Blasphemy: 26 years in jail for actress
Bollywood star Veena Malik has reportedly expressed her anger and disbelief after she was handed a 26-year jail term by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for ‘malicious acts’ of blasphemy.
Her crime? Appearing in a pretend wedding scene, staged on a daytime show broadcast by Geo TV and based on the marriage of the “Prophet” Mohammed’s daughter.
Malik’s husband, Asad Bashir Khan, and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the chief executive of the biggest media group in the Asian country, were also sentenced to 26 years in the slammer for the apparent religious offence. The host of the show Shaista Wahidi was also punished.
Twenty-six years! Come on. 26 years is a lifetime … But I have faith in higher courts in Pakistan. When the final verdict comes, it will do justice to me. Nothing bad is going to happen.
A court order, issued by the judge, reads:
The malicious acts of the proclaimed offenders ignited the sentiments of all the Muslims of the country and hurt the feelings, which cannot be taken lightly and there is need to strictly curb such tendency.
But it’s unlikely that Malik may end up in jail.
The court order will be enforced in the city of Gilgit, control of which is shared between Pakistan and also sits in the India-claimed Kashmir region. As such, it is not considered a proper province by Pakistan, meaning that any verdicts delivered by its courts do not apply to the rest of the country.
Malik, currently in Dubai, said:
I have always been a person who faced troubles by looking it in the eye.
She intends returning to Pakistan in the next two weeks to challenge the court order.
I have faced highs and lows in my life. But I am sure I haven’t done anything wrong.
As well as a hefty jail term, the “miscreants” were also ordered to pay a fine of 3 million rupees (£8,000), surrender their passports and even sell up their properties.
The court case marks the latest in a string of controversies for the Bollywood actress.
She sparked outrage in 2011 after posing for a series of risqué pictures for FHM magazine in India.
The one used above to illustrate this report appeared in the men’s magazine. She also featured on the cover of the mag with her arms and legs positioned to cover her private parts.
The letters ISI on her arm refers to the Pakistani spy service the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.