LAHORE: During the first session of her cross-examination, singer Meesha Shafi on Monday said she decided to speak up about the alleged incidents of sexual harassment after the matter could not be resolved privately.
“... it became clear to me that this matter was not being resolved privately,” she said, responding to the queries of the counsel for actor-cum-singer Ali Zafar, who is pursuing a defamation suit against the female singer.
Asked about the possibility of private resolution, she said the resolution would have looked like an acknowledgement or apology from Zafar about his past behaviour so that she could commit to her work feeling safe or not bring him to her space and make it unsafe for her.
She admitted that she tweeted one day before the recording of the first show of a concert on April 19, 2018. She said her intention was to help herself as nobody was helping her.
However, Ms Shafi said she had every plan to go to work as per her professional commitment. She said the company insisted she work with the plaintiff, but instead of recording the show, she spoke up via her tweets.
About her statement that Zafar filed the suit to pressurize her, she admitted that Zafar could also see her complaint against him as a pressure.
Shafi refused to admit that Zafar had suffered financial losses due to her allegations of sexual harassment.
She said that financially and repute wise, the plaintiff enjoyed record-breaking revenue as boasted by his film “Teefa in Trouble” and he also received accolades and awards after her tweets.
She said Zafar had also been awarded by the government and Prime Minister Imran Khan even named him as an ambassador for NUML.
Shafi said her complaint against cyberbullying and harassment was still pending with FIA.
She said she approximately earned Rs3.5 million in 2021.
Shafi said she became a permanent resident of Canada in 2016 and admitted that her husband worked for the plaintiff during the same year in the foreign country.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Khan Mahmood adjourned the hearing for Tuesday.
In his suit, Zafar said the allegations tarnished his image in public and his family had been facing agony and pain.
He asked the court to issue a decree against Shafi and direct her to pay Rs1bn as damages to him.
Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2022