Newsmakers 2018: Meesha Shafi – Pakistan’s #MeToo leader | Pakistan Today

Newsmakers 2018: Meesha Shafi – Pakistan’s #MeToo leader

The Me Too movement didn’t hit Pakistan until April last year. The global movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault took down giants including the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. In Pakistan, it was Meesha Shafi who first came forward with her own story of facing sexua misconduct from fellow musician Ali Zaffar.

From then on it was a tumultuous time for Shafi. With the support also came the backlash.The industry didn’t quite rally to her and the malice on her social media from defenders of Ali Zaffar was palpable. One would be wise to always ignore people claiming that coming forward with a story of sexual harassment is ever a ‘publicity stunt’. But it becomes hard to ignore the narrative when the minister of state for interior calls it a ‘drama’ as Talal Chaudhry had done.

With little support, lots of ill will and a raging legal battle from Ali Zaffar’s team of lawyers, Meesha Shafi managed to stick up not just for herself but also for the many other women out there with such experiences.

Abdullah Niazi

Abdullah Niazi is a member of staff currently studying Literature at LUMS. He also writes and edits for The Dependent.