April 8th, 2021
By Asra Haque
Additional Sessions Court Judge Hamid Hussain on Wednesday, April 8, accepted a criminal review petition submitted by the counsel of Meesha Shafi against an earlier order by a judicial magistrate to submit a surety bond of Rs. 100,000 and appear before the court on April 10.
The criminal review petition invoked section 435 (power to call for records of the inferior courts) read with 439-A (session judge’s power of revision) against the judicial magistrate’s alleged order which Shafi’s counsel contended was passed without knowing the facts of the case, that it was against the law and the alleged conclusion was based on surmises and conjectures.
The Sessions Court in suspending the March 27 order held that Meesha Shafi, who is currently residing in Canada, need not appear before the Learned Judicial Magistrate on the April 10 hearing nor submit a surety bond for the satisfaction of the court. It also further issued the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) summons for a hearing scheduled for April 19, 2021.
The Coke Studio artist, along with seven others, was charged 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 by former colleague Ali Zafar for allegedly running a vilification campaign against him on social media.
Shafi had accused Zafar of sexually harassing her on Twitter in April 2018, giving rise to the #MeToo movement in Pakistan. Since then, the two have been embroiled in a legal battle, with Shafi bearing the brunt of a vilification drive aimed at discrediting her claims.