London police protecting Hareem Shah after 'threats, blackmail'

By
Murtaza Ali Shah
|
Social media sensation and activist Hareem Shah speaks to Geo News. — Supplied
Social media sensation and activist Hareem Shah speaks to Geo News. — Supplied

LONDON: Social media sensation and activist Hareem Shah has been given protection by London's Scotland Yard after receiving threats from some people living in the British capital, the police have confirmed.

A London police spokesman confirmed to this correspondent that Hareem — whose real name is Fiza — had made a complaint to the police about some people, alleging she was being blackmailed, chased and threatened. 

The TikTok star approached the police after falling out with some people she knew in Manchester and had been living with them.

Last week, some videos and pictures of Hareem were released on social media by anonymous accounts.

The controversy started after a group of British Pakistanis approached Pakistani media members, alleging that Hareem had stolen their £5,000  to £5,500 in Manchester and fled the city for London. 

However, Hareem denies stealing any money and says the accusers should go to the police against her and get her investigated, instead of maligning her on social media and through threats and blackmail.

After Hareem complained to the London police, the local police from Slough as well as the UK govt’s Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) became involved in the investigation. 

The police confirmed to Geo News that Hareem was advised to move from her known address just outside of London — and relocate to a new address arranged by the police to protect her from the people who, according to her, were knocking at the doors of her friends, looking for her.

Hareem left Pakistan more than a year ago and has not returned to the country ever since. She says she is now living permanently in London.

“Members of a mafia made threats to me. They harassed me and hounded me in many places. I went to the police with proof of their blackmail. The police have accepted my evidence and started an investigation.

"Now the police, the Home Office and the local govt are protecting me and I am thankful to them. It’s very simple, this group should go to the police and take me to court if I have stolen their money. It’s a lie. This group has gone against me after I rescued a girl who was being blackmailed.”

Even though Hareem has been out of Pakistan for several months, she continues to be in the news. 

Few months ago, her husband Bilal Shah went missing after he arrived in Karachi from London. The TikToker alleged that her husband was “kidnapped for unknown reasons” but Bilal's family said that he was being questioned in relation to Hareem's social media posts, mainly Hareem’s account on X, formerly Twitter, which is now deleted.

Bilal was released after a few weeks in custody where he was asked questions about his wife’s X account. Sources in Karachi had said that Bilal told investigators that Hareem was not directly running the Twitter account but someone else was running it with her permission.

Permanently in London now, Hareem says she has become a rights activist too. “I have joined a human rights group which works for the women's rights.”