LAHORE: A sessions court on Saturday was requested to permit cross-examination of singer Meesha Shafi and her husband through a video link in a defamation suit by actor-cum-singer Ali Zafar as the couple was unable to travel to Pakistan from Canada due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Advocate Saqib Jillani, the counsel for Shafi, made the request before the court in the presence of senior artiste Saba Hameed, the mother of the defendant.
The counsel recalled that a judge previously seized with the suit had last year in March allowed the defendant to get the statements of her witnesses, living abroad, recorded through a video link.
Zafar’s counsel Umar Gill opposed the request of cross-examination through video link and pointed out that if Shafi could visit Pakistan for her professional engagements during peak days of Covid-19 so why not for the court proceedings. He also claimed that there were no restrictions on travelling from Canada to Pakistan.
Advocate Jillani said the higher courts allowed recording of statements through a video link at a place approved by a court. He said the premises of the Pakistan embassies or consulate in the foreign countries could be used for the purpose.
Additional District & Sessions Judge Azhar Iqbal Ranjha asked the defendant’s counsel to submit a formal application to the effect and the court would decide the same as per the law.
On the last hearing, the judge had summoned Shafi and her remaining witnesses for the cross-examination.
However, on Saturday, Saba Hameed and actor Iffat Omar appeared before the court.
The plaintiff’s counsel completed the cross-examination of Ms Omar and the judge summoned two more witnesses of Shafi including make-up artist Leena Ghani and Farhan Ali on March 20.
During her cross-examination, Ms Omar said she would like her daughter to be just like Shafi and actor Saba Hameed was her friend and mentor like many other mentors.
She admitted to have stated in an interview that she would believe Shafi even if the suit by Zafar was decreed.
Ms Omar negated that she had tried to create a public perception that Zafar was a harasser. “It is my opinion and belief that he is a harasser,” she added.
To a question about the impact of the allegation on Zafar’s children, she said “whoever is lying obviously it will have a negative impact on his/her children. I think if Shafi’s allegations are proved false then Zafar’s children will be vindicated.”
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2021