Journalist Urooj Zia has accused Faisal Edhi, chairman of the Edhi Foundation, of sexual harassment in a social media post. The allegation has come as a string of #MeToo movement stories have come out in neighbouring India, and women have been emboldened to share their stories of harassment.
These allegations are particularly shocking as Faisal Edhi is the son the widely admired philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi.
In a detailed Twitter thread, Urooj Zia describes an incident that took place several years ago when she was working at The News. She claims that she met Faisal Edhi when he had agreed to support the “commie party” she was associated with at the time.
*takes a deep breathe*
Since this is all coming out, #MeToo too many times than I can count, but this one is about Faisal Edhi, Abdus Sattar Edhi's son – the guy heading the Edhi Foundation now.
It happened when I was very young (22 or 23 years old, I think.)
— Urooj Zia (@Sewrigami) October 10, 2018
Zia stated that she had visited Edhi at the foundation’s Tower centre located at I. I. Chundrigar Road in Karachi for a meeting. According to the tweet, Edhi had remained professional throughout, so she had no reason to distrust him when he offered to drop her home in his “Suzuki dabba”, or to share her phone number believing it to be for professional reasons.
According to Zia, when she reached her destination, she got out of the vehicle, but Edhi attempted to pull her back inside. It took her a while to realize what he was doing and why. Zia alleges that Edhi later began calling and texting her at odd hours, even offering to send her phone credit when she did not respond.
Following the incident, she says she continued to blame herself, believing that she had been “inviting” trouble herself. When she finally realized it was not her fault, she kept quiet because of the backlash she knew she would face.
She writes, “After all, he was Faisal Edhi, how could I even think that he would misbehave in this manner. So I put the whole thing away, mentally berating myself for thinking such horrible things about ‘such a selfless, noble person’”
However, she finally decided to come out with the truth, saying that she had had enough of caring about the consequences. “If there’s backlash, there’s backlash, so be it. I’m not afraid of predators and their enablers anymore. F**k Faisal Edhi and predators like him. May they rot forever.”
Faisal Edhi has responded to the allegations stating that he had never met Zia. “I do not even know this lady and I have no idea why she is levelling allegations against me.”
He added, “I have no recollection of any such incident, I might have refused to give funds to someone and they might be trying to defame me in retaliation.”