Mumbai: Controversial Pakistani actress Veena Malik has denied blasphemy charges after being sentenced to 26 years in jail for participating in a TV show, which allegedly hurt the religious sentiments of people belonging to her community.
On November 25, an anti-terrorism court in Gilgit-Baltistan had sentenced Veena, her husband Asad Bashir Khan Khattak, Geo TV owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and TV host Shaista Lodhi over a controversial morning show, which was aired on May 14.
In the episode, Veena was seen dancing with her husband while a group of Sufi musicians sang a devotional song about the wedding of the Prophet's daughter.
Talking to BBC, Veena said the sentencing has come as a shock to her and her husband. “We strongly believe in our religion and respect it. It is beyond our wildest imagination to even think of disrespecting the institution.”
She added that she also believes that Islam is being used for personal gains.
She further said that she and her husband are innocent, adding they were sitting respectfully when the song was being played.
On being asked about why she left Pakistan, Veena said that she was pregnant and had to take care of her baby, and the “fabricated” news had upset people that eventually led to massive protests.