LAHORE: A judicial magistrate on Thursday summoned singer Meesha Shafi and another person in a criminal case registered under the cybercrime law against the singer on the complaint of actor-cum-singer Ali Zafar.

At the outset of the hearing, applications for exemption from personal appearance were filed on behalf of five, out of six suspects, who previously appeared.

Magistrate Zulfiqar Bari observed except suspect Ali Gull Pir, none of the applications disclosed any justifiable reason for the exemption. The other suspects include Leena Ghani, Haseemuz Zaman, Fareeha Ayub and Syed Faizan Raza. Actor Iffat Omar, also a suspect in the case, attended the hearing.

The lawyers of the absent suspects said their clients failed to appear due to illness and evidence could be presented to this effect.

The counsel for Zafar opposed the applications, saying the suspects had been using delaying tactics.

The magistrate said the contention of the complainant’s counsel had a merit, however, allowed the applications of the suspects in the interest of justice. The magistrate said no such application would be entertained in future without justifiable reason or proof of illness.

A legal officer of the FIA submitted a complete challan (investigation report) against the suspects. The report said the investigation established that all the suspects, including Shafi, posted serious/direct allegations and defamatory /derogatory content on social media against the complainant.

The magistrate adjourned further hearingtill March 27and issued summons for the appearance of Shafi and Maham Javed. The lawyers of the suspects were directed to come with arguments on the next hearing.

The FIA had lodged the FIR under section 20 of the Pakistan Electronic Crime Act and section 109 of Pakistan Penal Code against nine persons allegedly for running a smear campaign against the complainant on social media.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2021

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