Pakistan’s entertainment industry has been rocked by allegations against Ali Zafar that he has denied. The scandal has sparked a national conversation about sexual misconduct and promoted others to come forward with few in defense of Meesha Shafi and others in allying with Ali.
Meesha has gone on record saying that the incident took place at Ali’s residence, late last December when they were jamming for a concert. A number of women have come forward claiming they were present when Ali and Meesha were jamming. They said that the two maintained a very professional relationship while Ali’s nine band members along with his manager, Taha Sadaqat, were also present. Meesha’s manager, Farhan, and the event organizer were also amongst the ‘witnesses’.
One of Ali’s band members, Aqsa Ali said, “As a woman and a musician, I have to talk about this issue. Meesha said that her conscience doesn’t allow her to say quite – so does mine.” She added that she has traveled with the Channo singer and seen girls “throw themselves” at him, but he has always made sure to be friendly and not make anyone uncomfortable.
So as the stories taking turn every minute regard Ali Zafar, MeeshaShafi &#metoo movement, I think as a musician and a woman I should talk about this issue as I was SHOCKED 😮 right now with this article of Meesha. She said that her conscious doesn’t allow her to say quiet so mine also doesn’t allow me. As I am the part of concert crew, I travel intl and locally with Ali Zafar, and I have seen girls throwing themselves at him and his gentlemanly response to that which is so rare of any rockstar. balkay we all travel like friends and we work in a very comfy environment. Today finally Meesha tells us what she says happened to her that Ali harassed her at a jam or did something wrong to her and I cannot stay quiet. I was at this jam session becoz I sing in Ali’s band and so was her manager and our entire band. I am astonished that she would take a lie to this level which so many of us can prove wrong. We all have pictures, we were there and event manager was there and it was a gr8 jam session. I am a woman and I would never allow wrong to any woman. But come on , it’s a serious matter and we should be really clear on everything rather then putting accusations on people and then saying sorry you cannot question any woman it’s wrong. Ali is a genuine person, who treats people around him nicely and has always been a support system for everyone; Accusing some1 is easy but living with the guilt is difficult. As a woman I felt sad with her rude behaviour towards everyone including the band but more I feel bad that she’s causing disrespect to this Intl movement of women and all of us female musicians and hard working women.
“At this particular jam session, I was present as a vocalist. So were Farhan and the entire band along with the event organizer. We had a great jam session. As a woman, if I would have felt that there was any sort of misconduct, I would be the first person to take a stand,” explained Aqsa. She also mentioned that everyone jammed for about an hour and Ali and Meesha were not left alone – even for a moment.
Aqsa claimed, “Ali is a genuine person who has always been supportive. Accusing someone is easy but living with the guilt is difficult. I was upset with Meesha’s rude behavior towards everyone in the band but I feel worse because she is misusing and disrespecting this movement.”
I have been working with Ali Zafar on and off since the past 3 years or so and up until now I’ve been quietly observing the current situation because I am no judge of personal character be it Meesha Shafi or Ali Zafar. However, I stand witness to this particular ‘Jam’ late last year that Meesha mentions in her interview with The News. The whole house band along with myself and another fellow female vocalist were present during this session and whatever interaction took place between the two was in front of at least 10 other people. All I can say is that this particular statement that she makes here is rather odd. I have toured with the Ali Zafar band a lot of times and all my trips have been really pleasant and professional and we’ve spent hours jamming together. It would be great if this important movement isn’t taken for granted or misused for personal reasons stealing limelight from real causes. Rest, time will tell!!
Another band member, Kanza Munir also came forward via Instagram in Ali’s defense. She wrote, “I have been working with Ali for past three years and I stand witness to this particular incident that Meesha has quoted.” Kanza added that there over 10 people present at the jamming session and whatever interaction occurred, was witnessed by everyone who was there. “I have spent hours jamming with Ali on different tours which have been pleasant and professional. It’s important that this movement is not taken for granted or misused for personal reasons, stealing limelight from real cause,” she explained.
Earlier, a Twitter user named Sofi accused Ali Zafar for misconduct during the Shaukat Khanum US tour, stating that the organisers were informed of the incident but they still went ahead with the rest of the shows. However, Naila Khan who was part of the organising committee tweeted, “It is a complete lie because the Washington DC event was the last one in the series. There was no event after that.”
In an interview, Meesha stated that she shared the stage with Ali only because it was about business and she didn’t want reasons like these to affect work. However, Ali and Meesha were hired to perform separately but their duet performance was optional. Currently, Ali is preparing to sue Meesha for her accusations.