Controversy's favourite child and now mother of a beautiful baby, Veena Malik and her husband Asad Bashir Khan have been sentenced to 26 years in prison by Pakistani court for alleged profanity.
Numbed with disbelief Veena, speaking from her home in Dubai, calls the sentence shocking. "I didn't know this was coming. I knew there was a blasphemy case for some time now. But my husband and I had done no wrong. So I was never troubled by the charges."
Veena took off to America to have her baby. "It was complicated pregnancy. I had to have a 'c' section done. My husband and I went to America to have the baby and came back to Dubai with our bundle of joy Abram. My baby is my world now."
She is all the more shocked that such a seemingly brutal sentence could come at this time in her life. "I've put my colourful past behind me. I've found my happiness in life. My husband and my child are my world. To now be so rudely reminded of how vulnerable to attack I've always been, is very disturbing. It's an attack on my new life as a wife and mother."
Reliving the episode that has landed her in this serious trouble, Veena says, "My husband and I had been invited on a show on GEO TV. Mind you, we were just guests on the show where the religious qawwalli was being played. That same Qawwalli is played on numerous other shows. We showed no disrespect to the Qawwalli. I may have across as a liberated uninhibited person in my past conduct. But that doesn't mean I don't know how to respect my religion. Nowhere in my conduct will you find any disrespect to my religion."
Veena Malik says she and her husband did not dance to the Holy Qawwali. "The honourable court says there is a close up of me during the holy Qawwalli. Shooting close-ups of artistes during television shows is the cameraman's concern. How am I or my husband to blame for this?"
She is taken aback by the vehemence of the attack. "Normally there's 1 FIR filed. In my case there are at least a 100 FIRs all over Pakistan. I know I've admirers and well-wishers all over the world. So this kind of attention at home is nothing new to me. Lekin yeh kuch zyada ho gaya (this is too much)."
Veena sees the harsh punishment as a reaction to the backlash against GEO television. "There has been a lot of campaign to bring them down. My husband and I are caught in the crossfire of a media war. To accuse us of profanity is unjust. We know how to respect our religion."
The order against Veena and her husband has come from a special court in Pakistan. Veena will proceed to Pakistan to fight it out. "We are going to file an appeal in Pakistan's High Court."
There is outrage on the internet against the harsh sentencing.
Says Veena, "I've a little baby and he has to be breast-fed. For me to hear such a harsh verdict against me and my husband at a time when I just want live a quiet life and enjoy motherhood is too hard to digest."
Veena will proceed to Pakistan to fight the sentence. "I've always taken on every challenge. I am a fighter. I never run away from trouble. I am going to Pakistan in December to fight this crisis. I've been contributing to charitable causes in Pakistan since I was 14. I've always been a good daughter to Pakistan. Now please let me be a good mother to my son."
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