BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Date of Submission



Rahma Muhammad Mian, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


When Pakistani pop-star Meesha Shafi accused popular singer-actor Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her under the #MeToo hashtag in April 2018, she became the flag bearer of Pakistan’s #MeToo movement. This research is an evaluation of the framing in traditional and social media of Pakistan’s key #MeToo which consequently, outlines the socio-cultural and legal issues that function as limitations to the progress of the movement and around harassment reporting in Pakistan, by extension. Given the interdisciplinary focus of this research, sociological analysis functions as the overarching methodology, spanning all the themes relevant to the topic. Discourse Analysis and Frame Analysis are used to extract the frames employed by the public in their understanding of the case, to navigate the discourse generated by the news media and to analyze the image restoration strategies employed by Zafar to frame the motivations of the accuser and the allegations levelled against him. Findings reveal that socio-cultural context favors patriarchal discourse so that Zafar’s side of the narrative has gained more traction with the public and that there remains a skepticism towards the mechanisms of the #MeToo movement whereby legal recourse is seen as the only legitimate route. An analysis of the legal landscape, however, reveals that it is fractured by many deficits so that legal recourse isn’t much of a viable option for the victim. An identification of the socio-cultural and legal issues permits an understanding of what needs to change so that sexual harassment reporting and subsequently, contesting the legal cases on the matter does not confer any unfair advantages upon the alleged perpetrator.



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