Pakistani media mogul rejects rape accusations by filmmaker

Dawn CEO Hameed Haroon and Filmmaker Jami. (Photo courtesy by Dawn)
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Updated 31 December 2019

Pakistani media mogul rejects rape accusations by filmmaker

  • Filmmaker alleges Dawn newspaper’s Hameed Haroon raped him 13 years ago
  • Haroon dissed the allegations as “simply untrue and intentionally fabricated“

ISLAMABAD: The chief executive of one of Pakistan’s most influential newspapers has denied accusations he raped an acclaimed filmmaker, in a case that has spotlighted sexual abuse targeting men and added momentum to the country’s fledgling #MeToo movement.
Director Jamshed Mahmood Raza took to social media over the weekend to allege that Dawn newspaper’s Hameed Haroon raped him 13 years ago.
In October, Raza first described the assault publicly on Twitter but referred to the alleged perpetrator as a “powerful person in our media world.”
Haroon — who hails from one of Pakistan’s wealthiest and most influential families — issued a fierce denial in Dawn, the country’s most popular English daily, late Monday, calling the accusations “simply untrue and intentionally fabricated.”
“I categorically deny the allegation of rape leveled against me,” said Haroon in a statement.
Raza later slammed Haroon’s comments, saying the statement was “nothing but a slap to all us survivors.”
The allegations have again stirred controversy in the deeply conservative country, where most discussions about sex and abuse are considered taboo.
Some voices have called for accountability, while others dismissed notions of male-on-male sexual assault.
“I have a question: how can a grown man be raped by another individual? Couldn’t they have fought him off,” tweeted writer Salman Rashid.
Others disagreed.
“Rape is not only about physical power; it is about power in general. If a powerful person coerces you to have sex with them, that is rape,” wrote Nida Kirmani on Twitter.
The #MeToo and #Timesup campaigns have gone global since allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were made in 2017, sparking an avalanche of accusations against other powerful men.
However, the movement has been slow to catch on in Pakistan, where women have fought for their rights for years in a patriarchal society where so-called “honor” killings and attacks on women remain commonplace.
Cases and allegations involving men assaulting other men have been even more rarely discussed in the country.


Train crashes into passenger bus in south Pakistan, 19 dead

Updated 27 min 38 sec ago

Train crashes into passenger bus in south Pakistan, 19 dead

  • The accident took place near the district of Rohri, about 470 kilometers north of Karachi
  • Pakistan Express was en route to Lahore from Karachi

KARACHI: A train crashed into a bus carrying passengers at an unmanned railway crossing in southern Pakistan on Friday evening, killing at least 19 people and injuring 43 others, a railway official said.
Tariq Kolachi said the accident took place near the district of Rohri, about 470 kilometers north of Karachi. He said the casualties were on both the bus and the train.
It wasn’t immediately clear who was to blame for the mishap, Kolchi said.
Kolachi said the passenger train, called the Pakistan Express, was en route to Lahore from Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.
The injured were transported to area hospitals, he said.
Train accidents are common in Pakistan, mainly because of the poorly kept railroad system and automobile driver negligence.