A Lahore district and sessions court has acquitted actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed in a case relating to a video shoot of Bilal’s song Qabool at the Wazir Khan mosque.
Lahore Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Mushtaq accepted the pleas of Saba and Bilal and acquitted them in a mosque case.
In August 2020, a case was registered against the celebrities by the police on the complaint of lawyer Farhat Manzoor. Saba and Bilal were facing charges of violating the sanctity of Wazir Khan mosque by dancing inside the premises during the shooting.
The FIR was registered under Section 295 (deliberate and malicious acts intended to insult religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Both Bilal and Saba had posted apologies on social media following the controversy. Bilal had assured that he was removing the entire sequence shot at the mosque.
Singer Bilal Saeed makes an apology on his behalf and the whole team including Saba Qamar as well on the recent controversy of shooting a music video inside historic Wazir Khan Mosque.#BilalSaeed #SabaQamar #MasjidAreNotCinemas pic.twitter.com/EV3xRFQVRx
— Fatima Saeed (@FatimaSaeed_786) August 9, 2020
According to Saba, the clip was a “prologue to the music video featuring a Nikkah scene”.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam can lead to assassinations and lynchings.
A report titled ‘Human Rights Observer 2022’ prepared by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has revealed that every second accused of blasphemy happened to be a Muslim, adding that as many as 84 persons had been booked under blasphemy charges throughout Pakistan in 2021.
According to the report, 42 people accused of blasphemy were Muslims followed by 25 Ahmadis, seven Hindus and three Christians.
The study also included three cases of lynching, including the notorious lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyanka Kumara in Sialkot, reported in 2021.