LAHORE: A sessions court on Tuesday adjourned hearing of a defamation suit by singer-actor Ali Zafar against fellow singer Meesha Shafi as the latter’s counsel sought an adjournment to await outcome of a petition filed with the Lahore High Court seeking suspension of the suit’s proceedings.
Advocate Saqib Jillani, on behalf of Ms Shafi, told the court that its order of dismissing the defendant’s application to halt the suit till decision of a criminal case against her and her witnesses had been assailed before the high court.
He asked the court to grant one adjournment saying the defendant would produce her witnesses if the proceedings of the suit were not stayed by the LHC.
Additional District & Sessions Judge Yasar Hayat allowed the request and adjourned the hearing till Nov 7 for evidence of the defendant.
On a complaint by Mr Zafar, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had registered a criminal case against Ms Shafi and others including some of her witnesses. Ms Shafi had urged the sessions court to stop the suit’s proceedings with an argument that the FIR was a blatant attempt to silence her witnesses at a critical stage of the trial when she was producing her witnesses before the court.
However, Presiding Judge Hayat turned down her request with an observation that there was no cavil, as per the settled law, on simultaneous proceedings in civil and criminal cases regarding the same subject matter.
Ms Shafi challenged this order before the LHC where Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir held an initial hearing on her petition on Monday. However, the judge later recused himself from the petition and referred it back to the chief justice for its fixation before any other judge.
In his suit, Zafar contended that Shafi through a tweet on April 19, 2018 leveled baseless allegations of sexual harassment against him, which tarnished his image in public while his family had been facing agony and pain.
Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2020