Pakistan, Apr 19, 2018 : Pakistani actress Meesha Shafi has hit out at her colleague and Bollywood actor-musician Ali Zafar, saying that she has been sexually harassed "physically" by the actor on several occasions.
Meesha Shafi took to Twitter to say that she was "speaking out" now because she wanted to break "the culture of silence that permeates through our society".
"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," wrote Meesha on the micro-blogging site.
In her post, singer-cum-actor Meesha wrote, "As a woman, a public figure and a mother, I have always felt strongly about using my voice to encourage and support our youth who look up to me especially girls, who dream of carving their own path in Pakistan."
"Despite having a voice, there are some issues that are very difficult to speak about as a woman, especially sexual harassment," she wrote.
"If this can happen to someone like me, an established artist, then it can happen to any young woman hoping to break into the industry and that concerns me gravely," wrote Shafi.
She added, "I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar. These incidences did not happen when I was young, or just entering the industry. This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children."
Shafi, who has been seen in Coke Studio several times, added, "It has been an extremely traumatic experience for me and my family. Ali is someone I have known for many years and someone who I have shared the stage with. I feel betrayed by his behaviour and his attitude and I know that I am not alone."
"Today I am breaking this culture of silence and I hope that by doing that I am setting an example for young women in my country to do the same. We only have our voices and the time has come to use them," she concluded.
Ali Zafar hadn’t commented on the accusations at the time of publishing this.
Zafar, who made his debut with the film Tere Bin Laden, went on to feature in several Bollywood films too. He had a cameo in the Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dear Zindagi in 2016.