Stories about Meesha Shafi

The wider implications of #MeToo and #TimesUp in Pakistan

“Cancelled” – that’s the impromptu public response whenever a known personality is accused of harassment. When Ukhano (Umar Khan) was exposed for alleged harassment recently by multiple women, he was instantly ‘cancelled’ by a significant percentage of people on social media, that is until Polish vlogger Eva Zu Beck shared her experience of working with him. Just because he hasn’t harassed you, doesn’t mean he’s not a harasser In an Instagram story, Beck shared how she went trekking with Khan for two months, during which he never made her feel uncomfortable or threatened at any point. It made sense for her to come out in support of her ...

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Who faced the music better: Meesha Shafi or Ali Zafar?

This week saw yet another development in Pakistan’s first #MeToo case: Ali Zafar spoke directly to the media for the first time since he filed a defamation case against Meesha Shafi for accusing him of sexual harassment. Zafar confidently told the media that Meesha’s case has been dismissed and he has been proven innocent by the court of law. This is blatantly untrue. In fact, it is a vicious way of misleading common people who are unaware of legal proceedings and only believe what they hear Zafar say on the news. What is actually happening? Firstly, according to Nighat Dad’s statement, Zafar has ...

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#IBelieveHer, and so should you

Throughout her advocacy for sexual assault survivors, Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, has mentioned how action being taken in any particular case does not bring her personal joy. She repeatedly reminds us how this is not what the movement is about – it is about healing for the survivors. Burke is not delusional with the idea that sexual harassment will disappear from the world over the next decade, but she believes a shift in narratives – how we talk about it – is possible by then. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as ...

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Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp: Is the credibility of #MeToo and women survivors under threat?

Last week, actor Johnny Depp hit his former wife Amber Heard with a massive $50 million lawsuit, which alleges that Heard’s claims of domestic abuse against Depp were a “hoax” intended to “advance her career”. Not only is Depp arguing that his then-wife’s case was completely fake, he is also alleging that he was the victim of domestic violence. Depp’s lawyers claim to have a lot of evidence, including almost 87 video surveillance clips from around their home and testimonies of numerous witnesses including the couple’s friends and neighbours. Even though the court of public opinion has already demonised Heard ...

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The year that #Metoo was reborn, and with it the sisterhood of victims

It is the defining moment of the year gone by, not because it finally became part of a global movement but more so because it took a second wind to unsettle the dominant voices of patriarchal corridors and send a message that #Metoo was not about some misguided and delayed wave for justice, just as it was never about a woman in the wrong job at the wrong time. All it had ever been about was consent. October 2018 will be remembered as the renaissance of the #MeToo movement in India. A forgotten actress Tanushree Dutta touched down from the ...

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#PunishSadatBashir: Are 80 voices not proof enough?

Online feminist campaigns such as #MeToo have brought down many titans of toxic masculinity. Famous international cases include James Dean, a famous adult actor who was accused by many women of sexually assaulting them. The House of Cards star and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey too was accused by a man of sexually assaulting him and is currently under police investigation, after having his contract with Netflix ended for his shameful conduct. The never-ending list of accused also includes other former legends like Bill Cosby and recent addition, Morgan Freeman. In all these cases, the allegations have been and are undergoing investigation by relevant authorities. Careers have taken ...

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In Pakistan, does #MeToo come with a desi tarka?

The #MeToo campaign was initiated by activist Tarana Burke, after she had a conversation with a 13-year-old girl who opened up to her about sexual abuse.  The victim: A 13-year-old girl.  The purpose: To give her a voice.  The concept was to create awareness, and give a platform to the victims when their vulnerability had been taken advantage of. This was sexual assault, a highly sensitive matter. The international movement was bound to come home one day, and of course, in a country where the Chinese don’t recognise their own Manchurian and where pizza has seekh kebab layered over it, we gave the #MeToo ...

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Is #MeToo doing more harm than good in Pakistan?

I am not going to start with a validation of how the #MeToo as a movement was so desperately needed to save us women. Frankly, my conscience could no longer bear witnessing the abuse of this narrative, most especially within the elite circles, to which all of us writing and commenting belong. Let me start by saying that women like me, like Aysha Raja, and like all those writing about the relevance of #MeToo, are born with the privilege of empowerment. We are, in most cases, as empowered as the men in our lives. I have myself seen women ...

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Dear Nadia Jamil, you cannot support Meesha Shafi and stand by Ali Zafar at the same time

Every Pakistani is familiar with Nadia Jamil. Her Twitter bio describes her as an activist, amongst many other roles, and thus far her activism on social issues, particularly child sexual abuse, has garnered her many admirers. She can also be described as a feminist, by her own admission of what she understands feminism to be. Feminism to me is equal opportunity and equal respect ✊ https://t.co/637NQ0vKNQ — Nadia Jamil (@NJLahori) April 23, 2018 I have a lot of wonderful friends who are men. If feminist means believing men & women are equal,have equal rights 2 equal opportunity & RESPECT, have the ...

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Do Meesha Shafi’s allegations hold no value just because Ali Zafar “looks like a decent guy”?

I remember spending a whole day during school trying to convince my friend how good-looking this new singer was. She disagreed. But as an 11-year-old, I was very persistent, because not only was he good-looking, he was also ordinary. A boy who spent his days making portraits of others at a hotel lobby, who then suddenly went on to be known as Pakistan’s very own Kishore Kumar. But she still disagreed. So I convinced myself that since she was not a Pakistani, she knew little about the country’s beauty. But that was 2003, and today is a different story. Fifteen years ...

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