Actor Feroze Khan announced on Tuesday that he has served defamation notices to people perpetuating “false and baseless allegations” against him with regards to the accusations by his former spouse Aliza Sultan of domestic abuse. However, in his initial post announcing the notice on Instagram that he later deleted, he shared the names of nine celebrities as well as their private information like their mobile pone numbers and, in some cases, their addresses. Sarwat Gilani, one of the people mentioned in the notice, has threatened to take action against Khan.
Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, Gilani shared a picture of what appears to be her mobile phone call log featuring over 100 missed calls from unknown numbers. She captioned her post, “It is bizarre and despicable that private information, including phone numbers, of various famous individuals has been publicly shared on the absurd pretext of issuing legal notice to them by Feroze Khan.”
She called these actions both “clearly illegal” and demonstrative of a “total lack of maturity to handle matters in a civilised way”.
“Two days ago Feroze Khan had one ex-wife and her lawyer now he will have to face 10 celebrities and their lawyers after him. Good luck!” Gilani wrote.
Gilani tagged filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, actors Yasir Hussain, Osman Khalid Butt, Mira Sethi, Aiman Khan, Asim Azhar, Minal Khan, Farhan Saeed and Muneeb Butt in her post, all of whom were named in the notice Khan posted and then deleted.
Chinoy left a comment under Gilani’s post, “Wait till you see mine,” likely in reference to her call log after her phone number was shared by Khan.
Sethi also took to her Instagram stories on Wednesday and reshared Gilani’s post. “Echoing what Sarwat says here about leaked numbers. Unbelievable,” she wrote, adding that her lawyer will respond to the notice and that she will continue to stand by Khan’s former wife, Aliza Sultan.
Jalan actor Minal took to Instagram shortly after Gilani and Sethi and wrote, “Yesterday my private information including my personal phone number was leaked on social media. It was an utterly shameful act which was carried out intentionally by Feroze Khan on the absurd pretext of issuing a legal notice.”
She shared that his action caused her severe “mental distress” as she has been receiving hundreds of calls and messages.
“My personal security has been breached and put at risk as I have been mentally harassed, tortured and threatened by multiple numbers. Me and my family’s life has been put in danger. Such actions are illegal - This being said I will be taking very strict legal action against Feroze Khan for leaking my private information on social media along with multiple other famous individuals,” wrote the 24-year-old actor.
Earlier in the day, Hussain shared via Instagram a similar experience and spoke about his private phone number being shared online. He shared a screenshot of a person who contacted him through WhatsApp after his number was shared online by Khan.
“One stupid man first beat his wife and now leaked our numbers. Because of this, some kid is trying to ask me for a role and if not that then Rs100,000. What should I do?” Hussain questioned.
In another Instagram story, Hussain shared a screenshot of the chat where a person asked the Badshah Begum actor to cast him in a drama serial. He said if Hussain doesn’t want to do that, he must send him Rs100,000 otherwise he won’t “forgive” him. He also gave a contact number for Hussain to EasyPaisa the asked amount.
“This brother sent his own number but I didn’t out him because I went to school and therefore you should be able to see the difference. Shame on you stupid man,” wrote Hussain.
Another chat that he shared on Instagram revealed that someone texted him on WhatsApp revealing that Khan “leaked” his number and said the only reason why they messaged Hussain was for him to arrange a meeting with singer Falak Shabir.
A night earlier, Gilani’s husband, actor and plastic surgeon Fahad Mirza, shared a news piece on Khan’s legal action and titled it “Moron Alert!”. Censoring the celebrities’ personal numbers, he termed Khan “deranged, vengeful and stupid” for publicising the actors’ personal details.
Sharing someone’s phone number without their consent is illegal under sections 20 and 24 of the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. Section 20 refers to offences against the dignity of a natural person and punishes whoever intentionally and publicly exhibits or displays or transmits any information through any information system, which he knows to be false, and intimidates or harms the reputation or privacy of a natural person with an imprisonment of up to three years and/or a maximum fine of Rs1 million. Section 24 refers to cyber stalking, which is also punishable with an imprisonment of up to three years and/or a maximum fine of Rs1 million.
Aliza Sultan and Khan married in 2018 and share a son and a daughter together. They announced their intention to divorce in September and said they were in the middle of court proceedings discussing custody and visitation rights for their two children. Sultan had said she was physically and psychologically abused by her former partner during their marriage. Khan refused to comment at the time.
In October, Sultan shared emergency room records which marked “blunt injuries on both her arms, her back, chest and face” as well as photos of the bruises as evidence of abuse. Several members of the entertainment industry rallied behind her on social media. A day after Sultan’s allegations, Khan denied them and vowed to take legal action against the perpetrators of the “rumours”.
A Karachi family court is hearing two cases — one filed by Khan for custody of their two children and another filed by Sultan for maintenance money for the children. At the last hearing of the case in December, the court ordered the verification of evidence submitted by Sultan. The SHO of the Darakhshan police station and the medico-legal officer of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre were directed to submit their reports in the case.
Khan’s legal team argues that the reports have been “fabricated”. He had also requested the court to restrain his ex-wife from sharing information or content relating to their personal lives on social media.