The Lahore Court issued arrest warrants against actor and host, Iffat Omar and comedian Ali Gul Pir, in a defamation lawsuit filed by actor and singer Ali Zafar. It is regarding the allegations against him by the singer Meesha Shafi.
As the hearing went underway, the judicial magistrate rejected the plea of Iffat Omar’s exemption from appearance and issued a bailable arrest warrant against her. The court also issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Ali Gul Pir. They have pleaded that it was difficult for them to appear before the court for all hearings.
Previously in the case
All the accused have so far failed to attend the hearing before the magistrate. Earlier, Iffat Omar, Faizan Raza, Haseemuz Zaman, Fariha Ayub and Leena Ghani filed pleas seeking exemption from personal appearance and they cited living and working in Karachi as permanent residents.
The court also summoned singer, Meesha Shafi on the next hearing and dismissed the pleas of co-accused Leena Ghani, Fariha Ayub, Faizan Raza and Haseemuz Zaman for permanent exemption from appearance.
The court adjourned the hearing till October 6. They 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.
How it started
In April 2018, Meesha Shafi accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her on “more than one occasion”. Ali denied the allegations and brought up a defamation suit against her. The two have since been engaged in a legal battle.
The FIA cybercrime wing submitted an interim challan to the Lahore High Court, which stated that Meesha Shafi is accused of being found guilty of running a defamatory campaign against the actor by accusing him of his alleged involvement in sexual harassment and assault.
Meanwhile, the court also summoned Meesha Shafi and Maham Javed for the next date of hearing.
Talking to media outside a court last month, Ali Zafar had claimed that he was being targeted on social media through fake accounts in an effort to destroy his image.
He also added that Meesha Shafi’s lawyer has become a part of the campaign against him by following and retweeting fake accounts. He said that he was being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment and claimed that he was innocent. He has also accused Meesha Shafi and others of targeting him only for personal gains.
This is perhaps one of Pakistan’s most popular cases under the #MeToo campaign. This case has gained huge media attention. There was a divide in the general public and as the case has unfolded, the majority is backing Ali Zafar’s narrative, as he is still in the country, while Meesha Shafi has left the country to move abroad.