A popular actor was accused of harassment – now those who spoke against him are being charged under law meant to protect women

It takes a lot to rattle Leena Ghani. As an artist turned activist helping to raise the voices of Pakistan’s women, she has often fielded abuse, threats and harassment.

But when she learned, on a morning in late September, that police had charged her for criminal defamation, linked to Pakistan’s most high-profile #MeToo case, Ghani says she was shaken. “In terms of silencing and demonising people speaking out against sexual assault, it was a new low even for Pakistan,” she says.

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