Lahore court cancels arrest warrants for Bilal Saeed, Saba Qamar in video shoot case

Published September 10, 2021
Screengrab of actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed from their music video for "Qubool hai". — DawnNewsTV screengrab/File
Screengrab of actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed from their music video for "Qubool hai". — DawnNewsTV screengrab/File

A district court in Lahore on Friday cancelled arrest warrants for actor Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed in a case pertaining to the alleged desecration of Wazir Khan mosque.

Judicial Magistrate Jowaria Munir Bhatti had issued the warrants on Wednesday, while setting the bail at Rs30,000 each when the two did not appear for a court hearing.

The two submitted an application via their law firm, contending that they were innocent and law-abiding citizens.

Saeed said he had not received a court summon to date, while Qamar said that she had received a court summons at 10pm on September 7 for the next day.

"Both accused persons appeared before the court and requested to withdraw bailable warrants of arrest issued by this court [...] In the interest of justice, same is hereby accepted," the court order said, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

The duo was also ordered to appear at the next hearing scheduled for October 6 and submit personal surety bonds worth Rs30,000 each.

The two became the centre of criticism last year in August after it emerged that they had shot footage inside the historic mosque while working on the video of a song.

A sessions court had directed the Akbari Gate police station house officer to proceed in accordance with the law on an application seeking registration of a case against the two and others for shooting the video.

Subsequently, Akbari Gate police had registered a first information report (FIR) against the duo under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The section deals with the offence of injuring or defiling a place of worship, with the intent to insult the religion of any class.

The two were granted interim pre-arrest bail on August 15, 2020, until Aug 25, with a further extension given in September 2020.

According to their counsel, the FIR was baseless and contrary to the facts. He stated that no dance or music was performed in the mosque as alleged in the FIR and the two were innocent and falsely implicated in the case for ulterior motives.

Qamar and Saeed had also apologised for the incident and issued explanations that shed further light on the video shoot's context.

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