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Lahore's sessions court records statement of witness produced by Ali Zafar's counsel

Updated May 11, 2019

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Meesha Shafi had last year accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions. — Dawn.com/File
Meesha Shafi had last year accused Ali Zafar of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions. — Dawn.com/File

A sessions court in Lahore on Saturday recorded the statement of Kinza Muneer — a witness produced by Ali Zafar's counsel — during the hearing of a defamation suit filed by the singer against Meesha Shafi.

Shafi had last year accused Zafar of sexually harassing her on multiple occasions. Zafar had denied the allegations and filed a defamation suit in which he has said that Shafi had levelled "baseless and unfounded" accusations that have allegedly tarnished his reputation and caused pain to his family.

Additional Sessions Judge Amjad Ali Shah heard the case today, after a sessions court transferred the defamation suit on Shafi's request earlier this week. Shafi, in her appeal filed on May 4, had expressed lack of confidence in the judge hearing the case at the time and claimed that he was biased in Zafar's favour.

During the hearing, Muneer said that she was present in the studio where Shafi has alleged that she was sexually harassed by Zafar during a rehearsal session of a concert. Muneer said that around 10 people were in the studio at the time of rehearsal, that went on for 45 minutes.

The witness further said that both singers were "standing four to five feet apart from each other" during the rehearsal session, that was being filmed.

Claiming that Shafi's accusations were "lies", Muneer said that Shafi had hugged Zafar when she arrived at the studio as well as when she had left.

The court, after recording Muneer's statement, adjourned the hearing until May 18.

Earlier during the hearing, Shafi's counsel had requested the judge to adjourn that proceedings of the suit as a case pertaining to the alleged incident is being heard in the Supreme Court. Shafi's lawyer requested the court to wait until the top court issued an order.

Shafi had moved the top court last month after the rejection of her petition by the Lahore High Court to have the statements of Zafar’s witnesses recorded and their cross-examination conducted in separate hearings, instead of turn-by-turn examination.

During today's hearing, Zafar's lawyer objected to the appeal, saying that the sessions judge had ordered to record witness statements today. Zafar's counsel told the court that two of its witnesses were present in court.

The judge, after listening to the arguments of both sides, turned down Shafi's appeal.