Defamation case: Supreme court to hear Meesha Shafi’s petition on May 9

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Lahore (Web Desk) The Supreme Court has allowed a hearing for artist Meesha Shafi’s petition pertaining to the defamation case filed by singer Ali Zafar and constituted a two-member bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi.

The hearing is scheduled for May 9.

Shafi had accused Zafar of sexual harassment last year, leading to a key debate on the topic of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement.

In her petition, Shafi’s legal team notes that it is a basic right to cross-examine witnesses presented in the court and that the apex court should grant the right, thereby, declaring the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision null and void.

Speaking to national TV, Nighat Dad, one of the lawyers representing Shafi, highlighted that the petition filed with the SC was separate and pertained to the court “not giving a right to a fair trial to Meesha”.

Dad said her client “wants a fair and reasonable opportunity to cross-examine, context and challenge Ali Zafar’s evidence and witnesses, which was denied by the trial court and high court and that’s why her lawyers have petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and direct the trial court to allow Meesha all procedural rights and remedies which she is entitled to”.

“Meesha’s lawyers have requested that the trial judge should exercise his discretion in a structured and fair manner,” she added.

Dad explained that what Shafi seeks is “fair trial rights and guarantees which every litigant has under the law and the Constitution of Pakistan”.

The petition, first submitted on April 12 against the LHC, had been rejected earlier by the trial court and then the LHC. According to the lawyer, the trial court had not permitted delaying cross-examination of witnesses and that sufficient time was needed to cross-examine the witnesses.

Shafi had “challenged trial court’s decision to allow Ali Zafar to produce his witnesses in a certain manner and directing Meesha’s lawyers to cross-examine them immediately after the witnesses record their statement thereby denying Meesha’s lawyers a reasonable opportunity to cross-examine them properly”.

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