25 February 2023
By Rehan Piracha
Clarifying that Meesha Shafi was quoted out of context, her counsel Saquib Jillani as well as women’s rights activists have slammed the misinformation campaign on social media accusing the singer of making a ‘false statement’ to court in a defamation case brought by singer and actor Ali Zafar.
On February 23, Meesha Shafi was cross-examined on a video link from Canada by Ali Zafar’s lawyers in the courtroom. As the cross-examination ended, certain news channels and social media posts stated that Meesha Shafi had ‘admitted giving a false statement’ in court.
Quoted out of context
Meesha Shafi has not admitted to giving any false statements as is being reported, says her counsel Saqib Jillani while speaking to Voicepk.net. “What is being reported is unfortunately totally out of context,” he added.
Explaining the proceedings, Saqib Jillani said the long-winded cross-examination by Ali Zafar’s counsel was meant to confuse Meesha Shafi regarding her presence at certain court hearings and dates when she was summoned.
“When she pointed out the mistake in her interview, Meesha Shafi truthfully and honestly accepted the mistake and corrected herself,” Saqib Jillani added.
Counsel raised objection to already exhibited document
According to the court transcript of the cross-examination, Meesha Shafi’s counsel “raised the objection that the Facebook account shown by the plaintiff’s counsel on his own mobile phone cannot be verified whether it is a genuine account or not”, adding that the defendant can only herself verify that whether this is genuine or not.
Meesha Shafi also objected that the whole exercise of confronting the document and spending a lot of time as the document has already been exhibited and admitted by the “defendant”, Meesha’s counsel said in his objection.
Misinformation campaign in full swing
Ali Zafar shared a tweet from his lawyer about the cross-examination of Meesha Shafi in court, with the words: “Only answer to everything “I don’t remember”. Besides, he wrote a quote of Dorothy Allison stating: “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies”, referring to his defamation case against Meeesha Shafi.
Ali Zafar accused a Twitter user of threatening him and his family when the Twitter user called out the singer for making false claims relating to the case against Meesha Shafi.
“Due respect, sometimes you claim to have won the case, sometimes FIA has found Mrs Shafi ‘guilty’, sometimes a 3 yr jail sentence given to her – all untrue. This post looks like the latest attempt to whitewash a client whose recently made a national mockery of himself once again,” user ahaidh replied in a tweet to Ali Zafar.
Activists call out Ali Zafar over false campaign
Responding to the misinformation campaign against Meesha Shafi, activist, and actress Iffat Omar shared a fake news alert on the court testimony on her Twitter handle on February 24.
Fake new alert. pic.twitter.com/GQ5wyXqxnl
— Iffat Omar Official (@OmarIffat) February 24, 2023
Responding to her tweet, Ali Zafar accused Iffat Omar of pressuring media outlets against not publishing court proceedings in the case as well as asking organisers not to hire him.
It has come to my knowledge that Ms @OmarIffat who was “found guilty” in the FIA’s report for smear against me and is on camera admitting harassing an older colleague, has been calling up publications not to post court proceedings and organisers not to hire me. Enough is enough.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) February 24, 2023
Iffat Omar tweeted that Ali Zafar was lying and should prove his allegations in court. Fellow activist Marvi Sirmed called for banning Ali Zafar from social media platforms.
Actually, every right-minded and sensitive person must make these phone calls so all responsible businesses bar you from their platforms. The day harassers like you would be made an example like #Weinstein, would a victory for women in Pakistan. https://t.co/zvzpAAKxeQ
— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) February 24, 2023
In another tweet, Marvi Sirmed announced that Ali Zafar had blocked her on Twitter.
— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) February 24, 2023
Artist and activist Leena Ghani tweeted that Ali Zafar faced severe criticism over Indian poet Javed Akhtar and wanted to distract public attention by launching another false campaign against Meesha Shafi.
Let this be known that for the past 4 days, AZ has been getting his ass handed to him over the JA fiasco and what he said about TS. To distract everyone’s attention he has started another false campaign.
AZ has shown us who he is over and over again. DO NOT FALL FOR HIS LIES. https://t.co/awlAGt1xds
— leena (@Leena_Ghani) February 24, 2023
Meanwhile, after hearing arguments, Additional Sessions Judge Khan Mahmood ordered that the cross-examination of Meesha Shafi would continue on March 1.