What happened: On Tuesday 19 January, actress Iffat Omar was called in as a character witness to record her statement in the Meesha Shafi vs Ali Zafar defamation case. A video shows Iffat getting followed by a mob of Zafar’s supporters as she was present at the court, the mob urged her to ‘stop lying’ and chanted ‘anti-Meesha’ slogans. “It is correct that I was not present on the occasion when the alleged incidents of sexual harassment took place. I don’t remember as to who was present when Meesha told me about the incidents, but I was present at Meesha’s mother’s house [when informed of it],” said Omar during her cross-examination by the counsel for Ali Zafar, who faced the charges of causing sexual harassment to Ms Shafi.
Earlier: The Federal Investigation Agency last year registered the case on the objection of Zafar, who accused Meesha Shafi, Leena Ghani, Iffat Omer, Fariha Ayub, Faizan Raza, Haseemuz Zaman, Ali Gul Pir and Maham Javed of running a coordinated slander campaign against him on social media. The eight named in the case were booked 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 on September 29. Zafar had previously also categorically denied all charges against him he said, “I categorically deny any and all claims of harassment lodged against me by Ms Shafi.”
What’s next: Recently, the Supreme Court of Pakistan approved Meesha Shafi’s sexual harassment case against Ali Zafar, followed by which Leena Ghani activist and makeup artist also filed a harassment and defamation case against Zafar, demanding Rs500 million as compensation. She said in a series of tweets, “After years of personal and legal attacks by Mr Zafar, I have decided to stand up for myself and fight back. They said to go to the courts. So I did. Pakistan is my home, as it is for millions of other women – is it fair that we can be harassed, maligned and labelled as liars when we speak up against sexual harassment in our own country? I have moved the court to stop Mr Zafar and his army of trolls from harassing me further. Across the board female activists, journalists and lawyers are being targeted for being vocal and speaking up on women based issues, especially the MeToo movement.”