LAHORE: Singer-turned-actor Ali Zafar on Saturday submitted a defamation suit to a district court against musician and former colleague Meesha Shafi after she had accused Zafar of sexual harassment in a Twitter post.
The suit, claiming damages of Rs1 billion, has been filed under the Defamation Ordinance 2002.
In the notice, the singer said that Shafi damaged his reputation through false allegations.
“That the tweet dated 19.04.2018 and the Instep Article dated 21.04.2018 are false, slanderous, and defamatory statements, stand published and originate from the defendant, therefore, have caused tremendous injury to the Plaintiff’s reputation, good will, livelihood; being attempts to tarnish the good image of the plaintiff. As the defamatory statements are patently false, it can only be concluded that this malicious campaign has been launched against the plaintiff as part of a motivated conspiracy to tarnish the plaintiff’s good image through making false accusations. The defendant has associated herself with the global #MeToo movement, with one of the launchers of the #MeToo movement ‘Rose McGowan’ labeling the defendant as ‘a heroine for our times’.”
In the breakdown of the Rs1 billion damages, the notice read: “Be that as it may, that due to the defamatory campaign being spearheaded by the defendant, the plaintiff besides special damages in case of defamation further suffered the following damages: mental torture (2 crores), loss of contacts (8 crores), loss of reputation/ goodwill (50 crores) and loss of business opportunities (40 crores).”
Earlier, Meesha Shafi had received a legal notice sent by Ali Zafar’s counsel, asking the singer-cum-actor to delete her tweet alleging harassment. She was asked to issue an apology on Twitter “failing which he will file a Rs1 billion defamation case against her”.
The letter demanded Meesha to delete her tweet in which she alleged Zafar sexually harassed her. The notice also sought “an apology using the same social media platform of Twitter proclaiming our client’s innocence.”
In April, Meesha took to Twitter to publicly accuse Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion”.
“This happened to me despite the fact I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind!” her statement had read.
Ali, on the other hand, had “categorically” denied the allegations and threatened to take legal action against the actress.
“I intend to take this through the courts of law, and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any accusations here,” the singer had said on Twitter.