Protesters 'mock' her for supporting Shafi
Supporters of actor-singer Ali Zafar chanted slogans against singer Meesha Shafi and mocked actor Iffat Omar outside a session court in Lahore on Tuesday in the Ali Zafar defamation case.
They asked the actor to bring Shafi to the court, passed statements in favour of Zafar and followed her outside the court.
The Federal Investigation Agency last year registered the case on the complaint of Zafar. He had accused Meesha Shafi, Leena Ghani, Iffat Omer, Fariha Ayub, Faizan Raza, Haseemuz Zaman, Ali Gul Pir and Maham Javed of running a coordinated vilification campaign against him on social media.
In the hearing on Tuesday, Omar admitted that in an episode of her television show, Pas Kar Ya Bardasht Kar, she called American blogger Cynthia Ritchie's harassment allegation against PPP's Rehman Malik false and an attempt to taint the reputation of the party.
"When the show was shot, I was of an opinion that Ritchie was lying," she said.
The actor added that she had criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan on her show as well. "As a citizen of this country, it's my right to criticise anyone I want to," she said, clarifying that she was not paid by any political party for doing this.
When Zafar's lawyer questioned Omar regarding Shafi's harassment allegations, the actor said that Shafi's mother had told her about the incident.
"After the matter was posted on Twitter, Meesha told me that Ali tried to harass her twice," Omar told the court.
On request of Zafar's lawyer, the hearing has been adjourned till February 1.
In a hearing of the case on Monday [January 18], rapper Ali Gul Pir failed to show up after which a Lahore sessions court summoned him on February 9.
Shafi also didn't appear for the hearing. Her counsel said that she was out of the country and requested the court to excuse her. FIA officials sought more time to complete the investigation.
The agency said these people were unable to provide witnesses to Shafi’s sexual harassment.
Zafar filed a case against Shafi and seven other people at the FIA’s cyber crime wing for running a vilification campaign against him on social media.
He provided Twitter account handles and screenshots as evidence of the campaign. The challan accused them of making sexual harassment complaints against Zafar on social media.
The eight people named in the case were booked on September 29 under Section 20 (Offences against the dignity of a natural person) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Section 109 (Punishment of abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
In April 2018, Shafi took to Twitter to accuse Zafar of physically harassing her on ‘more than one occasion.’ “This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind,” she said. In response, Zafar filed a defamation suit against Shafi.
He denied the allegations and wants her to pay restitution for the damage to his reputation and leveling false allegations against him.
Since then the two have been engaged in a legal battle. In a recent development, the Supreme Court approved Shafi's workplace harassment case against Zafar.
The court has granted leave in Shafi’s appeal. This means the court is ready to debate whether Zafar’s alleged sexual harassment of Shafi counted as workplace harassment.