On Wednesday, the Sindh High Court issued a notice to singer Ali Zafar in connection with a lawsuit filed by Pakistani makeup artist and activist Leena Ghani. Ghani accused the actor-singer of harassment and defamation, demanding Rs50 million as compensation for the damages she has suffered. Sharing the documents of the lawsuit, Ghani tweeted, “After years of personal and legal attacks by Mr. Zafar, I have decided to stand up for myself and fight back. They said go to the courts. So I did. #metoo #TimesUp”
Here are 10 things to know about the case against Ali Zafar:
- Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi headed the single bench which issued the notice to Ali Zafar through the District and Sessions’ Judge Lahore has asked for his comments by 25 January, as reported by The Dawn.
- Ghani alleged that Zafar harassed her in December 2014, during a fashion event in London. According to her he also passed inappropriate comments twice in the month of June the same year.
- Ghani has also accused Zafar of defaming her on social media. According to her complaint, on December 20, 2020, the actor tweeted an alleged false statement and representation with the intention to lower her reputation in front of the public.
- Ghani has further stated that the singer then offered her an opportunity to work with a major organisation in July 2014, which she politely refused.
- The Pakistani activist has urged the court to decree the suit in her favour, and to order the singer to compensate her with Rs50 million for causing her mental agony, shock, and stress.
- She has also requested the court to stop the defendant from levelling, circulating, publishing, or spreading any statements personally or through the media that may be defamatory to her.
- In a statement to Guardian Ghani said, “People keep saying #MeToo is dying in Pakistan, which is so terrible because it’s not like women are not getting harassed and assaulted and raped, but we are being silenced." She further added that there was a realisation that Pakistan’s #MeToo movement hinged on her case. "The whole system is against us," she claimed, adding, "Ali Zafar is a powerful man, and going to court is hard – but what can be harder than lying and living with that lie. I would rather go to jail."
- In 2018, singer Meesha Shafi filed a lawsuit against him accusing him of sexual harassment at workplace. However, her suit was dismissed on technical grounds. Since then several women have come forward accusing the singer of harassment.
- Zafar went to deny all the allegations levied against him. In 2018, Zafar had filed a complaint with the FIA cybercrime wing against Pakistani singer Meesha Shafi, Iffat Omar, Leena Ghani, Fariha Ayub, Maham Javaid, Ali Gul, Haseemuz Zaman Khan, Humna Raza, and Syed Faizan Raza for allegedly running a smear campaign against him, as reported by Indian Express.
- In the notice, Zafar stated that Shafi had caused “tremendous injury” to his “reputation, goodwill, livelihood” through “false, slanderous and defamatory” allegations. Read more here