The Meesha Shafi-Ali Zafar harassment case officially entered the Pakistani courts this week as a sessions court in Lahore asked Meesha to submit her reply by July 5 in a Rs1 billion defamation case that Ali Zafar has filed against her.
The court, while directing Shafi to file her response by July 5, also restrained her from "making any derogatory remarks" against Ali Zafar "in any manner on print or electronic or social media". In a statement, Ali Zafar's lawyer called Meesha's initial allegations a ploy for 'cheap publicity.'
Many have prematurely interpreted this court order as sign of Ali Zafar's victory as well as his innocence, but is that the whole story?
Largely unnoticed by mainstream media is the fact that Meesha Shafi has also filed a case against Ali Zafar.
After it was revealed that Zafar had filed a defamation case in a Lahore sessions court, Meesha Shafi's legal representatives Nighat Dad and Ahmed Pansota took to Twitter to assure the public that Meesha has filed a sexual harassment case against Ali Zafar and that the case was still pending before the relevant authorities.
According to Ahmed Pansota, some progress on the case is expected to be made in the next 25 days, and efforts will be made to keep the details of the case restricted to the courts and relevant forums.
"Meesha's claim of sexual harassment against Ali Zafar is pending adjudication before the competent forum," said Pansota on Twitter. "The defamation case initiated by Ali Zafar, after finding out about Meesha’s claim, is an unsavoury attempt to divert attention from the main issue of harassment."
When asked about the court's order that asks Meesha Shafi to cease making "derogatory remarks" about Ali Zafar in the media, Pansota clarified: "We have not received any such notice, but I would like to clarify that Meesha Shafi has not been barred from using social media, or barred from speaking about Ali Zafar or about sexual harassment, but simply from making 'derogatory remarks' about Zafar, which she was not making in any case."
Meanwhile, Ali Zafar's upcoming film Teefa in Trouble is being promoted around the country prior to its July release.