Pak celebrities in hot water for filming song in mosque

Pakistani singer Bilal Saeed and actress Saba Qamar have found themselves in hot water after the music video of Bilals song “Qubool” attracted angry responses for being shot at the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore.

In the video, the two are seen moving in a “Nikkah” sequence in the mosque. The act has flared up many, who believe that filming a song in a mosque hurts the religious sentiments of Muslims at large.

Advocate Farhat Manzoor filed a complaint with the Akbari police station in Lahore, which later lodged an FIR against Bilal Saeed and Saba Qamar.

In the police report, it has been maintained that filming the music video at the mosque has hurt the religious feelings of the public, who demanded immediate and stern action against the mosque administration along with the singer and the actress.

Manzoor has also filed a petition in the Lahore Sessions Court on the same matter while the FIR has been registered under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which covers “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”.

Since the time the video was released, both Saeed and Qamar have been widely criticised and abused on social media.

Saeed released a video statement apologising to the public and urging all to consider the act as a mistake.

“We realise what has happened over the past few days has hurt your sentiments deeply. We are Muslims, and as decent human beings and as artistes, we will never, ever trivialise or condone disrespect to Islam or any other religion, race, caste, colour or creed. If we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiment, we apologise to you all with all our heart,” said Saeed.

“Saba Qamar and I had recently filmed a ‘nikkah’ sequence at the Wazir Khan Mosque which created a big misunderstanding and hurt the emotions of a lot of people. Many thought we were doing a dance sequence, which wasn’t true,” he added.

The issue has prompted protests by religious students’ organisations, who gathered in big numbers at the same mosque and demanded the authorities should take immediate action against what they called a deliberate attempt to ridicule Islam and its holy mosques.

“How dare this singer and actor try to film themselves dancing in a mosque where we Muslims pray? And how can the management of the mosque allow it to happen? We cannot tolerate this and demand that the management, along with the singer and actor, be held accountable and punished for what they have done,” said a protester from the Jamiat Talba Islam, a students’ wing of the religious and political party Jamat-e-Islami.

The ongoing debate and pouring criticism has become so hyped that Saeed had to justify himself being a Muslim.

“Alhamdullilah I am a Muslim and I was raised in a Muslim household. I cannot even think about doing something that would disrespect my religion. I solemnly affirm in the name of Allah that neither did we play any music in the mosque, nor did we dance and the witness to that is the management of the mosque,” he said.

On the other hand, celebrities have started to come out in support of Sabah Qamar, urging all celebrities to come out in support of her with regard to the incident.

Sakina Samo, a veteran theatre actress, has expressed her complete support to Sabah Qamar, terming the whole issue as utterly wrong.

“In solidarity with Saba, with great sadness I say that this is utterly wrong. She’s a fine artiste and a kind person. She doesn’t do anything bad to anybody. She’s happy in her world. I think it’s totally unfair to her and an insult to her talent,” Samo said in an Instragram post.

“Things are greatly exaggerated. I believe her good intentions therefore I support her. Actor community should stand by her. If we don’t today, then tomorrow it can be anybody’s turn. So beware my fellow actors,” she added.

On the legal front, Lahore’s Sessions Court has granted interim bail to Qamar and Saeed in the case of the controversial video.

As per the court order, a pre-arrest bail in the case has been granted to both till August 25 against Rs 50,000 surety bonds.

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