On Monday, Singer Meesha Shafi said she was willing to appear in court, if summoned, on charges of sexual harassment brought against her by fellow artist Ali Zafar in the defamation case.
In her first appearance on television since the cases of harassment and defamation were brought before the court, Meesha told Geo News in an exclusive interview that she had discussed the issue with the legal representatives of Zafar before making allegations of sexual harassment against the latter.
“I was trying my best not to let this come out. I had given them the message that I do not want a controversy of any kind, and that I do not want this to come out in public,” she said. “I have tried my level best to sort the issue behind close doors, privately. But I didn’t get any breakthrough.”
She said she gave the message that she was not working with Ali Zafar, but she got the answer that Meesha was supposed to visit him at his residence to discuss it.
She also said that if there is an apology, she was asked what she would do. She said she sent her reply to the offer of apology, but Zafar returned to her request to meet him at his residence.
“During those four months after the incident, I did not speak about it as I had blocked it out. I was not thinking about it, nor was I thinking about how or when to talk about it,” she said.
“I had made a promise to myself that, after what I had experienced first hand, I would not put myself in such a situation where I would feel vulnerable like this.”
Responding to performing on stage together with Zafar, Meesha said it was the idea of the concert organisers and that she did it on their insistence.
“It was part of the agreement as per the professional contract,” she said.
Meesha said that she has a number of witnesses with her who are willing to record their statement in the court.
“As per the harassment laws, the witnesses’ testimony is taken as evidence,” she said.
Zafar claimed Shafi wanted to immigrate to Canada, but he didn’t know why she made the allegations of harassment first. In response to Ali, host Shahzad Iqbal of the program pointed out that the Canadian PR of Meesha Shafi was approved in 2016.
“I don’t know why she is doing this… one should ask her. She should come to the court herself and reveal her true intentions,” said Zafar.
Meesha’s lawyer Nighat Dad took to Twitter on Sunday to call out what she called the dual standards of society in viewing male tears versus female tears while commenting on the recent breakdown on television by singer Ali Zafar while talking about the charges against him for sexual harassment.
“If women victims and survivors of harassment become emotional or angry at any point during their interviews or media trial, they would be categorised as “hysterical” or “unstable” or using “Women Card”,” she said.
She also said that it was unfair that the accused, who she pointed out as a privileged person, was allowed to go live on television to talk about his side of the story while the victim was under a gag order.