Historic mosque’s manager suspended for music video shoot in Lahore

Updated 10 Aug 2020

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According to Saba Qamar, a nikkah scene was shot inside Lahore's Wazir Khan mosque. — Farooq Soomro/File
According to Saba Qamar, a nikkah scene was shot inside Lahore's Wazir Khan mosque. — Farooq Soomro/File

LAHORE: The Punjab Auqaf department on Sunday suspended the manager of historic Masjid Wazir Khan after Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of a music video shot on the mosque premises and sought a report from the minister concerned and the department’s secretary.

“The mosque is the holiest place and no one can be allowed to trample upon its sanctity. Whosoever is found responsible will not be spared,” an official handout quoted the chief minister as saying.

Pledging that he would not let the sanctity of the mosque be violated under any circumstances, Chief Minister Buzdar ordered that a comprehensive investigation be undertaken and those responsible for the incident identified.

Actress Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed are facing a storm of criticism after it emerged that they had shot a video inside the historic mosque. Qamar’s name became a top hashtag trend on Twitter after the video went viral a few days ago.

As the Punjab government came under pressure to take action from its political ally the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and clerics, who gathered here in Lahore, Qamar took to Twitter and rejected the criticism.

“Only one sequence was shot in the mosque which was a prologue to the music video featuring a Nikah scene. It was neither shot with any sort of playback music nor has it been edited to the music track,” she tweeted.

Qamar and Saeed are working on the video of a new song, “Qubool hai”. The actress is making her directorial debut with the song.

In another tweet, she said: “The BTS video that’s been circulated on social media was just a circular movement to click stills for the poster of ‘Qubool’, depicting a happily married couple right after their Nikah.”

According to a news report, the shooting took place in the main chambers of the mosque. An Auqaf official said that due to the history of the mosque, people do go there for Nikah ceremonies. “That is why permission was granted for a Nikah shoot,” he said.

Sources said the name of the mosque’s manager, who was suspended over the incident, was Ishtiaq Ahmed.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2020