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Pakistan: Veena Malik's Latest Controversy Causes Social Media Uproar

Pakistani actress Veena Malik is the queen of controversy. Her fans and foes both in India and Pakistan have not forgotten her appearance on the reality show Big Boss and her bold and brave TV discussion with a right wing Pakistani anchor and an Islamic scholar.

This time Veena stirred up controversy when FHM India, a male lifestyle magazine, published her nude picture on its cover page. The December issue of FHM India title says, “Pakistani W.M.D Veena Malik on Asif, Burqas and Work Visas”. There is an arrow pointing towards the ISI tattoo on her arm “Hand in end of the world too”. ISI is Pakistan’s infamous secret service.

Veena’s shoot with an ISI Tattoo on her arm sparked strong reactions from right, left and center in Pakistan and India. As expected, Veena Malik immediately denied the nude shoot. Later, she sued FHM India for 100 million PK Rupees over “morphed” pictures.

Pakistani media has declared it an “edited” picture. Almost all the leading English newspapers published a censored version of the cover. Express Tribune calls the photo fake without any proof and a publicity stunt by Veena Malik.

Image taken by the author

Image taken by the author

Veena defended herself in GEO TV. She says, she did a shoot with FHM India but it was not nude and she did agree to the ISI tattoo.

The editor of FHM India, Kabeer Sharma says the shoot is authentic and he has proof. FHM India sued Veena back. He tweeted:

@ka_beer: We’ve seen Ms Malik’s notice floating on the internet and have forwarded to our legal department for appropriate action.

On the home front, Veena’s shoot got all the attention. ‘All about Pakistani’ blog contributor Zohaib Nisar calls Veena Malik a porn star and her photo shoot a disgraceful action:

The controversial and bold Pakistani actress cum model, Veena Malik, has done another SCANDULOUS & VERY OBJECTIONABLE photoshoot in India. The shoot is done for a men magazine FHM, in which Veena can be watched ALMOST NAKED, covering her sensitive parts only with her limbs. The even objectionable thing is that she has got an ISI Tattoo on her arms and on the magazine cover she is introduced as “Pakistani W.M.D”. (we suppose WMD here means Woman of Mass Destruction).

But many out there in the Pakistani blogosphere are defending Veena’s act which she denies. The Express Tribune’s Blogger Taha Kehar comes forward defending Veena:

Before we presume that Veena Malik is to blame, we must understand that she is associated with the glamour business. She has the right to work with any company to enhance her career prospects. It is absurd that people should disapprove of her strong preoccupation with Indian projects and opportunities. Clearly, a country which has a dreadful history of mistreating its artistes and poets do not have the right to criticize her decision.

Pakistanis in an internet cafe look at a website displaying Veena Malik's photo. Image by rajput yasir, copyright Demotix (04/12/11).

Pakistanis in an internet cafe look at a website displaying Veena Malik's photo. Image by rajput yasir, copyright Demotix (04/12/11).

Pakistani blogger Riaz Haq in his blog “Haq’s musings” looks at Veena’s photo shoot with a different angle. He calls it part of the protest culture and challenging the religious orthodoxy in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Remember that Veena also challenged a Mufti sahib (Islamic scholar) in a talk show early this year after participating in a reality show Big Boss in India.

Malik is part of a new emerging crop of Pakistanis which, in small but significant ways, has challenged the religious orthodoxy. She, and others like her, present a sharp contrast to the rising wave of Islamic radicalism that the U.S. and the Pakistani secular-liberal elite view as an existential threat to the country. And with many well-traveled Pakistanis importing ideas from abroad, they are contributing to Pakistan's 21st-century search for itself.

The Veena controversy came at a time when Pakistan is facing tense times after a NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. In retaliation, Pakistan boycotted the Bonn conference II. Pakistan-US relations are tense and Pakistan has sent a new ambassador to the US after Husain Haqqani was forced to resign over the “Memogate” scandal.

Writer, blogger and music lover, Shoaib Taimur tweeted :

@shobz: Thank you Veena Malik for the distraction and that also just when the weekend started. Bless u. #veenamalik

Foreign Policy blog wonders about the ISI tattoo:

Beyond the cover's authenticity, there's another lingering question. Why the tattoo of Pakistan's spy agency?…Malik doesn't appear to have much of a track record of criticizing the ISI, but she has challenged Pakistani power centers before, making headlines in January by publicly dressing down a Muslim cleric after he chastised her for cuddling with men and wearing inappropriate clothing on the Indian reality show Bigg Boss.

Some tweets expressing netizens’ take on this issue:

@stupefy: The Nude photo is fake. Veena Malik doesn't look like this without clothes.- Interior Minister Rehman Malik

@umairjav: (Umair Javed) Make copies of the picture and bury it in your backyard. This way, our grandkids will know there were some amongst us who lived free! #Veena

@Saad_Haroon: Her arm says ISI but that picture is just so RAW #Veena

MTV India joked on Twitter:

@ChachiChatters:#Veena Malik would make a terrible ISI agent considering how much she reveals.

@rizvico: #Veena & her green assets.By the way. I agree to her freedom of expression some people are not bold enough to digest it twitpic.com/7peytv

Veena’s father disowned her after the whole incident.

@ImPaSsIoNeD_Pk: Coward father, courageous daughter. What an irony-he has stripped her of his assets and she has stripped to show her assets!! #Veena Malik

Blogger Sami Shah sums up the whole episode in this way:

@samishah Okay, the Veena Malik photo is definitely real. Also photoshopped. Now if u will excuse me, i need to study it in greater detail.

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