From being good friends to sworn enemies, here’s a breakdown of what happened between the singer and actor, in their own words in a timeline of events that have occurred.
Starting from the alleged event in December 2017 when the incident of harassment took place at a jam session 2 nights before both Ali Zafar and Meesha Shafi performed at a concert together, independently then together from which Meesha had uploaded an image on her twitter. This tweet has since been deleted.
Four months later, in the spring of April 2018, Meesha Shafi shook the media and entertainment industry when she took to twitter stating she had “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.”
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 pic.twitter.com/iwex7e1NLZ
— MEESHA SHAFI (@itsmeeshashafi) April 19, 2018
Shortly after the waves that followed Meesha’s allegations, Ali Zafar responded a few hours later saying he would take her to court!
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) April 19, 2018
Celebrities from every corner since then, stood up for either party with their thoughts and opinions, some in support of Meesha, others in support of Ali.
A woman’s heart, soul, and body belongs only to her. I applaud Meesha Shafi’s bravery in telling her story of sexual harassment. To say that this a publicity stunt is abhorrent. She is a pioneer! She is also my niece! LET'S STAND WITH HER! @itsmeeshashafi #MeToo#TimesUp pic.twitter.com/G6W3a8UcAf
— Faran Tahir (@farantahir_) April 28, 2018
— Sanam Saeed (@sanammodysaeed) April 27, 2018
The sick mentality of those commenting on an issue as serious as sexual harassment as casually as they are just shows where the root of this problem exists – in our minds. We will continue to breed harassers for as long as we continue to desensitise this issue.
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) April 20, 2018
— URWA HOCANE (@VJURWA) April 19, 2018
A woman breaks her silence about abuse, withstands character assassination & further abuse on social media, her story turns into memes & tone-deaf jokes that trivialize the issue, she fears ostracization – but suuuuure, she did it for the cheap publicity. https://t.co/eDeOpXYUox
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) April 19, 2018
Other celebrities also spoke out as well, including Resham in support of Ali Zafar, Ayesha Omar in favour of Meesha who also claimed she had experienced harassment but was not as strong as Meesha to speak about it yet, and of course Momina Mustehsan who mentioned her having been a victim of sexual harassment too, and there should be voices raised about this.
Meesha then spoke out again saying,
“I was jamming with my band in Lahore and the organizers insisted that he was trying to get in touch. It started turning into a thing, and I was being seen as difficult or a diva, I got such feelers. I was avoiding him. I was asked to jam, figure out songs, scale and it happened while we were jamming.”
“I have started talking to people and divulging my experience. I’m finding it hard on my conscious [sic] to stay silent any longer than this because I’m seeing such brave girls and women speaking up – not just around the world – but here as well,” she said in the interview.
Ali Zafar’s band mates however have claimed they haven’t experienced any such behavior and find it hard to believe that this happened.
Shortly after, rumors circulated that Ali had sent a notice to Meesha requesting she take down this tweet defaming him or he would sue for RS 100million. The notice was not confirmed as received and Mohammed Ahmed Pansota and Nighat Dad were then appointed as Meesha’s representatives for all legal matters pertaining to her harassment claim against Ali Zafar.
The UN tweeted their views on this, without explicitly naming Meesha or Ali but the message hinted towards the matter as shown below:
"There must be consequences for those who choose to abuse and not to comply… We say to the women who are speaking up: we hear you, we are with you."
Read the Full Statement: https://t.co/QtNDSAzkwj pic.twitter.com/T27frk6uI3
— UN Women Pakistan (@unwomen_pak) May 4, 2018
A month later in May, after receiving the notice, Meesha Shafi’s lawyers responded to the legal notice sent by Ali Zafar, saying: “We categorically deny all allegations, assertions and/or insinuation made in your notice against our client, all of which are legally and factually incorrect…The Notice is hence rejected it in its entirety.”
Fast forward to April this year, a little over a year later, the actor/singer of Teefa in trouble turned to twitter quoting his legal counsel after Meesha’s team denied having received notices of defamation from his team.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) April 30, 2019
Recently, Ali Zafar broke down in tears during an interview on Geo News’ programme Naya Pakistan, subsequent to which Meesha Shafi was also called for an interview on Monday by Shahzeb Khanzada. This has led to more conjecture off course and Ali Zafar has even put up a clip of the video of the jam session in question. Seemingly providing an exit route to meesha as he said he would forgive her if she apologizes to his wife and she accepted that apology. Meesha however does not seem to be in any mood for an exit and her lawyers have sent another court notice of defamation for Ali for the remarks he made on air.
Hence it seems this will go on for more time then anyone figured it out to last and all we can do is pray that justice is served and the resolution reached is a fair one.