Pakistan witnessed its first #MeToo wave in early 2018. Back then, singer Meesha Shafi made headlines after she accused her colleague and popular musician Ali Zafar of harassment. While the Aya Lariye singer earlier revealed that she wished to solve the matter privately, she claimed to have made it into a public spectacle only after Zafar’s response was not what she expected to hear. He however, categorically denied all the allegations and opted to take the legal route, asking Shafi to “face him in court”. Fast forward to February 2020 and the Lahore High Court dismissed Shafi’s case on technical grounds, with Amjad Ali Shah stating that she was “making a mockery of the law”.
In February this year, the court judgement mentioned that both suits filed by Shafi and Zafar were of similar nature and the latter’s plea was already under hearing in the court. Moreover, the judgment added that the statements by the witnesses had already been recorded in the plea filed by Zafar. Sara Razi and Kinza Munir were allegedly among those who recorded their testimonies in court. In a nutshell, the court barred the hearing of Shafi’s defamation suit against Zafar.
Now, Zafar’s lawyer and barrister Ambreen Qureshi has taken to Twitter to share a new development in the Shafi-Zafar case. “Defamation case against #MeeshaShafi finally resumed in court after months. However, no witnesses were produced by the defendant. Adjournment was sought by opp counsel. Hon’ judge has ordered them to produce witnesses for cross examination on next date of hearing on 28th. #MeToo,” she wrote, while attaching a picture of the legal document that mentions the same. The document reads, “On behalf of the plaintiff, an objection has been raised that examination in chief of four defendant’s witnesses was recorded but the said witnesses were not produced for the cross-examination. It has been requested that the said witnesses may be bound to appear for their cross-examination.” The next hearing is scheduled for September 28, 2020.