For the past couple of days, Ali Zafar has been doing the rounds at TV channels and giving his side of his story. At the end of every interview, Ali would challenge Meesha to come to face the cameras and give her side. A lot of people, including me, believed Meesha would remain silent and not take up this challenge, however, she left us all surprised.
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) April 29, 2019
Meesha Shafi gave an interview to Shahzeb Khanzada on GEO News and responded to all of Ali Zafar’s allegations.
She started off by talking about how the first instance of harassment happened a while before the alleged instance at the jam room. Meesha reveals that she confided in her husband about this and chose to keep it to herself- her basic thought at the time was to forgive and forget.
Moving on to the ‘jam session’ and the WhatsApp message that Ali Zafar keeps referring to.
The message, from Meesha, is a message of gratitude, and to express that ‘she had fun’ at the jam. Meesha reveals that she sent this message on a Whatsapp group made by the organizers of that jam session and the subsequent concert. She said that she was thanking everyone at the jam, and the organizers. She also talks about how she wanted to end things with Ali Zafar professionally and was simply being cordial.
After the alleged harassment at the jam session, Meesha said that she decided to distance herself from Ali Zafar and not work with him.
At this point, Shahzeb Khanzada asks Meesha what led her to take to Twitter with these allegations, and asked if she had and opted for other options. Meesha revealed that she, in fact, did exhaust all her options. She did not want this to go public and to this end had spoken to representatives of Ali Zafar and those close to him. She claims that she continually tried to reach out, however, the response from Ali’s end always involved a one on one meeting at his house.
Meesha does mention that at some point that she was asked if she would accept an apology. She had asked for time to consider this, however, this option was taken off the table.
Meesha Shafi claims that she tried to get this message to Ali Zafar on multiple occasions, however, was always met with the same response.
As time passed, Meesha learned that Ali Zafar was being signed to work on a project alongside her. Meesha had already decided to NOT work with him and had become distressed with this news. According to Meesha, she had exhausted all her options at his point, and her only option was to go public. She constantly emphasizes throughout the show that this is not something she wanted to do, but the circumstances forced her too.
Meesha also slams her ex-managers statement; a statement used by Ali Zafar’s team to speak about Meesha’s character.
According to this statement, Meesha is ‘a blackmailer’ and someone who will stop at no end to get things her way. Meesha begins by stating that this person worked for her for about 2 weeks, and managed a show of her’s in Dubai. After the show, this person collected the payment and ran away, leaving Meesha and her band behind. Meesha had to buy tickets for her and her band to fly back to Pakistan and also had to manage their payments out of her own pocket. Meesha said that it was a stressful situation where someone cheated her, and of course, she used harsh words when she messaged him.
Towards the end, Meesha Shafi also addresses Ali Zafar’s claim that her side is using false accounts and paid campaigns, and also the Ombudsman’s rejection of her case.
She uses the example of the recent trending hashtag ‘#FaceTheCourtMeeshaShafi’ to show that she’s always been the victim of cyberbullying and smear campaigns. Meesha says that she doesn’t ever talk about it because everyone can see what she has to endure on a daily basis.
On the matter of the Ombudsman, Meesha takes about the judicial system and how it needs to evolve and grow to include self-employed people, such as herself. The Ombudsman’s reason for throwing her case out was that her and Ali Zafar were not in an employee-employer relationship at the time on the incident. Meesha talks about how she’s always been a self-employed woman, and how this very literal reading of the law, excludes her for that very law’s protection. She places the onus of change on the judicial system.
Meesha Shafi conducted herself very well during this interview and answered all the questions and allegations against her with a lot of grace and strength. This move was an incredibly brave one for Meesha and her team to take, but it had become almost necessary for her to speak up.
Another shout out definitely needs to go to Shahzeb Khanzada. He was very respectful of Meesha, her concerns, and her limits. Upon that, he was continuously giving lessons to the audience about the intricacies of a harassment case.
While there was a lot of praise and support for Meesha after the interview, Ali Zafar took to Twitter to tell us how he felt.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) April 29, 2019
Truly, for the first time in a year, we have MORE information. We have, to some degree, both sides of the story, and explanations to go with it. This case was very quickly turned into a media trial, however, it is good to finally be able to hear both sides. Meesha’s point about the courts not being equipped enough to handle such a case is a valid concern, especially considering that this case holds a lot of value in the larger discourse surrounding the #MeToo movement in Pakistan.
To hear all that Meesha said, watch below.
Ali Zafar And His Wife, Ayesha Fazli Did Their First TV Interview Together, And Here’s Everything They Said
Cover Photo Courtesy: GEO News