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PFS News on 14 May, 2019
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  1. SC allows Meesha Shafi’s legal team to cross-examine Ali Zafar’s witnesses
  2. ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday allowed Meesha Shafi’s legal team to cross-examine witnesses presented by Ali Zafar in the court in one go, setting aside an earlier order by the Lahore High Court in the high-profile defamation case.
  3. A two-member bench of the apex court led by Justice Mushir Alam heard the petition by Shafi against the LHC order in the defamation case filed by Zafar, after the singer accused him of sexual harassment last year prompting a key debate on the #MeToo movement in the country.
  4. Setting aside the LHC order during today’s hearing, the Supreme Court directed Zafar’s counsel to submit affidavits of the remaining witnesses within seven days, whereafter Shafi’s counsel will be allowed to cross-examine the nine witnesses in one go.
  5. In case Zafar is unable to do so, the same will be done on the next day, the court observed.
  6. In her petition, Shafi’s legal team had argued that it was a basic right to cross-examine witnesses presented in the court and that the apex court should grant them the right, thereby declaring the LHC decision null and void.
  7. Shafi’s counsel Nighat Dad had told Geo.tv that her client “wants a fair and reasonable opportunity to cross-examine, context and challenge Ali Zafar’s evidence and witnesses, which was denied by the trial court and high court.”
  8. That is why she had petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and direct the trial court to allow the singer all procedural rights and remedies which she was entitled to, Dad had said.
  9. The petition, first submitted on April 12 against the LHC, had been rejected by the trial court and then the LHC. According to the lawyer, the trial court had not permitted delaying cross-examination of witnesses.
  10. Ali Zafar’s witness rejects Meesha’s allegations, calls her liar
  11. Shafi had “challenged the trial court’s decision to allow Ali Zafar to produce his witnesses in a certain manner and directing her lawyers to cross-examine them immediately after the witnesses record their statement thereby denying Meesha’s lawyers a reasonable opportunity to cross-examine them properly”.
  12. Zafar had filed the defamation suit last year against Shafi, who had accused him of sexual harassment. Filed under the Defamation Ordinance 2002, the suit claimed damages worth Rs1 billion.
  13. In the notice, he had stated that Shafi had damaged his reputation through false allegations of sexual harassment.