SC issues notice to Ali Zafar on Meesha Shafi’s petition

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court Monday accepted for preliminary hearing the petition of artist Meesha Shafi, who has been in a dispute with another popular singer Ali Zafar.

Meesha Shafi through her petition had requested the top court to set aside the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) October 11 order and sought a direction that the provincial ombudsperson for protection of harassment against women at the workplace should rehear her grievance.

By way of hearing the petition, the top court would likely interpret the definition of the workplace and decide whether the females of educational institutions should also avail the forum of ombudsperson against their harassers.  

The dispute between Meesha Shafi and Ali Zafar started when the latter filed a defamation suit against the former for accusing him of sexual harassment.

Ali Zafar denied the allegations of sexual harassment before the trial court hearing and filed a defamation suit to pay restitution for levelling false allegations and damaging his reputation.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam issued notices to respondents Ali Zafar and Advocate General Punjab in the case.

During the course of hearing, Advocate Khawaja Ahmad Hosain representing Meesha Shafi argued before the bench that the LHC dismissed the petition on the grounds that his client Meesha Shafi was not an employee.

He further argued that the students were also not employed by their respective educational institutions but they were also harassed, contending that whether the allegations of harassment by students were not to be prosecuted.

He maintained that the LHC and the provincial ombudsperson heard his client’s application without properly reviewing the law.

Artist Meesha Shafi had instituted a complaint relating to an incident at a place where she and the Ali Zafar were rehearsing for an event where they had to perform.

However, on May 3 of 2018, ombudsperson office dismissed the complaint ruling that Meesha Shafi was not an employee and hence the case did not fall within the ambit of sexual harassment at workplace law. Meesha Shafi challenged the order before LHC which on Oct 11, 2019, also upheld the impugned order and dismissed the petition.

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