Students were uncomfortable but university still invited Ali Zafar for concert, says Karachi student

Students were uncomfortable but university still invited Ali Zafar for concert, says Karachi student

March 28, 2022 0

What happened: On March 26, a Karachi female student named Alia* reached out to Propergaanda to share how her university organised an Ali Zafar concert on March 23 despite students protesting against it as the singer is known to be the prime suspect in Meesha Shafi’s harassment case since 2019.

Details: Alia went on to tell us that her university’s society, ‘Entertainment Relevant Society’ is responsible for organising musical nights that go by the name of ‘Jashn-e-Bahara.’ The names of the artists performing this year were revealed on March 15, which included Asim Azhar and Ali Zafar; however the former called the show off due to unknown reasons, and was replaced by Farhan Saeed instead. A male student named Shahrukh* started posting on university Facebook groups asking why a ‘controversial’ personality is being called to perform. Alia* said that Shahrukh* was then cyber-bullied and harassed, “The people defending the event started posting rigged articles of how Ali is cleared of the harassment allegations,” Alia* added.

The faculty: According to Alia, the protestors ‘exhausted’ all their efforts in 3 university groups, ‘The girls were harassed by boys in these groups. Our comments and posts were deleted by the presidential body of the entertainment society. It was then we started emailing the university management,” adding that Shahrukh* tried to initiate an official conversation with Ma’am Farzana*, who was representing the faculty for the event, and refused to converse with him, stating that the student is trying to taint the institution’s reputation. What you need to know: It is pertinent to mention here that Zain* is currently enrolled in his last semester and the faculty also subtly ‘threatened’ him by saying that he should be ‘careful about his actions.’

Alia’s confrontation with Ma’am Farzana: Later, Alia* took the matter into her hands and met with Ma’am Farzana on March 19, where the teacher tried convincing her that Ali Zafar also sang the OIC anthem this year and if he was at fault, he wouldn’t have been asked to do so, “I defended my argument by telling her that Coke Studio and Pepsi also hasn’t given Ali Zafar a platform since 2019 as the harassment case is going in Meesha’s favor,” Alia* added. Ma’am Farzana* told her that the university cannot cancel the event, and told Alia* to join the society instead if she wants to see a change, “She also said ke 4 bachon ki wajeh se event bilkul bhi cancel nahi kersakte. Not everything needs a reaction.”According to Alia*, Ma’am Farzana*also told her that girls who wear ‘such clothes,’ they should be the ones to come forward and raise this issue.

The voting: The university’s female community, ‘Female Exporum,’ held a poll on their Facebook group to survey how many women are comfortable with Ali Zafar coming for a concert among which 92 girls said they are comfortable and other 86 said they weren’t okay with it. The head of the group also spoke with Ma’am Farzana* and her stance was also dismissed by the professor. The university officially sent out an email too in which they mentioned how #MeToo movement is not ‘gender specific’ and Ali Zafar is innocent.

The bullying: Zain* was cyber-bullied in Facebook groups, according to Alia*, “They used his pictures for memes and amusement, when I told about this to Ma’am Farzana*, she agreed that it’s wrong to do so but she can’t take someone’s freedom of speech away,” adding that when they were exercising their right to free speech, it was being snatched away by the management itself.

Post-concert: ERS society later posted about how successful the event was and Meesha’s fans are jealous for the concert going so well, “Even when I’m passing by, people call me out saying ke tou Meesha ki fan hai, false allegations ko support kerti hai.” The alumnis are also disappointed that if the students were uncomfortable,the university should’ve called the event off, “This fuels the harassers who roam freely around in the university and invalidates the experience of the victims,” says Alia.*

Why it matters:

Alia* further added that this isnt one isolated case as their values are deeply patriarchial, “The faculty casually blames it on women for raising voice against culprits,” continuing that there were far more eligible non-controversial the management could’ve picked.

Mahnoor Tariq
Mahnoor Tariq
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