Model Nimra Jacob accuses Hasnain Lehri of physical assault, he denies claims

Several female models have rallied behind Jacob, corroborating her allegations and asking for a safer work environment

Rida Lodhi/Sajeer Shaikh May 28, 2023

In a shocking turn of events, Pakistani models Hasnain Lehri and Nimra Jacob have found themselves at the centre of a controversy following an alleged incident at the Trade Development Authority Pakistan's (TDAP) fashion show during this year's Textile EXPO (TEXPO2023). A video released by a Pakistani tabloid captured Lehri engaged in a heated argument in the presence of other models, including Jacob.

The video showed a tense situation as the female models surrounded Jacob, who appeared visibly shaken by the alleged incident. The argument unfolded as Lehri vehemently denied the accusations. While some people held Lehri back, a group of models surrounded Jacob, who was on the verge of tears.



While The Express Tribune reached out to Jacob's manager for a statement and is yet to hear back, the model posted a series of Instagram Stories to convey her side of the story. "You can't mistreat me. You can't threaten me. You can't bully me. And you surely will not put your hands on me without consequences," stated the model. "We, in the fashion industry, have seen too much abuse, disrespect, and complete, utter negligence for our safety to tolerate it anymore. I have no space in my heart for forgiveness when it comes to abuse, harassment, bullying, assault, etc."

She wrote further, "Without any plausible cause, threats were made at me. I was verbally abused and physically assaulted. My property was taken and used to blackmail me. My female colleagues were harmed in the process of trying to protect me. This all happened at work, where I made sure to bring it to the attention of the management that I was being threatened by the perpetrator before he even became violent. The management should have taken action the first time I mentioned concern for my safety."

Jacob continued, "I'm lucky there were eyewitnesses to this man's horrific actions. From his threats to his violence, some people witnessed it all. As traumatized as I am, I'm not standing alone. I refuse to let anyone abuse, threaten, intimidate, or belittle my colleagues or myself in any way. Today I stand to let you know that I will call out these abusers, harassers, and bullies for exactly who/what they are. Every single one of them."

Capping off her thoughts, she said, "If we want the industry to be a safe space, we need to take a stand and collectively check disrespect at the door. We need to demand accountability for those who are supposed to ensure our safety at work. And demand zero tolerance for the perpetrators involved in spewing such violence and aggression at the workplace. I'm done with this toxic, abusive culture. No more! Enough is enough."

Lehri denies accusations

The Express Tribune was able to get in touch with Lehri. The model has shared that Jacob first misbehaved with him. "I categorically deny all accusations of physical altercation and abuse," Lehri said. "I come from a very respectful family, we aren't the kind of people who would get into an issue as petty as this."

Sharing how the events unfolded, the model commented that it all began when Jacob purposefully bumped into him during the ramp walk for sportswear brand, Spartans. "During the crossing at the ramp, Jacob hit my shoulder. We went backstage and she walked towards me, asking me to learn how to walk on the ramp. This resulted in an argument and she brought my deceased father into the conversation." Lehri then asked her to leave and the duo went back on-ramp for the finale.

He added there are witnesses for this verbal argument. He then asserted many people were present there, including organisers Tehmina Khaled, Tehmim and choreographer Nubain Ali. "I raised my issues with them, who told me [Jacob] has had several issues with other models and is notorious for her unprofessionalism," he said.

"When the show was done, I packed my bag, readying to leave; Nubain approached me and asked me what the issue was. As Nubain and I were discussing, this is when [Jacob] returned and started the argument again," Lehri went on. "She then told me to f--k off, and I said it back. That's when she took out her phone and started recording me."

The model added that he asked Jacob not to make a video four times in front of Ali before Lehri took her phone. He recalled snatching the phone from Jacob's hand. "This isn't acceptable and I took her phone. That is all I did. I took the phone from her hand and kept it with me because she was recording me without my consent. She just wanted to show her side of the story," he said. "I wish I had taken out my phone and started recording how [Jacob] was misbehaving as well."

Lehri added he will not be manipulated by anyone and will not stand for bullies. "With God as my witness, I can swear on the Holy Book that all I did was take her phone. I didn't assault anyone, I didn't physically abuse her. [Jacob's] three friends teamed up against me. They will support her," he added.

He added that when he was discussing the issue with the organisers and after Jacob threatened to 'call men', Lehri added he told them to call whoever they wanted to. Once he refused to return Jacob's phone, the police were called. "If I was in the wrong and the alleged physical assault did happen, why would the police let me leave? I was free to go," Lehri remarked. "I respect my fraternity but [Jacob] is grossly manipulating the whole situation."

Organisers unfold what went down

The Express Tribune also contacted Khaled, the event organiser and CEO of Take II PR. Khaled was vehement in her stance, refuting that security was lax and called the entire ordeal a 'catfight' based on past tussles. "This happened when the show had officially ended," began Khaled. "Everyone had left. Regarding Jacob's connection with security, the Prime Minister came to the inaugural event. As far as Expo security is concerned, all the security agencies were hired. This is a TEXPO exhibition, which TDAP has annually, where more than three hundred exhibitors and five hundred buyers of all nationalities were present. It cannot be that such a VIP event doesn't have security."

She also went on to deny allegations of abuse. "Nobody raised hands on anybody. It was an old feud between these two models that's been going on for years - a grudge they had to settle. It was a childish catfight, with 'Oh, he elbowed me,' and 'Oh, this person abused my father or mother.' But what is happening these days is that people start making videos and putting them on social media to achieve something out of it."

When asked to confirm the timeline and whether or not this happened after the show, Khalid said, "Of course. One and a half hours after the show. Everybody had left. I don't know why these girls stayed back. They were settling scores."

She further elaborated, "Their tussle was ongoing. They were in the last segment, probably. That was Ali Xeeshan's segment. Xeeshan is a loud man who, after a successful finale, gathers all the girls, his journalists, and the organising team for a picture. In that image, you can see both Jacob and Lehri." She also stated that they all did a celebratory dance backstage and there was "no tension." Khalid clarified, "Had I known, I would have stayed; we would have stayed; nobody stayed."

She reiterated again, "After investigating the whole thing last night - [I can confirm] nobody touched anybody. I would have never allowed that. I would have called the police there and then. Nobody punched anybody. We told the girls last night, too - get a medical done. But nobody went because there was nothing there." When asked if the police got involved, Khaled said, "Not at all. It was badly reported by social media. No police were involved. People said Lehri was taken in by the police, but he was sitting with me. We sat him down and asked him to apologise and he did."

When again asked if Lehri took up the issue with Khaled after the show, she said, "Yes. After the show, he was the first to come and complain to me. As soon as he got off the ramp, the show was going on, he came up - Deepak Perwani was sitting there, I was sitting there and someone else was there too - and he told us what she did - elbowed him and abused his recently deceased father. He was all shaky. I held his hand and asked him to calm down."

She then went on to state that due to contractual agreements, she and her team might send out legal show-cause notices. "We have a strict contract with the girls. They cannot go and badmouth the client or anybody because these girls do this on social media nowadays." She continued, "If they malign the organisation, they will receive a show-cause notice."

Industry lends support to Jacob

Prominent model Zara Peerzada took to her Instagram Stories to share her thoughts on the matter. "Stop hiring violent males to walk your shows, be in your shoots. It's not complicated. How about when you see abuse taking place, you address it and intervene? It's not complicated. Stop doing empowerment campaigns for women to sell your clothes when you don't have respect for them or their safety. It's not complicated. This is not an isolated incident. Why are models alone braver than all managements, guardians of industry, and designers with all their pomp and circumstance? Why do you hesitate so to discipline or sideline abusive men? It comes at the cost of safety," she said.

Fashion designer Kamiar Rokni also shared a statement, voicing his concerns about the incident and stressing the importance of creating a safe space for models. "Toxic male behaviour needs to be addressed in the fashion industry," he stated. "Violence against girls backstage at a fashion show is a new low. This can not be allowed to happen again it is up to us to come together and make this a safe place for the girls. Our models are an invaluable part of our industry and we can't stand around while they are abused."

Farwa Ali Kazmi, another prominent model, joined the chorus of support for Jacob, calling for accountability and proper investigation. "In solidarity with girls who experienced this traumatic incident," wrote Kazmi. "Shame on those who watched and did nothing other than Sachal Afzal who stood up for these girls. Whatever beef you have with a person, it is never okay to raise your hands on another person, especially women. It is not okay to threaten and disrespect others. To claim that you respect women and do otherwise, it's just so disappointing. Breaks my heart that I once knew this person and believed him to be a good human. Shocking how one can have many faces/personalities."

PR maven Frieha Altaf also tweeted her support for Jacob. "Deeply disturbed by the news on how Jacob, a model was bullied and felt unsafe at a fashion event. Anoushey Ashraf, [the] red carpet host also felt scared and unsafe at a man making a video of her at the same event. Must create safe spaces for all women at work," she penned.

Ashraf did, however, tweet a correction pertaining to Altaf's tweet. "I wasn’t quoting my experience from this event though," she said. "It was earlier during the day when I was driving. Mistreatment of women is a very real issue and no one should feel they can get away with it."

Model Eman Suleman stated, "Let's not pretend this hasn't happened before. We've heard stories, and many of you have witnessed the violent tendencies this man has displayed before. He should've been held accountable then, but this industry loves protecting toxic men."

Have something to add? Share it in the comments below


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ