Ace singer Ali Zafar was recently presented with the Pride of Performance Award by the Pakistani government, one of the highest civilian honours in the country. Taking to his social media handles, the singer thanked his family and fans, adding, “I bow down in humility and gratitude to God, forever indebted to my fans and supporters.” While there were many who celebrated yet another milestone in Zafar’s long-standing career, a handful of women protested against it, throwing shade at the harassment allegations that have been levelled against the artist in the past. A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi, was signed by members of the Aurat March organization in Karachi and Multan, WAH Karachi, WAH Lahore and Tehreek-e-Niswan among others.
It read, “The decision by the office of the President to confer the Pride of Performance to Ali Zafar has deeply concerned us, as Mr Zafar stands accused of multiple charges of harassment in ongoing cases. Given the distinct accolade the award entails, we do not wish to see its legacy tarnished.” In retaliation, the Channo singer’s legal counsel has now released a statement on the matter. Barrister Ambreen Qureshi posted on Twitter, “Facts vs Fiction: Our response to the letter written to the President by the Aurat March Organisation in regards to the Pride of Performance Award given to Ali Zafar. #facts#fakenews#smearcampaigns#falseallegations#metoo.”
Facts vs Fiction: Our response to the letter written to the President by the Aurat March Organisation in regards to the Pride of Performance Award given to Ali Zafar. #facts #fakenews #smearcampaigns #falseallegations #metoo https://t.co/8OPAPueS76
— Barrister Ambreen Qureshi (@ambreenqureshi) August 20, 2020
Qureshi attached a document which read, “There is NO case in court against Ali Zafar.” This was followed by a string of supposed facts. It added that the complaint filed by singer Meesha Shafi against Ali Zafar was dismissed by the Punjab Ombudsman followed by the Governor Punjab and eventually the Lahore High Court. According to Zafar’s legal team, the cases that are still pending in court are the ones that Zafar filed against Shafi and are both civil and criminal in nature. These include the cases filed in the FIA cyber crime against those who have reportedly been involved in smear campaigns against the Pride of Performance recipient. The open letter lashed out at those who are responsible for tarnishing Zafar’s reputation during noteworthy achievements in his life such as the recent civilian honour. The document concluded with a request to Shafi to appear in court following a no-show previously after nine witnesses allegedly testified against her and in favour of Zafar. Twitter users have come forward to support Zafar’s legal counsel. One person wrote, “File a lawsuit against them… time to expose their agenda.” Another added, “I have been following this case very closely Ambreen and have done my own bit of research too. I must day well done! We need brave women like you. Don’t let them off the hook. They are criminals. #metoo.”