Monday Jul 08, 2019
KARACHI/LAHORE: Singer-model Meesha Shafi on Monday slammed the attacks Ali Zafar launched on the #MeToo survivors and her legal team in the July 3 hearing of a defamation case.
In a series of tweets, the famed feminist singer clarified that other women who accused Zafar of sexual harassment or misconduct "did so of their own free will".
Terming Zafar's attempts to discredit survivors of sexual trauma as "nothing new", she wrote: "These attacks and conspiracy theories, albeit very creative, are baseless and going after all the women standing up for women is an entirely predictable age old silencing tactic."
The musician further expressed her gratitude to her legal team — including women's rights activist and lawyer Nighat Dad, Ahmad Pansota, Saqib Jillani, and Hina Jilani "for being on the right side of history tirelessly with integrity".
Shafi noted that it was "extremely underhanded and desperate" to try and malign her lawyers.
The no-holds-barred singer also made a jibe at the so-called conspiracy theories that Zafar so frequently uses to describe the sexual assault allegations made against him by at least half a dozen other women.
"WOW! Conspiracy theories are so creative, if only the same creativity was being channeled in an artist’s work, one wouldn’t have to claim damages over losing work. Pffffft," she wrote.
The "Mein" singer further bashed misogynists who cry "foreign funding, foreign agenda" whenever brave women decide to speak up about being harassed, violated, humiliated or feeling unsafe. "Get a life!"
Quoting a prominent journalist's tweet, she wrote: "Together we are stronger.
"Also, pertinent to mention in light of recent attacks on my lawyers and others who are speaking up, this was not a conspiracy!
Shafi, known for being an unapologetic feminist, urged people to help change the country.
"Enough is enough. Get with the program. Learn about consent and accountability. Safe spaces. Freedom of speech. Gender equality and respect!
"Together we can," she vowed.
Back on Wednesday, Zafar had appeared for a hearing of the Rs1-billion defamation case he had filed under the Defamation Ordinance 2002 against Shafi almost a year ago.
Zafar had tried to reason that although he supported the #MeToo movement, it was being misused against him.
He had presented what he termed was "further evidence of a criminal conspiracy against him for a common agenda".
The singer had demanded Shafi and the four other friends who levelled accusations of sexual harassment against him also be summoned and had maintained that their claims had no truth whatsoever.
Speaking to media after the hearing, Zafar had said: "This movement is a well-respected movement at the international level. [However], if they use a pure cause for their personal gain, then this battle is not just mine … this battle is not just men's … but it's more of a women's battle.
“Meesha Shafi’s claim in her court testimony that the other women who came forward are unrelated is a complete lie," Zafar had told the court.
"Our findings exposed that they were deeply interlinked much before the allegations.
"The common link seems to be Nighat Dad. They were all either working with or for her," he had added.
It is noteworthy to mention that Dad, part of the legal team representing Shafi, had earlier clarified that her client "has not been called by the court as of yet" but "will go once court will direct her to" appear.
Zafar had mentioned three other women in his testimony, terming one's claims to be a "lie" and another's to be an "unsubstantiated accusation".
He had further said other women who made allegations against him were "connected to Nighat Dad", "actively working for Nighat Dad’s foundation" or were "seen regularly communicating on Twitter prior to the accusation".
"I was the target of a plan to launch the Metoo movement in Pakistan. […] All this was done as part of a bigger plan to launch herself into prominence and for other gains which will reveal themselves in time in the court of law," he said.
In a previous hearing on July 1, Zafar had termed Shafi's claims of sexual harassment against him an "organised plot" that caused him "mental anguish and financial damage".
"Fake accounts [on social media] were used to launch a campaign against me," he had said, terming the allegations of sexual misconduct a "conspiracy".
"Each of the people running a campaign against me is directly linked to Meesha and her representatives," Zafar had further claimed.