Singer Meesha Shafi, together with eight others have been booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cyber crime wing for their alleged involvement in a smear campaign against singer-actor Ali Zafar. On the order of the FIA special court, the FIR against the suspects was filed for a non-cognisable offence.
Together with Meesha Shafi, actor-host Iffat Omar, Leena Ghani, Fariha Ayub, Maham Javaid, Ali Gul, Haseemuz Zaman Khan, Humna Raza and Syed Faizan Raza have been booked under section 20 (1) of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and R/W 109-PPC.
“Prior permission from the special court is required by the investigation officer to arrest the suspects as it is a non-cognisable offence,” an official told a leading Pakistani daily.
As per the FIR, the suspects had been summoned on a number of occasions by the FIA cyber crime wing to present their defence, after which their failure to attend granted a cause for criminal proceedings against them. It was back in 2018 that Ali Zafar had filed a complaint with the FIA cyber crime wing in which he stated that a number of social media accounts were posting “threats and defamatory material” against him. He provided details of some Twitter and Facebook accounts to back his claim.
The Chano ki Ankh singer alleged that a number of fake accounts had also been created to launch the smear campaign against him weeks prior to Meesha Shafi’s allegation of sexual harassment against him in April 2018. He further alleged that most of these accounts were fake and were connected to Meesha Shafi.
“A twitter account @nehasaigol1, which posted 3,000 defamatory tweets against me and my family only in one year, [was] created 50 days before Meesha’s allegations of sexual harassment,” the singer-actor told FIA with documentary ‘evidence’. Meesha Shafi had also appeared before the FIA with her team of lawyers in December 2019 and the FIR states that she had failed to bring forward any witness in favor of her allegation (of sexual harassment) against Ali Zafar.
According to the FIR, Leena Ghani was also summoned, but she did not turn up and sent her written statement which was not found satisfactory. “She [Ms Ghani] was found involved in publicly posting defamatory content against the complainant on Twitter on April 19, 2018. Fariha Ayub and Maham Javaid were also summoned four times but they did not turn up to join the inquiry. Iffat Omar appeared, but did not record her statement with the request to give her time, but despite repeated requests failed to record her statement,” the FIR states.
Further, the FIR says Ali Gulll, which goes by the Twitter handle @Aligulpir, posted derogatory remarks against Zafar. “He was summoned thrice, but he deliberately did not turn up and submitted his statement to the FIA Karachi.”
However, it says Gull’s statement was found unsatisfactory and did not fulfill the merit of inquiry. Similarly, a statement submitted by Humna Raza was also said to be“unsatisfactory”. Further, a statement recorded by Syed Faizan Raza said he made allegations against the complainant through tweets “based on public opinion”. However, his statement was found unsatisfactory.
And now, this week, Ali Zafar’s legal team was present in court while an office-clerk informed the court’s reader about unavailability of Barrister Saqib Jilani, the defendant’s counsel, before October 10; despite the hearing of the suit being fixed at October 3. As per the suit filed by Ali Zafar, Meesha Shafi levelled baseless and unfounded allegations of sexual harassment against him via a tweet, which resulted in tarnishing his public image while his family had been facing agony and pain.
She decided against deleting the tweet and nor did she issue an apology based on the tweet within 14 days of a legal notice served to her. As a result, Ali Zafar requested the court to issue a decree against Shafi directing her to pay Rs1 billion as damages to him.