Pakistan's top court approves singer's plea against Ali Zafar
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has accepted singer Meesha Shafi's petition filed against the Lahore High Court's (LHC) order in the sexual harassment case against singer-actor Ali Zafar. A three-judge bench of the country's top court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, issued notices to Zafar and Advocate General Punjab, in the case that was initiated in 2018. Here is more on this.
What is the case all about?
In 2018, Shafi had accused Zafar of sexually harassing her on more than one occasion. She had filed a complaint under the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010. However, her plea was dismissed by the Governor of Punjab as well as the Lahore High Court on the basis that she and Zafar did not have an "employer-employee relationship."
Zafar had filed a defamation case against Shafi
After Shafi's complaint in 2018, Zafar had filed a defamation case against the singer for making "false allegations" and tarnishing his reputation. He had alleged that a "smear campaign" was launched against him on social media.
Is harassment not to be prosecuted, asked Shafi's lawyer
Presenting the plea in the Supreme Court today, Shafi's lawyer stated that though "The [Lahore] High Court ruled that Meesha Shafi was not an employee," the allegations must be considered. "Students at educational institutions are also harassed, and they are not employed by educational institutions. Is harassment not to be prosecuted? (sic)" he argued in the apex court.
SC said points raised by petitioner must be reviewed
Admitting Shafi's plea after hearing the counsels, the SC observed that the points raised by the petitioner must be reviewed, clubbing the case with a suo motu notice taken to define sexual harassment.
Shafi was hoping for a favorable decision
Yesterday, Shafi took to Twitter and wrote: "Tomorrow, the SC of Pakistan hears my appeal on whether I, a 'self-employed person' have a right, as per the law, to be heard after being harassed and therefore expect justice on merit as an equal citizen (sic)." "If ruled in my favor, this will be a landmark judgment in the history of Pakistan," the singer added.
A brief about Shafi and Zafar's careers
Shafi had started her singing career with a band named Overload. She left that band in 2011. Also a model and actor, she marked her film debut in 2012 with Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Zafar, on the other hand, is a known face in India and Pakistan. He has featured in Bollywood movies such as Tere Bin Laden, Chashme Baddoor, and Kill Dil.