Meesha Shafi’s lawyer Nighat Dad has spoken out against accusations made against her client by Ali Zafar on Saturday. She denied operating or supporting fake social media accounts and said she has no idea what he is talking about.
Zafar accused Shafi of using social media to run a campaign against him in a statement made outside a Lahore sessions court on Saturday. “This is a cyberbullying offence and the FIA is investigating it,” he said.
He also accused Dad of following the fake profiles and retweeting them. “I have been quiet about all of this for a year while thousands of disgusting tweets are posted against me, especially every time a big event comes,” he added. He argued that his 20 years of hard work cannot be forgotten because of an accusation, and that too on Twitter.
“It was a conspiracy to target me for her personal benefit,” he said. He said Shafi cannot become Malala and get international recognition through this.
But Dad denied this. “I will continue to stand with the rights of women and endorse the tweets and posts that I think are truthful,” she said. “I am deeply hurt to hear Zafar’s statement that Meesha did all this for Canadian immigration,” she told SAMAA TV, condemning his statement.
Dad compared Zafar’s accusation to that of former president Pervez Musharraf’s. “Musharaf had made a similar statement about Mukhtaran Mai,” she said, adding that men in Pakistan behave the same way in cases of women’s harassment.
She said Zafar’s other victims have also spoken out against him and that should not be ignored.
“Shafi has used her tactics to delay the case hearing every time,” accused Zafar. He said his witnesses have come and gone without giving any statements, adding that the court has dismissed Shafi’s appeal.
He filed a defamation case against Shafi for the “damage to his mental health, finances, family and children,” adding that his truth and her lies should come forward through the law. He has appealed to the court to announce its decision as soon as possible. “I request Meesha Shafi and her witnesses to come to the court,” he added.
Zafar’s witnesses will appear in the court on May 4.
Dad clarified, however, that Shafi has not been called by the court yet. She is not afraid of appearing before the judge, she said.
“When her legal representatives are present in the court, why should she come for no reason?” she asked, adding that it was Zafar’s decision to come to court to hold a press conference.
When asked to comment on Zafar’s comparison of Shafi to Malala Yousafzai, the lawyer said, “We are proud of Malala and we surely want Shafi and all other Pakistani women to get the same recognition as her.”
She said the sexual harassment case was dismissed on technical grounds, specifically because Zafar and Meesha did not have the relationship of an employee and employer. That doesn’t mean the court thinks Shafi is at fault or guilty, she explained.