LAHORE: Renowned actor and singer Ali Zafar on Monday recorded his partial statement in a defamation case he lodged against actor-singer Meesha Shafi after she accused him last year of sexual harassment through Twitter posts.
Ali Zafar gave his statement before a district and sessions judge in Lahore. The statement continued for over four hours until the court adjourned hearing till July 3, when Zafar will resume his testimony.
In his statement, Zafar said the accusations levelled by Shafi damaged him mentally and financially adding that they were part of an organised conspiracy before release of his film, Teefa in Trouble. He accused Shafi of running fake social media accounts to launch a smear campaign against him.
He claimed Shafi had sent him a message before a music programme, warning that she would run a campaign against him if he did not leave that show.
“The message I received from Meesha through my agent Rizwan Raees was to step aside from the project or I will suffer. She said if I don’t leave the project she will publicly accuse me of harassment and furthermore she would not be alone.
“She said she will use the internationally renowned and respected #Metoo movement and warned me of the magnitude and impact of the movement. She added that when she comes out with the allegation riding on the movement, she will have ‘other women’ with her along with the press.
Ali Zafar tweets a cryptic poem #Mein
“She said there would be nothing I would be able to do to save myself so I should be smart enough to quietly step aside which I refused to do hence she tweeted allegations of harassment just minutes before my flight to attend the recording,” Zafar claimed.
In his defense, he presented record of messages, pictures, social media posts and tweets of Shafi.
He said nine witnesses had testified before the court that he had not harassed the singer at a jamming session, adding that on the said occasion – when according to Shafi’s claim Ali Zafar harassed her – there was at least a distance of 2-3 feet distance between him and Shafi.
After the court proceeding, Ali Zafar – who was accompanied by his father-in-law – said he had submitted proofs in the court against Shafi.