Singer-actor Ali Zafar’s mother has come to his defense amid allegation that he had sexually harassed a number of women in the past.
Talking to Geo News, Dr Kanwal Ameen said the allegations will be dealt in court of law. She added that “a man also has a family just as a woman does. For me, both genders are equally respectable. Just like a woman, a man also has respect and dignity.”
Singer Meesha Shafi on Thursday shocked Pakistan’s entertainment industry when she claimed that Zafar had physically harassed her on more than one occasion. Since then, a number of high-profile women had made similar accusations against Zafar, who is a well-known name in Bollywood as well.
Shafi wrote on Twitter:“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.”
Shortly after this, Pakistani journalist Maham Javaid said that Zafar had tried to misbehave with her cousin as well.
“So @itsmeeshashafi’s brave sharing of her experience reminded me of a story about @AliZafarsays from many many years ago, when Ali Zafar tried to kiss my cousin and pull my cousin into a restroom with him. Luckily my cousin’s friends were there to push Ali Zafar off,” she wrote.
Make-up artist Leena Ghani too took to social media to share her story, saying she felt him touching her inappropriately once while clicking a selfie with the singer.
“In the many years I have known Ali, he has on several occasions crossed boundaries of what is appropriate behaviour between friends,” she wrote. “I have chosen to ignore it out of respect for his family, but today I feel I must speak my truth in light of recent revelations. His behaviour displays a clear lack of respect for women. Inappropriate contact, groping, sexual comments should not fall in the grey area between humour and indecency… In such cases most women like myself run from such a situation and hope to God you never cross paths again. And when by some misfortune you do, you hide from him. Hoping his sleazy eyes and hands don’t find you again. His hands don’t make their way up a nd down your waist or hold you too tight while you desperately try to wiggle and run…” she wrote.
Zafar has denied the accusations and has even threatened legal action against Shafi.
“I intend to take this through the courts of law, and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any accusations here,” he wrote on Twitter.