Teefa Is Trouble

Pakistani folks absolutely lost their minds when fierce vocalist Meesha Shafi accused heartthrob Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her. So the entire nation took to social media platforms mainly Twitter and Facebook, and began to express their opinions freely the way on a Pakistani can; by letting loose a stream of insults, jokes and of course, memes to brutally attack both parties. The brunt of the anger was mostly directed at Meesha, rather than Ali despite the fact that many other women came forward with similar allegations. Many chose to believe their beloved rock-star, and decided that Meesha was the guilty party and continued to berate her character.

Questions and statements of the most redundant and apathetic nature arose as the moral police came running with their sirens set to the highest volume, some of which are as follows:

Why doesn’t she take it to the court?

Where is the evidence?

Women file false allegations against men.

She must be doing it to gain publicity; she’s only seeking to defame Ali.

Look at her clothes, look at her attitude.

Why didn’t she speak up before this before, what was stopping her, why now?

It’s not as if he did it, but if he did – which he obviously didn’t because I live under his bed and listen to all his secrets as he pours them out into his pillow – she must have done something to provoke him.

Why did she continue to work with him afterwards?

All these questions have answers that rile up everyone on the side of Ali Zafar, on believing an egocentric, chauvinist, sexist, overrated male who is strutting up and down red carpets whereas Meesha hasn’t even made a public appearance only goes to show that she hasn’t gained an ounce of good publicity since she spoke up about the harassment. What people need to understand is that a man who was accused of sexual misconduct by so many women there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to him still went on to become the president of the United States of America. Furthermore, Ali Zafar supporters continue to play the, “Why didn’t she take him to court?” card. In case you haven’t noticed, this nation has a history of not serving justice to women in court. Meesha was ordered to remain silent by the judge on the matter – a male judge – whereas Ali Zafar has openly spoken about the allegations.

Khadeeja, the stabbing victim? Her offender was set free and received no punishment whatsoever.

Anyhow, with Ali Zafar’s new movie coming, the conscientious public decided to take matters into their own hands, through a peaceful protest. Now, a little insight: if you search the synopsis of the movie Teefa in trouble on Google, it reads:

The son of a gangster enlists an enforcer to kidnap a woman for an arranged marriage.

What is so good about a movie that portrays the epitome of toxic masculinity kidnapping a female? Nothing.

As for the people going on about how this may be the movie that could promote the Pakistani film industry and make economical leaps for the country: Women contribute to the economy as the work tirelessly in the agricultural sector – where their rights and contributions are largely ignored – in education, factories, as housemaids, and in corporate workplaces as well. So if their interests are not protected, if they cannot receive fair judgments in society, where their voices are drowned beneath misogynist slurs and sexual jokes, where they are killed in the name of honor, what is the point of promoting a film that goes on to objectify women?

The film industry needs thought-provoking movies and television shows that accurately depict the evils in our society and methods to fix them.

What we don’t need are actors and directors accused of sexual assault given lead roles so they can run around, unchecked and unconcerned about their behavior.

So, a boycott and peaceful protest were set up by none other than Zulfiqar Mannan, or Zulfi, a famous Aitchisonian loved by many. He urged people to peacefully protest against the release of the movie and Ali Zafar himself both in Karachi and Lahore. Suffice to say, when Ali Zafar showed up in Karachi to promote his new movie, he was startled by the protesters standing in wait of him. This was the reaction when saw the protesters rallying with posters and chants, of which the most notable one was, “Ali Zafar Sharam karo,”

There was another protest that quickly went wrong at Cinestar Cinema at Township Lahore. The protest was organized by The Women’s Collective. The peaceful protesters were harassed by staff and security alike, detained in a basement, and forced to give up their cell phones.

People all over the state have expressed fury at the treatment of the protesters and have rallied against Waleed Zaman and the SHO of the area, Mr. Muhammad Hussain. The SHO harassed the protesters and called their behavior immoral because of their gender. He justified harassment by posing a rhetorical question, “If you dress like that, why won’t such things happen to you?” As for Waleed Zaman, the son of the owner of Bareeze, and who is also the Creative Director of Kayseria openly remarked, “Because we support the sexual harassment of women,” when asked his reason to watch the movie. All hell broke loose.

Emotions run high after the unfair treatment of protesters and now more than ever people are urging each other to boycott such brands and artists.

It is time to hold them all accountable for their actions and make them pay for their crimes. Perhaps, Teefa really is in trouble this time around.

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