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Veena Malik: I'm in shock!

By Subhash K Jha
Last updated on: November 27, 2014 18:14 IST
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Asad Bashir Khan, Veena Malik and their babyControversy’s favourite child Veena Malik and her husband Asad Bashir Khan have been sentenced to 26 years in prison by a Pakistani court for blasphemy.

Speaking from her home in Dubai, Veena calls the sentence shocking.

"I did not know this was coming," Veena says. "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 claims she took off to America to have her baby, as she had a complicated pregnancy.

"I had to have a C-section done," she says. "My husband and I went to America to have the baby and returned to Dubai with our bundle of joy, Abram. My baby is my world now.”

The former actress seems shocked that such a seemingly harsh sentence came at a time like this in her life.

"I have put my colourful past behind me," she says. "I have 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 have always been, is very disturbing."

Reliving the episode that has landed her in trouble, Veena says, “My husband and I had been invited on a show on GEO TV . We were just guests on the show where the religious qawwali was being played. Those same qawwalis had played on numerous other shows. We showed no disrespect to the  qawwali. 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."

Veena says she and her husband did not dance to the qawwali.

"The honourable court says there is a closeup of me during the 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, an FIR is filed. In my case, there are at least a 100 FIRs all over Pakistan. I know I have 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," she says.

The order against Veena and her husband has come from a special court in Pakistan, and Veena claims she will fight it out. "We are going to file an appeal in Pakistan’s High Court," she says.

"I have a little baby and he has to be breast-fed. For me, to hear such a harsh verdict against my husband and me, at a time when I just want live a quiet life and enjoy motherhood, is too hard to digest," she says.

"I have 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 have been contributing to charitable causes in Pakistan since I was 14. I have always been a good daughter to Pakistan. Now please let me be  a good mother to my son," she says.

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Subhash K Jha