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In a social media post, the 36-year-old said Zafar harassed her on multiple occasions and that “my conscience does not allow me to be silent anymore .”
“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,” tweeted Shafi, who has also featured in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag .
In her statement, the mother-of-two wrote, “As a woman, a public figure and a mother, I have always felt strongly about using my voice to encourage and support our youth who look up to me especially girls, who dream of carving their own path in Pakistan .”
“Despite having a voice, there are some issues that are very difficult to speak about as a woman, especially sexual harassment .”
“If this can happen to someone like me, an established artist, then it can happen to any young woman hoping to break into the industry and that concerns me gravely .”
She added, “I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassmentof a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar . These incidences did not happen when I was young, or just entering the industry . This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children .”
“It has been an extremely traumatic experience for me and my family . Ali is someone I have known for many years and someone who I have shared the stage with . I feel betrayed by his behaviour and his attitude and I know that I am not alone .”
“Today I am breaking this culture of silence and I hope that by doing that I am setting an example for young women in my country to do the same . We only have our voices and the time has come to use them,” she concluded .
Zafar, a Pakistani singer-songwriter, has worked in several Bollywood films including ‘Tere Bin Laden’, ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, ‘Chashme Baddoor’, and ‘Dear Zindagi’ .
Reportedly, it is for the first time a Pakistani celebrity has leveled allegations of sexual harassment against a colleague and it has come after ‘Me Too’ hashtag movement, wherein many female celebrities in the West spoke against sexual harassment and called out their harasses, made headlines from October 2017 onwards .