Actor and filmmaker Usman Mukhtar has denied allegations of harassment levelled against him by Mehrooz Waseem, a female artist and musician based in Islamabad, and has said he will be taking the legal route by filing a lawsuit against her.
Waseem, who publicly identified herself on Instagram, has accused Mukhtar of groping her at a party in 2017 — a claim he has denied to Images — and harassing her in the workplace when they worked on a music video together in 2016. She described him as "extremely unprofessional, difficult and arrogant".
"The reason I did not use the 'proper route' which him and his friends who have threatened me and violated my rights during the shoot of the music video is because he does not sign any agreements and neither of how he violated my bodily sovereignty for a few seconds at a public gathering when no one was looking, because we do not go everywhere with cameras attached to our bodies," she said in a statement posted on her Instagram.
According to her statement, she first made public her allegations in January 2020.
Waseem said this statement was given to the FIA as part of the case filed against her by Mukhtar; however, the actor has rebutted this claim and says a different statement was provided to the agency.
Images has reached out to the FIA to verify the content of the statement.
The case was highlighted on social media when Mukhtar posted about it on Instagram.
Without naming the artist, he said he has been harassed, blackmailed and bullied online for the past year and a half by her. He told Images that he did not name Waseem because he did not want her to be subjected to cyber bullying.
Apologising for the timing of his post — as the country rallies behind women speaking up against abusers and harassers — he said his intention is to stop people from exploiting the situation for their own "false and unfounded gains".
Mukhtar told Images that the FIA was initially unable to locate Waseem and then summoned her multiple times before she gave her statement.
In a followup post on Instagram, he asked his followers and supporters to stop sending Waseem "abusive and offensive" messages. He also called on "abusers" to stop using his posts.
"If you’re an abuser, please don’t use my story in any way whatsoever, I’m done with abusers in my life and will not abide by this."
He told Images that the lawsuit is a last resort. "I didn't want to do this because it's just so much money involved [for both parties]. I really just wanted to end it, but there is no other choice," he said.