Meesha Shafi and Ali Zafar Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Pakistani actress-model Meesha Shafi’s sexual harassment appeal against actor Ali Zafar was dismissed and some social media users are confused, while others rejoiced.

According to a report in The Express Tribune, a Pakistan-based English newspaper, Shafi had filed a complaint to the Governor of Punjab under the Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010. However, her appeal was rejected on the basis that she “wasn’t an actual employee at the time the harassment allegedly took place”, and was in no way bound by a formal contract.

In a statement to the paper, Zafar’s team wrote: “The appeal was dismissed some time ago, around the same time Ali’s debut Pakistani film ‘Teefa in Trouble’ was releasing. Therefore, we didn’t want the attention from the movie to be diverted.”

The minute the news broke, a conversation started on social media. Some users were seen celebrating the decision and calling out Shafi for a false case.

Tweep @YaseenLakhani posted: “Teefa finally clear! Good news for Ali Zafar! Finally Punjab Government dismisses Meesha Shafi’s sexual harassment appeal.”

@AswadBinAzraq tweeted: “Anyone pointing out Meesha Shafi’s technical discrepancies or character is simply labelled as misogynist, a harasser... along with tags of toxic masculinity and patriarchy or merely a blind fan or supporter of Ali Zafar. They’ve been running bullying campaigns themselves.”

Tweep @Rumsha_AZian added: “As a woman, Meesha has let me down by not going to court and proved that she lied. She didn’t even appear before the court in defamation case filed by Ali. I am glad her appeal has been rejected by the honourable Governor.”

There was also the other side of the spectrum, wherein social media users questioned the law and decision and believed it wasn’t right.

Tweep @UsamaKhilji posted: “Meesha Shafi’s complaint not even heard for sexual harassment and Governor refused on a legal technicality that she was not an employee under contract when Ali Zafar harassed her. It is false to say she lost the case. This is due to gap in law, not her complaint. #TimesUp”

@nehasaigol1 tweeted: “Meesha Shafi’s harrasment suit dismissed on the grounds that there is no contract of employment between her and the predator Ali Zafar. As a woman, you need to be employed by your abuser before our laws even address sexual harassment. And you all wondered ‘why Twitter’. #metoo”

Tweep @anthonypermal added: “In the end, it didn’t matter if she had evidence or not, or whether she was harassed or not. All that mattered was a man in charge of the case used a technicality to absolve Ali Zafar. Meesha, I still believe you. #MeToo”

After the information about the case being dismissed was revealed, Zafar issued a statement to the media, too.

He said: “I have always maintained that I will respect and honour whatever decision the justice system takes and that I believe justice shall be served in the best possible manner.”

When he was asked about the case by Gulf News earlier in July, he had said: “Whenever there is trouble in your life ... there’s a simple rule and fact. Believe in God and have faith. Believe that truth always prevails. When you are on the right side of the truth and when you are on the right side of history, nothing can hurt you.”