Meesha’s plea to stay defamation proceedings dismissed

Updated 20 Oct 2020

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A sessions court on Monday dismissed an application of singer Meesha Shafi for staying proceedings of a defamation suit against her by fellow singer-actor Ali Zafar. — Photo courtesy Coke Studio/File
A sessions court on Monday dismissed an application of singer Meesha Shafi for staying proceedings of a defamation suit against her by fellow singer-actor Ali Zafar. — Photo courtesy Coke Studio/File

LAHORE: A sessions court on Monday dismissed an application of singer Meesha Shafi for staying proceedings of a defamation suit against her by fellow singer-actor Ali Zafar, and directed her to present her remaining witnesses for recording of statements.

Ms Shafi, through a counsel, had urged the court to suspend the proceedings of the suit till the decision of a criminal case registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against her and her witnesses. She had claimed that the first information report (FIR) lodged on the complaint of Zafar was a blatant attempt to silence her witnesses at a critical stage of the trial when she was producing her witnesses before the court.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Yasar Hayat observed that the higher courts had time and again referred to the settled law that there was no cavil on simultaneous proceedings in civil and criminal cases regarding the same subject matter.

Rejecting the case law presented by Shafi’s counsel, the judge remarked that the British and Indian case law were not binding on the court, especially where the case law settled by the Supreme Court was already available on the very point under question.

Pre-arrest bails of six confirmed in cybercrime case

He observed that Shafi failed to produce anything in support of the stance to stop the proceedings of the suit merely because a criminal proceeding had been initiated. The judge ruled: “It is very much clear that the outcome of criminal proceeding is absolutely a different matter as the spirit and purpose of the same is to punish the offender for commission of crime and the purpose of civil proceedings is to enforce civil rights.”

The judge turned down another request by the applicant’s counsel seeking a long adjournment in the suit for more than 25 to 30 days. He directed the Shafi’s counsel to present their remaining witnesses on Oct 27.

BAIL: Additional District and Sessions Judge Hamid Hussain on Monday confirmed pre-arrest bails of Shafi’s manager Syed Faizan Raza, friend Leena Ghani, actor-host Iffat Omar and three others in the FIR registered by the cybercrime wing of FIA on a complaint of Ali Zafar.

The complainant’s counsel stated that he would not oppose the confirmation of the bails.

The agency had lodged the FIR against Ms Shafi and eight others under Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and Section 109 of PPC for allegedly running a smear campaign against him on social media.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2020