Last year, PR Mogul Frieha Altaf kick started the campaign #MeinBhi, in solidarity with sexual harassment victims – Pakistan’s answer to the worldwide #MeToo movement.
The initiative was launched at the 17th Lux Style Awards (LSA) with a song featuring Ahsan Khan and Amna Ilyas. After prominently taking a stand against sexual harassment, this year’s LSA has drawn ire for “nominating an alleged harasser”. The act propelled a boycott by multiple celebrities, who have either withdrawn their nominations or simply opted out of the ceremony.
After model Eman Suleman became the first to give up her nomination, several other artists followed suit. Amid all the tension leading up to the 18th edition of the extravaganza, Altaf has taken to Twitter to share her two cents on the matter.
“The #MeinBhi movement is not a one off,” she wrote. “The struggle to ensure a safer workplace will be a lifetime effort. My #LSA turf is the LSA show and stage – not the nominations that are done by the independent juries. Not one has a say in what the jury decides.”
She continued, “But I want to make it very clear that if I do #LSA2019, it will reflect every value that I uphold. I had every intention of including #Mein in the show’s flow and was in discussion with Meesha Shafi even before she was nominated and then stepped out.”
Altaf assured that this year’s show will reflect and uphold all #MeinBhi values. “In my opinion, if anybody should step down, it should be the alleged harasser, not those who are innocent and oppose him,” she shared. “The LSA platform and event is very close to my heart and I will continue to fight on my turf for women’s rights and empowerment.”
#MeinBhi was launched in order to fight against several human rights violations and encourages everyone to show support by saying Mein bhi aap ke saath hoon (I also stand with you).
“There are so many issues embedded in our society, beginning with food and shelter, only that #MeinBhi is an idea to not only include victims or survivors but say that I am part of a movement that will try to put a stop to injustices,” Altaf told the The Express Tribune earlier.
“The realisation stemmed from years of domestic violence,” revealed the PR mogul. “In 1999, when I got my divorce, I realised what was going on in my life and how abusive relationships were a result of something I never acknowledged. I didn’t understand how somebody as strong as me could tolerate being controlled,” she shared. “At that moment, I started seeing a lawyer, who gave me strength.”
Throwing it back to her personal life, Altaf mentioned, “I had seen and read enough to know that I had to take stock and not allow myself to continuously be abused. I’ve gone through it all. I’ve been through marriages, I’ve been abandoned, I’ve been stood up at my wedding and I’ve been cheated on but I got the courage to fix it and get out of it.”
The likes of Suleman, Meesha Shafi, Rubab Ali, The Sketches, Generation, Saima Bargfrede and Fatima Nasir have also dropped their nominations from Pakistan’s biggest award ceremony.
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