UPDATED WITH A STATEMENT FROM MEESHA SHAFI’S LAWYER, AND A FURTHER STATEMENT FROM ALI ZAFAR’S LAWYER
As most of you know at this point, Meesha Shafi accused Ali Zafar of harassment last year. This was followed quickly by a defamation suit by Zafar. The celebrities and their lawyers have been in a legal battle since. Either singer has been barred from making public statements on the matter, however, their lawyers are.
In August, last year, the Governor of Punjab rejected Meesha’s case for harassment and this was the last update we had about all this.
Legally, this means that Meesha Shafi has exhausted her legal channels for the harassment case against Ali Zafar. The case that now remains is, Ali Zafar’s defamation suit against Meesha Shafi.
Last night, Ali Zafar’s legal team gave an important update via Twitter.
According to Barrister Ambreen Qureshi, Ali Zafar and his team have decided to file a criminal case against Meesha. The case has been filed under Section 476, which is against forged documents, misrepresentation, misstatement and fraud. According to Qureshi, Meesha had submitted forged documents to the court during proceedings for the defamation suit.
Ambreen Qureshi goes on to talk about how Meesha and her team have resorted to ‘delay tactics’, ‘wasting the court’s time’.
She goes on to talk about Saturday’s proceeding where, according to her, Meesha’s team said to the court that the singer is out of the country. They countered this with photos of Meesha at the ‘Aurat March’ in Lahore the day before. Ambreen Qureshi ends her statement by calling Meesha and her team’s efforts a smear campaign online.
This is her full statement.
— Barrister Ambreen Qureshi (@ambreenqureshi) March 9, 2019
We reached out to Meesha’s lawyer, Ahmed Pansota and asked him to give comment on this development.
Speaking to MangoBaaz, Pansota said that the application for these criminal charges by Ali Zafar’s team was actually filed in 2018, and not over the weekend as they are implying. Ahmed Pansota said that this issue occurred due to a statement that was signed by Meesha Shafi last year. After signing and verifying the document, Meesha traveled outside Pakistan, and while she was out additional facts regarding the ‘#MeToo movement in India were added. As Ahmed Pansota told us, Ali Zafar’s team brought up an issue with the fact that Meesha was not in the country when the attestation came through, a claim that Meesha’s lawyers are calling false. Pansota clarified that this issue about the dates is something that is called a ‘curable defect’, meaning that this can be sorted out by the court, without it becoming a criminal offense.
Ahmed Pansota said that Ali Zafar’s team has largely inflated the issue, and the perception being created in the media is incorrect. Lastly, Ahmed Pansota clarifies Ambreen Qureshi’s statement further. According to Pansota, the issue of the verified statement was being discussed in court, and it was in this context that the team mentioned that Meesha was out of the country, but Ambreen Qureshi refuted this with Aurat March photos. The team then, in court, clarified that their statement about Meesha’s travels was referring to a certain period of time (in 2018) and that she’s in Pakistan currently.
Further responding to Pansota’s statement, Ali Zafar’s counsel, Rana Intezar, had this to say:
“I don’t understand why Meesha and her team resort to fighting the case again and again on social media while having not appeared for almost 10 months in the court.
Facts are facts which are that both cases filed by Miss Shafi on appropriate forums for such cases – the ombudsman and the governor were dismissed clearing Mr. Ali Zafar’s number in the eyes of law. It is WE who filed the case against her in court. First the defamation case and then the criminal case. All the adjournments taken by their lawyers are also on record as our witness statement which has stated that Miss Shafi left the Jam room thanking and hugging Mr. Zafar in front of almost a dozen people. More to that, our witnesses, two of them women, had to return from the court because her lawyers came up with an excuse to not cross examine. This is all on the court’s records and nothing or no one can deny any of this.”
It’s easy to pass judgment on this case, especially if you read both sides of the argument, however, it is best to let the courts do their work and decide which side is right.
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Cover Photo Courtesy: @meesha.shafi / Instagram and tribune.com.pk