KARACHI: Singer Meesha Shafi, who accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment on more than one occasion, has thanked UN Women Pakistan for voicing its support for #MeToo campaign.
Her remarks came in response to a joint statement issued by Purna Sen, UN Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Sexual Harassment and other forms of Discrimination, Jamshed Kazi, UN Women Country Representative, Pakistan and Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator, Pakistan
“As the courage of #MeToo speakers across the world forces a reconsideration of how violence against women is managed and ended, we express our solidarity with victims and with the pressure for change. This is as urgent in Pakistan as it is in the rest of the world,” they said.
In Pakistan, women have long called attention to the variety and extent of violence – from crimes of ‘honour’ to laws on rape to ending child marriage and the prevalence of domestic violence.
The UN officials also acknowledged the progress made to tackle violence against women, honour killings, child abuse and gender inequality.
“We acknowledge a series of progressive legislation enacted over the past few years at both the federal and provincial levels which include greater protection of women, in line with Pakistan’s international commitments,” they said.
Among others, this includes the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010 and relevant sections of Pakistan’s amended Penal Code where greater emphasis needs to be made on continued implementation and enforcement nationwide. Recent efforts have also strengthened the law against ‘honour’ killings and rape.
“We welcome these changes and provide our reassurance to the victims/survivors of our support for their pursuit of justice. All violence at work must be similarly seen as unlawful yet we must go beyond law to change cultures that blame women for actions done to them, that excuse men for their abuse. This is what will challenge and undo systems of gender inequality.”
“UN Women will continue to support and advise on ways to make lasting change. We as the United Nations, know that it is incumbent upon us too to clean our own house. This significant task is in our sights. We say to the women who are speaking up: we hear you, we are with you,” they added.
Shortly after the statement, Meesha Shafi took to Twitter to express her gratitude for the UN Women Pakistan.
“Your strong statement of support means the world to me and all the other women finding their voice to stand up and speak up. Indeed #TimesUp,” she tweeted.
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