ISLAMABAD  - The Supreme Court Tuesday granted permission for recording joint statements and the joint cross-examination of witnesses in the case of Meesha Shafi and Ali Zafar.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa directed Zafar’s counsel to submit affidavits from witnesses within a week. The top court also accepted the request by Shafi’s counsel and granted him one week to complete his preparation for the cross-examination of witnesses. The bench remarked that the counsel of both parties should try and complete the cross-examination within a single day.

The top court, however, stopped Shafi and Zafar from filing unnecessary applications. It also directed the trial court not to grant unnecessary adjournments and that the trial be completed soon.

The top court has also disposed of Shafi’s appeal challenging the Lahore High Court (LHC) order, wherein it had rejected her plea for joint cross-examination of witnesses.

Following LHC’s rejection, Shafi had moved the top court in April to have the statements of Zafar’s witnesses recorded and their cross-examination conducted in separate hearings, instead of turn-by-turn examination. During the course of hearing, Shafi’s counsel contended that his client Shaif do not know all of Zafar’s witnesses and alleged that they were his employees.

However, Advocate Sibtain Hashmi, counsel for Zafar, disproved the allegation and contended that none of the witnesses are his client’s employees.

Justice Isa inquired about Zafar’s main objection to Shafi’s request. The counsel responded that statements are recorded and cross-examination of witnesses is done on the same day according to the law.

Justice Isa remarked that it is court’s discretion to decide whether the recording of statements and cross-examination are done on the same day or not.

Shafi’s counsel argued that once they have a list of the witnesses, they would be ready to conduct the cross-examination in a day.

The court wrapped up the petition while ordering for the trial be completed within the timeframe decided in the high court’s order.

On April 9, the LHC had given the petitioners and respondents another three months to argue their respective cases, while setting aside a directive from a Lahore district court that had mandated the conclusion of the case on April 15.

In April last year, Shafi had alleged on social media that fellow musician and actor Zafar had sexually harassed her on multiple occasions.

However, hours after Shafi’s tweets, Zafar categorically denied the allegations of sexual harassment and filed a defamation case against Shafi for damages worth Rs1 billion.