On Saturday musician Ali Zafar addressed the media outside a courtroom in Lahore, speaking about his present legal battle with fellow artist Meesha Shafi.
Meesha Shafi accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment in April 2018. Zafar denied the accusations. More women came forward on social media to accuse Zafar of misconduct, following which the two artists have been embroiled in legal proceedings.
"To tolerate cruelty is a bigger sin than inflicting it," said Zafar. "I wasn’t called to court today yet here I am because I’m telling the truth and a person like that will come to court regardless. And whoever doesn’t show up, you can assume what they are."
"A campaign has been run against me on social media based on lies through fake accounts," he continued.
"We’ve given that case to the FIA to investigate because it falls under cyber crime and bullying. I’m saddened by the fact that her allies and even one of her lawyers is following these fake accounts and endorsing them.
Zafar adds, "I’m stunned, it’s been an eye-opener, how can someone do this to a decent, innocent man who for 20 years has been spreading love through his art? Can just anyone tomorrow wake up and decide to settle personal scores through an accusation on social media? And herself leave for Canada."
"I can’t say anything about her intention, God knows better but the facts in front of us are that this was done with a proper plan with a target on me for personal gains," continued the musician.
"Whether she did this for international recognition, because she wants to be Malala, that I don’t know."
"I’m here today even though I wasn’t called. It’s been over a year, I’ve filed a defamation case," Zafar adds.
"Meesha’s case has been dismissed, in the eyes of the law, I’m already innocent. This is a very important fact, her appeal has also been dismissed. This case is for the all the psychological and financial damage she’s done to me and my family.
"It’s been one year and our witnesses have come to court eight times but they use delaying tactics to prolong this. I want to appeal to our respected courts to give a judgement ASAP so that the world knows my truth and her lies. I’m thankful that the process has started today, her lawyer has started cross-examination. I request Meesha and her witnesses to come to the court and face the court."
Speaking to Images, Meesha Shafi's lawyer has challenged Zafar's claim that Meesha's case has been "dismissed".
Meesha Shafi filed a harassment claim against Zafar with the provincial ombudsperson, which her legal team says was dismissed on technical grounds by the ombudsperson and Punjab Governor.
Shafi's appeal against this dismissal is presently pending before the Lahore High Court, according to her lawyer Ahmed Pansota.
"Stating that the case pertaining to sexual harassment overall has been dismissed would not be correct because at the moment the case is pending before the High Court, says Pansota.
"Once the next hearing's date has been decided, the court will pass a judgement on whether the ombudsperson had the jurisdiction to hear this case or not," he adds.
Zafar later tweeted defending his statement.