Momina Mustehsan asks Ali Zafar to apologise as allegations of sexual harassment grow
A day after Meesha Shafi went public with accusations of harassment against Ali Zafar, celebrities have finally started speaking up about the allegations and the #MeToo movement.
One such celebrity is Momina Mustehsan, who this evening released a carefully worded statement on the matter that appears to leave much open to interpretation.
In a statement released on her social media accounts Mustehsan said: "I too have been a subject of harassment, and this issue is bigger than just Ali Zafar."
She continues: "This is about the relationship of trust that men take for granted with women. Very often, as we can see, women are violated by the very men they know, trust and often work with. Though harassment does not mean rape, it takes a lot to gather the courage to come out and say this, and it is my fervent hope that people will see that saying this is very difficult for any woman."
Addressing the victim-shaming that other women on social media have faced, she says: "I personally stand to lose much more than I will ever gain, BUT this cause is greater than any one man or woman. It's about humanity and dignity, about equality and honor. I pray that people will stand by women who have been violated and victimized."
"I have been reading one question frequently "why wait so long before saying anything?" and the answer to that is, It's because rather than shame the perpetrator, society at large tends to shame the victim. There is also immense social pressure to "not say anything", and keep matters like this private because some people may immediately question the woman's character, for their own defense, and drag women through courts and humiliate them, knowing fully well that it is impossible to prove cases of physical harassment, hence forcing some women to eventually have no option but to pull back their cases. This affects families, lives, careers, all of it."
"The question that you must ask, is "despite all of the above, why would a woman stand up and say such a thing? After all, it will only harm her." There's your answer. We are speaking because we have no choice. We don't have anyone else to speak for us. I ask you to please think of it from our point of view. Place yourself or someone from your family in our positions for a moment, and you will immediately know what we are feeling, and have been feeling, for years. In all humility, I BEG all of you to please become our support system. Help us rise."
"I stand by all the women who have had to deal with inappropriate behavior of any sort. It's time Pakistani women are able to stand up and hold their oppressors accountable, no matter how strong or influential they are. Don’t be scared. They are strong because we are weak - lets change that. Speak up, stand up. Call a spade a spade. And it's definitely time Pakistani men stood up for our women."
"I hope all the men reading this agree that harassment of any form is NOT OKAY."
She then directly addresses Ali Zafar, saying: "BUT I would want to ask @AliZafarSays one question: do you think you have EVER, knowingly or unknowingly, violated a woman in any way or form? If you have - because no one is an angel - I request you to acknowledge your fault, apologize unconditionally, learn from the mistakes, and become a better human being."
Mustehsan's star skyrocketed in the Pakistani entertainment scene after her appearance on Coke Studio. Since then, she been vocal about issues like women's empowerment, sometimes drawing criticism for her statements, sometimes praise. With over one million followers on Instagram and over 500,000 followers on Twitter, Mustehsan is easily one of Pakistan's most avidly followed celebrities.
Images has reached out to Mustehsan for a comment on the matter.