By Abdullah Zahid.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday approved Meesha Shafi’s plea in the workplace harassment case against fellow entertainer Ali Zafar.
The singer was granted leave by the court in her appeal against Zafar, meaning the court is ready to debate whether Zafar’s alleged sexual harassment of Shafi counted as workplace harassment.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist actor’s appeal was earlier rejected by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and Punjab ombudsperson, claiming that her allegations did not fall under the ‘workplace harassment law’.
After hearing the arguments presented by Shafi’s counsel, the apex court remarked that the “points raised by the petitioner must be reviewed,” and clubbed the case with the suo motu notice taken to define sexual harassment, also pending in the court.
Issuing notices to respondents, Zafar and Punjab Advocate General Ahmad Awais, the court adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.
Earlier in 2019, Shafi’s appeal was dismissed by the Lahore High Court on the basis that she and her alleged harasser did not have “an employer-employee” relationship.
Back in April 2018, Shafi turned to her social media and publicly accused Zafar of physically harassing her on ‘more than one occasion.’ “This happened to me despite the fact that I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind,” she said. In response, Zafar denied the allegations and filed a defamation suit against Shafi.
Meesha’s lawyer tweeted, ”Leave granted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Meesha Shafi vs The Governor of Punjab to consider whether all women, including students, are covered under Pakistan’s harassment law.”
“We’re very proud today for Mr. Khwaja Ahmad Hosain for the most brilliant advocacy,” she added.
‘Boom Boom’ singer had earlier tweeted, “Tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Pakistan hears my appeal on whether I, a ‘self-employed person’ have a right, as per the law, to be heard after being harassed and therefore expect justice on merit as an equal citizen.”