After about 2 years of legal battle, it seems the truth has been revealed. Federal Investigation Agency found Meesha Shafi guilty of running an online campaign to defame Ali Zafar.
Recap of what happened and latest developments
In April 2018, Meesha Shafi accused her fellow-singer Ali Zafar of harassing her physically on more than one occasion. Despite multiple attempts, her case got dismissed, first with the provincial ombudsperson, then the Punjab governor, and finally, the Lahore High Court turned down her appeal.
Later in November 2018, Ali Zafar filed a complaint with FIA’s cybercrime wing in response, claiming he was receiving threats from multiple social media accounts. He also provided Twitter account handles and screenshots as evidence of the campaign.
FIA’s cybercrime Lahore wing has submitted an interim challenge before the court overlooks the FIR on Zafar’s complaint. According to FIA, Meesha Shafi could not present witnesses to back her allegations against Ali Zafar, thereby making her statement against him ‘defamatory’ and ‘false.’
The cybercrime wing also appealed to the court to take serious action against all of the eight accusers for false accusations under Section 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Punishment of abetment) and Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Offences against the dignity of a natural person).
The accusers’ names include Meesha Shafi, actor Iffat Omar, Leena Ghani, Haseemus Zaman, Maham Javaid, Fariha Ayub, Humna Raza, Ali Gul Pir, and Syed Faizan Raza. However, Humna Raza is no longer in the investigation because she has stepped out after an apology.
Chairperson Human Rights & Women Empowerment Lahore High Court Bar also tweeted,
A Twitter user has posted a verse from Quran to show her support for Ali Zafar,
While the others retaliate against Meesha Shafi,
People are saying to boycott and stop giving projects to Meesha Shafi.
Another posted that Meesha Shafi has defamed Ali Zafar and used the #MeToo slogan to play the victim.
There are several defamation lawsuits of celebrities that nobody believes in because many of them stretch from some outrageous plain ridiculous. Previously, cases of Mohsin Abbas Haider and his wife, Uzma Khan, Veena Malik and her husband Asad Khattak, Sanjana Galrani, Amir Khan, and Reham Khan are some bad examples of “Aag Ko Daman Say Dhakna.”
I am not saying every lawsuit is without merit, but—some might– to throw cards of public attention or to become more famous in the name of those court filings. I am raising a question here, do these lawsuits get anything rather trouble besides a legal bill and bad headlines?
Thus, there needs to be more thought about revising defamation constructs in the digital age. Until then, enjoy the crazy headlines.