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Meesha gets yet another chance on Ali Zafar’s defamation plea

LAHORE: A judicial magistrate on Saturday gave one more opportunity to singer Meesha Shafi and another to attend proceedings of a criminal case registered under the cybercrime law against the singer on the complaint of actor-cum-singer Ali Zafar.

Magistrate Zulfiqar Bari had, on previous hearing, summoned Shafi and Maham Javed.

However, the lawyers of the two and another suspect namely Leena Ghani filed applications for a one-time exemption from personal appearance.

At this, Zafar’s counsel raised an objection saying the suspects neither appeared nor tendered their surety bonds as required under the law. He urged the magistrate to dismiss the applications. He also questioned the veracity of a medical certificate submitted on behalf of Ghani.

The counsel pointed out that the medical certificate was issued by a psychiatrist who diagnosed the suspect with flu and headache. He said the court had warned the suspects, on the last hearing, from seeking adjournments on frivolous grounds.

The magistrate noted that the applications on behalf of Ms Shafi and Ms Javed were supported by travel history and the court, at this stage, could not presume that the suspects were not willing to make their appearance. “So contention of learned counsel for the complainant for issuance of warrants of arrest of said accused is hereby turned down and their applications are allowed for today,” said the magistrate in his order.

However, the magistrate directed the lawyers of Ms Shafi and Ms Javed to ensure the appearance of their clients on the next hearing along with surety bonds of Rs100, 000 each.

The magistrate dismissed the application of Ms Ghani, however, ordered no action against her as her counsel undertook that he would produce his client on the next hearing positively.

The magistrate also issued notices to the complainant on separate applications filed on behalf of all the suspects for permanent exemption from personal appearance. The other suspects include Haseemuz Zaman, Fareeha Ayub, Ali Gull Pir, Syed Faizan Raza and Iffat Omar.

The complainant’s lawyer also sought time to advance arguments against an acquittal application moved by Pir.

The magistrate adjourned hearing till April 10 and made it clear that all applications filed by the parties would be decided and no further adjournment would be granted for the arguments.

The FIA had lodged the FIR under section 20 of the Pakistan Electronic Crime Act and section 109 of Pakistan Penal Code against nine persons allegedly for running a smear campaign against the complainant on social media.

The challan (investigation report) filed against the suspects said the investigation established that all the suspects, including Shafi, posted serious/direct allegations and defamatory /derogatory content on social media against the complainant.

A defamation suit by the male rock star is also pending adjudication with a court against the female singer, at present living outside the country, for accusing the former of causing sexual harassment to the latter.

Newspaper: Dawn