Pakistan: Celebrities apologise for controversial music video

Islamabad: Pakistani celebrities continue to face a backlash over a controversial music video which was shot inside the historic Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore with the latest coming under fire being actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed.

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The first information report (FIR) was registered at Lahore’s Akbari Gate police station on the complaint of lawyer Farhat Manzoor under the Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 295-A which says that whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class insults the religion or religious beliefs shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years or with a fine, or both.

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Social media storm

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As soon as the brief clip from the music video “Qubool” went viral, it sparked a barrage of fierce criticism on social media over the fact that bits of the video had been shot at the historic mosque, which was described as “offensive” and “disrespectful” by many citizens.

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The mosque manager was suspended after Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the video and sought a report from the concerned department. CM Buzdar pledged that he would not let the sanctity of the mosque be violated under any circumstances and ordered detailed investigation and action against those responsible for the incident. “The mosque is the holiest place and no one can be allowed to tread on its sanctity. Whosoever is found responsible will not be pardoned,” reads the official statement from chief minister.

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Apology from celebrities

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Following the fierce criticism from the enraged fans, both the celebrities shared clarification and also apologized to followers for unintentionally hurting their feelings.

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Saeed took to Instagram to clarify the misunderstanding on behalf of the entire team. “We realize what has happened over the past few days has hurt your sentiments deeply. We as Muslims, as decent human beings and as artists will never, ever trivialize or condone disrespect to Islam or any other religion, race, caste, colour or creed. If we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiments we apologise to you all with all our heart.”

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The video shot in the chambers of the mosque depicted a Nikah (wedding) sequence that created an “impression that we were dancing or playing music at the mosque” he said. “I would never in my wildest thought imagine doing something as offensive as this. Keeping Allah as my witness, I swear that neither did we dance nor play music at the mosque. The mosque administration can also confirm this.”

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Realizing the unintentional harm or insult caused during the shoot, the team has decided to remove the entire mosque sequence from the video, he explained.

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Qamar, who made her directorial debut with the video, too, also shared an explanation on Twitter. She that the scene shot was “a prologue to the music video featuring a Nikah scene. It was neither shot with any sort of playback music nor has it been edited to the music track” and added that “if we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiments we apologise to you all with all our heart.”

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