Singer Ali Zafar on Thursday, during the hearing of a defamation case he has filed against fellow artist Meesha Shafi, said that women who have been harassed "should report the matter in the appropriate forum that […] they are not social networks. "
Shafi had accused Zafar last year of harassing her "more than twice." In response, Zafar had filed a libel suit against her, saying that her "unfounded and unfounded" allegations had allegedly tarnished her reputation.
At today's hearing, Zafar was being questioned by Shafi's lawyer, Saqib Jillani, in a court of sessions, where the case is being heard.
Shafi's lawyer asked if a woman, who has been sexually harassed, should "ignore him or report the incident," Zafar replied: "I strongly believe that if a woman is sexually harassed and feels strongly about [it], she should report the matter in the appropriate forum that, in my opinion, are not social networks. "
During the hearing, Jillani asked Zafar if he thought all cases of sexual harassment were reported, to which the latter responded negatively.
"I am not a woman, I do not know why women do not report cases of sexual harassment," he added.
"If a woman, who is a victim [of sexual harassment], report a case late, are you doing the right thing? "Jillani asked.
"I don't know, God knows why the victim is reporting the case after a period of time," Zafar said.
When asked what could be Shafi's possible motive, without naming the singer, he said that people can have all kinds of motives, including "hunger for fame, money and respect," but said that since Shafi had all this , in his case it could have been "Jealousy and personal revenge and competitiveness".
When asked more, Zafar said: "When a woman is a friend of you and your wife, she can complain about that matter in private."
He said he would have "apologized to Shafi in person if he had harassed her."
Despite prosecutorial objections, Shafi's lawyer reproduced the clip from the interference session during which he alleged that Zafar had sexually harassed her. Zafar confirmed that the video was from the session and that it had also been shared on his Twitter account. Jillani noted that, contrary to Zafar's previous claims, the drummer at the back of the stage was facing the wall, instead of the singers.
While speaking in court, Zafar admitted that his movie Teefa in trouble – which was released after Shafi made accusations against him – had raised Rs500 million and had been nominated in the Best Film category of the Lux Style Awards "despite the propaganda" against him. He also said that he had also received the audience's choice award for best film actor.
Zafar also told the court that the Akhuwat Foundation had invited him to a fundraising event where he was hailed as a "role model."
However, he insisted that Pepsi had canceled two of his contracts due to Shafi's accusations.
"Pepsi told me that the public will sympathize with the woman," he said.
The court postponed the hearing until September 20.
The same court also heard an appeal for defamation filed yesterday by Shafi and sent a notice to Zafar, demanding a response to the lawsuit before October 7.