Singer and actor Ali Zafar recorded his statement against Meesha Shafi in a Sessions court today. The court was hearing a defamation case filed by Ali Zafar after he was accused of sexual harassment by Meesha Shafi.
Ali Zafar said that the allegations of sexual harassment and the ensuing battle inside and outside court had damaged him emotionally and financially.
Meesha Shafi, a singer and actor, had accused Ali Zafar of engaging in behavior that amounted to sexual harassment last year. She said such that she had been subject to such harassment “more than two times”.
Ali Zafar recorded a five hour long statement in court that said that Meesha Shafi’s allegations had “surprised” him. He also said that right before the allegations surfaced, Meesha had warned him to stay away from the TV contest Battle of the Bands. He also claimed that Meesha had told him that more allegations would follow the ones made by her.
He read out Meesha Shafi’s tweets as part of his statements. Claiming he had been damaged by the false allegations, he said that both of them were around two to three feet apart at the time of the alleged incident.
He has already produced witnesses to back up his version of the story. He also added that he had worked with Bollywood actresses including Katrina Kaif.
A fight in and outside court
Meesha’s allegations came as Pakistan was in the grip of the #Metoo movement that started with allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The movement saw thousands of women worldwide opening up about experiencing sexual misconduct at the hands of men.
Ali Zafar went to court immediately with a defamation lawsuit, emphasizing that he his reputation as an artist had been damaged by the allegation and demanded being paid money for the damages.
The case has since been continuously in the news, with both Ali and Meesha tring to win the battle in and outside the court. Ali Zafar has since appeared in numerous TV interviews to put up his side of the story. He even broke down in tears in one interview.
Meesha Shafi has made only one TV appearance to discuss the case and has succeeded in getting a court order preventing Ali Zafar from discussing the matter on TV. The matter has also been intensely polarizing for social media.
Both sides are hoping to set a strong precedent through this case. Ali Zafar, to prevent defamation and Meesha Shafi to encourage reporting of harassment.