Home Global Village Meesha Shafi-Ali Zafar spat is futile but may prove beneficial for women

Meesha Shafi-Ali Zafar spat is futile but may prove beneficial for women

Meesha Shafi

News Analysis |

The top notch figures of Pakistan’s thriving Lollywood industry have engaged in a bitter fight, strange in its nature, as the allegations revolve around the gender instead of professional jealousy.Ali Zafar has been accused of sexually harassing his colleague Meesha Shafi, and now both the rock stars are engulfed in a legal battle.Meesha Shafi, the daughter of veteran star Saba Hamid, in a Twitter post had alleged that Ali Zafar had sexually harassed her multiple times.

On the other hand, Ali Zafar, who has, under his belt, scores of successful films and songs, denied the allegations and has sent a legal notice, demanding an apology from Meesha and Rs 100 million as compensation.

Meesha Shafi is an empowered woman having a strong fan base and a family, known on the international scale, even then if she is finding it difficult to resist harassment, what can be said about the women working in fields or offices, much beyond the limelight of media.

The #MeToo campaign was stirred again in Pakistan, as more victims voiced their opinions, with Armeena Rana Khan, Humna Raza and others revealing their ordeals as well.

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The legal battle between the two Coke Studio stars is sure to linger on due to the complexity of nature; however, this exercise would help the women of Pakistan, on a large scale, to reduce the misogyny in the society and to claim their due space.

Apparently, Meesha Shafi would not be able to substantiate her claims in the court of law, because the legal procedures rely more on evidence than on assertions.Ali Zafar also has a widespread fan following and many stars including Resham and Maya Ali have thrown weight behind him.

Obviously, Meesha would find it difficult to substantiate her claims; though she is asserting her position, and Ali Zafar is likely to come out clean with a little dent to his reputation, even then the debate over the sexual harassment is of advantage to the oppressed women of Pakistan.

Looking at the census data recently compiled by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, men in Pakistan are in larger quantity than women.Specifically, men form 51% while women form 48.76% of the 207 million population of the country. The women besides facing domestic violence are also subjected to gender stereotyping in their professional career, with main roles assigned to men and additional duties handed over to the women, considering them frail.

The scathing allegations against Ali Zafar have sparked a debate in the country that the power-puff women can also face the issues faced by any ordinary women.

The positive vibes of #MeToo would not only address the issue of sexual harassment at workplace or public places, but the importance of women as a whole would be recognized out of the Meesha-Ali feud.

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According to the Global Gender Gap index 2017, Pakistan is at the second worst country on gender equality.The data compiled by the World Economic Forum places Pakistan at 143rd out of 144 countries, leaving behind only war-torn Yemen and violence-battered Syria.Though there are countless reasons behind gender inequality, sexual harassment is at its core.

When a woman is afraid of harassment, the question of her success in any field of life, especially the professional growth pops up.Meesha Shafi is an empowered woman having a strong fan base and a family, known on the international scale, even then if she is finding it difficult to resist harassment, what can be said about the women working in fields or offices, much beyond the limelight of media.

There are currently two clauses in Pakistan’s legal diary dealing with harassment: Section 509 of the Pakistan Criminal Penal Code and the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act of 2010.Although harassment has been declared a criminal offence, the legal loopholes still pose a threat to the implementation of the laws.

In the section discussed above, one of the words ‘modesty’ is confusing as the judge has to decide whether the accused actually interrupted someone’s modesty or was falsely being trapped.A recent case of sexual harassment against a renowned professor of Karachi University had sparked the debate across the country; however, the showbiz stars have rekindled the debate with more intensity.

Ali Zafar has been accused of sexually harassing his collegeue Meesha Shafi, and now both the rock stars are engulfed in a legal battle.

The Karachi university professor allegedly harassed a female university professor, who definitely missed the clout, Meesha Shafi enjoys.The scathing allegations against Ali Zafar have sparked a debate in the country that the power-puff women can also face the issues faced by any ordinary women.

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Though the counsels of both Ali and Meesha would be justifying their clients, with few hopes of any conviction, the issue of sexual harassment garnering spotlight is likely to affect ordinary women as well, who would feel safer in their work environment.A few men, who have been considering the other gender, a source of sexual gratification, would be cautious of their actions in future after the #MeToo campaign gains pace in Pakistan.

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