buried it.”
It happened for the second time late last year or last quarter of last year. The second time it happened in a jam room when they were not alone.
“I got booked for a concert,” “It is my bread and butter, it was work coming my way,” she says about why she agreed to be around him again.
“I was jamming with my band in Lahore and the organisers insisted that he was trying to get in touch. It started turning into a thing, and I was being seen as difficult or a diva, I got such feelers. I was avoiding him. I was asked to jam, figure out songs, scale and it happened while we were jamming.”
“I have run into him, our pictures have been taken, at social gatherings etc because it’s easier to tell yourself to move on in whatever way you can, you try.”
About what made her finally speak up she said,“The first and foremost reason is that I’m ready. I have started talking to people and divulging my experience. I’m finding it hard on my conscious to stay silent any longer than this because I’m seeing such brave girls and women speaking up – not just around the world – but here as well.
“I have to say, by the way, I salute these girls,” she continues, “It’s not easy. They are not public figures and I think it can be harder for me, in a way, but it’s hard for everyone. The more I think about it, the more I realise that if I don’t go public, nothing will change. It was eating away at me.”
“I am telling my children how important it is to speak up, so it was getting difficult for me to stay silent knowing that it was not accidental or subtle.”
She clears it out that she is not making a big deal out of a hug or a handshake that went on for too long. “Women who feel that that’s inappropriate and speak-up and feel harassed, that is absolutely their right and not to take away anything from them in any way but it was more than that and that people need to know.”
She concludes with a powerful statement, “It is liberating, it’s empowering and it’s not the end of the world. I only felt hesitant as long as I hadn’t told anyone. The more people I tell, the more power I feel. I do. That has been my direct experience in the case. I’ve done the thing I feared and I’ve taken the leap of faith. And you know what, it’s okay.”