LAHORE: Pakistan’s entertainment industry has been rocked by allegations against Ali Zafar that he has denied. The scandal has sparked a national conversation about sexual misconduct and promoted others to come forward with few in defense of Meesha Shafi and others in allying with Ali.
Meesha has gone on record saying that the incident took place at Ali’s residence, late last December, when they were jamming for a concert. A number of women have come forward claiming they were present when Ali and Meesha were jamming. They said that the two maintained a very professional relationship while Ali’s nine band members along with his manager, Taha Sadaqat, were also present. Meesha’s manager, Farhan and the event organiser were also amongst the ‘witnesses’.
One of Ali’s band members, Aqsa Ali said, “As a woman and a musician, I have to talk about this issue. Meesha said that her conscience doesn’t allow her to say quiet – so does mine.” She added that she has traveled with the Channo singer and seen girls “throw themselves” at him, but he has always made sure to be friendly and not make anyone uncomfortable.
“At this particular jam session, I was present as a vocalist. So was Farhan and the entire band along with the event organiser. We had a great jam session. As a woman, if I would have felt that there was any sort of misconduct, I would be the first person to take a stand,” explained Aqsa. She also mentioned that everyone jammed for about an hour and Ali and Meesha were not left alone – even for a moment.
Aqsa claimed, “Ali is a genuine person who has always been supportive. Accusing someone is easy but living with the guilt is difficult. I was upset with Meesha’s rude behaviour towards everyone in the band but I feel worse because she is misusing and disrespecting this movement.”
Another band member, Kanza Munir also came forward via Instagram in Ali’s defense. She wrote, “I have been working with Ali for past three years and I stand witness to this particular incident that Meesha has quoted.” Kanza added that there over 10 people present at the jamming session and whatever interaction occurred, was witnessed by everyone who was there. “I have spent hours jamming with Ali on different tours which have been pleasant and professional. It’s important that this movement is not taken for granted or misused for personal reasons, stealing limelight from real cause,” she explained.
Earlier, a Twitter user named Sofi accused Ali Zafar for misconduct during the Shaukat Khanum US tour, stating that the organisers were informed of the incident but they still went ahead with the rest of the shows. However, Naila Khan who was part of the organising committee tweeted, “It is a complete lie because the Washington DC event was the last one in the series. There was no event after that.”
In an interview, Meesha stated that she shared the stage with Ali only because it was about business and she didn’t want reasons like these to affect work. However, Ali and Meesha were hired to perform separately but their duet performance was optional. Currently, Ali is preparing to sue Meesha for her accusations.
The Express Tribune has reached out to Meesha Shafi for a comment and is awaiting reply.
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