Pakistani celebrities miss no opportunity to pontificate on how to address sexual harassment cases. His entertainment websites are awash with reports on #MeToo developments around the world.
But it’s the opposite when it comes to his own #MeToo cases.
The Pakistani film fraternity has shown utter disregard for acknowledging the harassment case brought against its star Ali Zafar.
During April 2018, singer Meesha Shafi said Ali Zafar sexually harassed her.
According to the Tribune Newspaper of Pakistan, the mother of two took to Twitter to share her experience. Shafi said that she was sharing her story because she feels that talking about these issues will break the culture of silence.
In a photo posted on Twitter, the singer wrote: “I have been subjected to sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague in my industry – Ali Zafar. These incidents did not occur when he was young or just entering the industry. This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered and fulfilled woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children.
Meesha, who is also the spokeswoman for the L’oreal Paris brand, also mentioned that this has been a very traumatic experience for her and her family. “Ali is someone I have known for many years and with whom I shared the stage. I feel betrayed by her behavior and her attitude and I know I’m not alone.”
Ali responded by denying the allegations and filing a libel case against Shafi.
As the most high-profile #MeToo is underway, one expected a bit of restraint from the film fraternity in Pakistan. But no, the Pakistan Lux Style Awards (LSA) announced that Ali Zafar is nominated as the winner of the Best Actor Award in 2019.
The reaction of a section of Pakistani celebrities was one of surprise.
Celebrities and winners of the Lux Style Awards in Pakistan left the event to protest the inclusion of Ali Zafar. In reaction, the organizers issued a shocking statement saying they are not concerned about the Metoo cases in Pakistan.
This reaction and statement is being seen as a blow to the #MeToo movement in Pakistan, which is already ranked as one of the worst countries for women’s safety and women’s rights.
Daily Times, Pakistan reports that it all started when model Eman Suleman made the announcement on her Instagram account. “The 27-year-old Pakistani model stood up to an alleged sexual harasser, who was also a prominent nominee at the awards show,” the newspaper reports.
Here is the video.
A few days later, it was the turn of Meesha Shafi, who withdrew from the event with a post on Twitter.
Next up was the famous Pakistani director Jami, who not only withdrew from the award show, but also threw all three LSA awards on the street in protest. He also posted it on social media.
Following this, the trend caught on in Pakistan, and according to the latest reports, almost nine celebrities opted out of the event.
Here are some of the names that have had their names withdrawn (the list is still being developed as more people come forward and cancel their appearances). They are: Eman Suleman, Meesha Shafi, Rubbab Ali, The Sketches, Generation, Saima Bargfrede and Fatima Nasir.
Let’s just hope these so-called celebrities in Pakistan clean up their own homes before lecturing others outside their country.
Categories: point of view