Two female band members have come out in support of pop star Ali Zafar, refuting claims by industry colleague Meesha Shafi that he harassed her last year at a jam session where they were also present.
Singer and actor Meesha Shafi sparked nationwide controversy last week when she accused the Teefa In Trouble star of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions.
In an interview with Instep, the 36-year-old mother-of-two said the first time Ali harassed her, she didn’t react. But, she alleged, it happened again for a second time late last year in a jam room where the two were preparing for a song. In both instances, she claimed, they were not alone.
Since then, two women have come forward, claiming they were present when Ali and Meesha were jamming.
Aqsa Ali, a members of Ali’s band, said, “As a woman and a musician, I have to talk about this issue. Meesha said that her conscience (SIC) doesn’t allow her to say quiet – so does mine.”
“At this particular jam session, I was present as a vocalist,” Aqsa wrote in a social media post. “So was Farhan and the entire band along with the event organiser. 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.”
“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 behaviour towards everyone in the band but I feel worse because she is misusing and disrespecting this movement,” she added.
Another band member, Kanza Munir, also rebutted the allegations.
“I have been working with Ali for past three years and I stand witness to this particular incident that Meesha has quoted,” she posted on Instagram.
“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 continued.
Since Meesha’s allegations, a number of other women have also come forward to accuse Ali Zafar of sexual harassment.
The pop star has categorically denied all claims of harassment lodged against him by Meesha Shafi. In a statement posted on Twitter, the Coke Studio singer said he intends to take the matter “through the courts of law, and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any accusations” on social media.