Earlier this month, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) convicted singer Meesha Shafi and her alleged witnesses in the defamation suit filed by singer Ali Zafar and requested the trial court to take necessary action. The FIA issued an interim challan in the case filed by the Channo singer in the special court of Lahore Central on December 15. In latest news, the Lahore Sessions Court has now summoned Shafi, and seven others, in the case regarding their supposed involvement in running a social media ‘smear campaign’ against Zafar. Judicial Magistrate Zulfiqar Bari heard the case and ordered all the accused to appear before the court on January 18.
Appearing on ARY News recently, Shafi’s lawyer Saqib Jillani and Zafar’s legal counsel Hasham Ahmed weighed in on the development. Jillani mentioned that the proceedings in the defamation suit filed by Zafar against Shafi still continue in court. He shared that Shafi recorded her statement in December 2019, as well as her mother Saba Hameed and actress Iffat Omar. He shared that now the cross-examination of the witnesses including Shafi will take place, adding that a criminal defamation suit should not have been filed by Zafar in this matter because it led to one of Shafi’s witnesses Humna Raza succumbing to pressure and issuing an apology. He also noted that Shafi’s fair trial rights are also being affected under the suit. Jillani commented that the FIA is an investigation agency and they must focus on more serious online harassment cases.
On the contrary, Ahmed revealed that there is nothing more serious of an allegation than one of sexual harassment on social media. He noted that it caused harm and mental torture to Zafar and his family members, which is why the defamation suit was filed in the first place. According to the FIR registered on April 19, 2018, Shafi had accused Zafar of sexual harassment on Twitter. In November 2018 Zafar had protested against the social media campaign against him to the FIA Cyber Crime Wing and lodged a complaint. Zafar, in his application, argued that the allegations against him were made under a premeditated plan conspired by Shafi, her friend and her lawyer. He added that multiple fake social media accounts were also created to run the ‘Me Too’ campaign against him.