A judicial magistrate summoned a local singer Meesha Shafi and another through bailable arrest warrants in a case registered under cybercrime law by actor-cum-singer Ali Zafar on charges of running a malicious campaign against him on social media.
The magistrate issued the bailable arrest warrants of Meesha Shafi and Maham Javed for February 19.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the magistrate was informed that Meesha and Ms Javed were out of the country due to professional engagements and could not appear before the court. Their counsel filed applications for exemption from personal appearance.
The magistrate observed that same applications of the petitioners were already dismissed on the last hearing and bailable arrest warrants were issued. He also obserged that without surrendering before the law they could not move other applications for exemption of their personal appearance.
The magistrate also held that the reasons mentioned in the applications are not justifiable, therefore, the petitions are dismissed.
The magistrate also expressed dismay over the counsel of the complainant, Zafar, for not completing his arguments against the acquittal applications of suspects Ali Gul and Leena Ghani.
The magistrate that the applications were pending for since long and arguments on behalf of the petitioners had already been heard but the counsel for the complainant was not appearing before the court to argue the petitions. He also observed that the arguments of the complainant’s counsel were also pending on the petitions of exemption from personal appearance moved on behalf of Meesha Shafi and Ms Javed.
The magistrate held that if the complainant’s counsel failed to argue on the next hearing the petitions would be decided after hearing the arguments of the FIA counsel.
In this case, Meesha Shafi had appeared before the magistrate at three recent hearings held on December 4, 18 of 2021 and January 7, 2022 and later she travelled back to her family in Canada on January 11.
The FIA had lodged a case against Meesha Shafi and nine others under section 20 of the Pakistan Electronic Crime Act and section 109 of Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly for running a smear campaign against the complainant on social media.
The FIA in its challan (investigation report) said the investigation established that all the suspects including Shafi posted serious/direct allegations and defamatory /derogatory content on social media against the complainant.