Many Indian media houses reported that Pakistani Singer Meesha Shafi has been sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment for levelling 'false accusations of sexual harassment on Pakistani actor/singer Ali Zafar'. These media reports were published on March 14-15 and said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan convicted Meesha of levelling false allegations of #Metoo against Ali Zafar and sentenced her to three years of imprisonment under a defamation case filed by Zafar for 'irreparable damages to his career thanks to the false case'.
Meesha Shafi has been sentenced to imprisonment for three years.
The Logical Indian found out that the report done on Meehsa Shafi's jail term by Aaj Tak attributed its source to a report of Mail Online, the website of the Daily Mail UK, a British Tabloid.
Hence, we searched for the article of Daily Mail Uk and found that Mail Online had published an article on March 12, 2021, reporting that the court has convicted Meesha Shafi on defamation case and sentenced her to three years of imprisonment. On reading the Daily Mail UK article, we found that it had sourced its article to a Wall Street Journal report, published on March 12 with the title, 'Pakistani Singer Faces Prosecution for Accusing Pop Star of Groping Her.'
We went through the article of the Wall Street Journal and found that the article explained the series of incidents that happened in Meesha Shafi's case and also spoke about the recent development of the story that says that the Supreme Court of Pakistan agreed to deliberate whether allegations of Shafi against Zafar fall under the country's Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act of 2010. Meesha Saifi had earlier lost several legal battles against Ali Zafar as according to the judiciary her case is not covered by the law.
Asad Jamal, lawyer of Meesha Shafi, took to Twitter to refute the claims made by the Indian media and said that the trial court has not yet passed the verdict. He shared the statement by the court with the caption, "This is with ref to the fake news claiming that my client Meesha Shafi has been sentenced to 3 yrs imprisonment. No such verdict has been passed by the trial court in the frivolous criminal defamation case instituted by Ali Zafar against several women. Read the complete statement below."
Meesha Shafi also quote tweeted Jamal's tweet with the caption, "Another day, another campaign spreading false information. Speaking up is WAY MORE EXHAUSTING than being groped. This is why we end up suffering in silence. Sending lots of love and solidarity to all who speak up. It's hard! @LegalPolitical setting the record straight."
Hence, Meesha Shafi has not been sentenced to imprisonment as reported by many Indian media organisations.
Sexual harassment case against Ali Zafar
On April 19, 2018, Meesha Shafi had accused her colleague, Ali Zafar of sexual harassment, when #MeToo was at its peak (a movement started in 2017, in which many women came forward to tell about the sexual harassment they have faced). Shafi alleged that in 2017, Ali Zafar had groped her in a recording studio. Shafi had claimed, "I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar. This happened to me even though I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind! This happened to me as a mother of two children." She took to Twitter to speak about sexual harassment that she faced.
Later, on the same day, Ali Zafar refuted the allegations put on him and replied to Meesha's Tweet by saying, "I categorically deny any and all claims of harassment lodged against me by Ms Shafi." Meesha Shafi, a mother of two, alleged sexual abuse and also accused Ali of being a repeat offender. "I have been subjected, on more than one occasion, to sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry: Ali Zafar," read a part of her statement. On his part, Ali Zafar added: "I have nothing to hide. Silence is absolutely not an option."
On April 25, 2018, when many of the allegation made by Meesha spread like wildfire, Ali Zafer sent a defamation notice to her and demanded Rs 100 crore, as per the report of The Dawn. Since then, a legal tussle started between the two Pakistani celebrities.
In August 2018, Shafi's case was rejected by a provincial ombudsman and the Punjab Governor with the claim that Shafi does not have an 'employment relationship' with the entity against whom the complaint was filed, i.e. JS Events, according to the report of The Dawn published on August 1, 2018.
On September 29, 2020, The Dawn, a Pakistani News media agency, reported that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cybercrime wing had booked Meesha Shafi and eight other women in case of vilification of Ali Zafar. They were booked under section 20(1) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, and R/W 109-PPC, and if convicted they would be sentenced to jail for a maximum of three years. One thing to note here is that out of Meesha was the only woman who had officially filed a complaint against Ali Zafar.
On January 12, 2021, The Dawn reported that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has accepted a regular hearing of artist Meesha Shafi's plea against her colleague Ali Zafar. The report also said that Meera Shafi and all the other accused had to appear in court but as they failed to make an appearance, so the case was adjourned for further hearing till 27 March and Shafi was summoned.
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