Pakistani government officials are outraged over a photo of A Pakistani actress which has appeared on the cover of an Indian men’s magazine.
Not only is Veena Malik naked on the cover of the latest (December) issue of FHM India, but she is also wearing the initials ‘ISI’ -- referring to Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency -- on her shoulder.
The actress’ nudity as well as the initials are both extremely offensive to Pakistanis.
Now there are questions about the authenticity of the image as well as the initials.
According to Pakistani media sources, Malik claims she never took part in such a photo-shoot and that it must have somehow been photo-shopped.
Sohail Rashid, a representative of Malik, told the The Express Tribune newspaper of Pakistan: Veena knows her limits. I know we have done quite bold stuff/shoots, those which are available on our website, but she knows her parameters. Yes, we need to be bold for international magazines, but she won’t cross her limits.”
According to a report in Times of India, Malik was quoted as saying: “I have never posed nude. I have never done anything like that ever. My manager and legal team is looking into the matter. We will take legal action against them. The picture has been morphed. It’s not me. Definitely not.”
However, the editor of FHM India declared that nothing was doctored and that the young Pakistani actress did indeed pose au naturel while sporting the ISI logo.
We have video footage of the shoot as well as emails from Veena about how she's looking forward to the cover, Kabeer Sharma told BBC.
The idea to have ISI written on her arm was mine, and it was Veena's idea to have it in block letters.”
Sharma explained that the ISI was inserted as a humorous touch.
In India we joke about this... if anything goes wrong... we say the ISI must be behind this, he told BBC.
Sharma also insisted he never heard of Rashid and that Malik never approached him about changing the photo.
ISI is a particularly sensitive matter in Pakistan. Ever since the discovery and assassination of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a compound near Islamabad last May, suspicions have been growing over the alleged close ties between Pakistan’s intelligence agency and the Islamic militants they are supposed to be fighting.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the former top military officer in the United States, has openly accused ISI of working hand in hand with the Haqqani militant group that patrol Pakistan’s wild tribal border with Afghanistan and frequently target western and NATO troops.
The accusation has prompted waves of outrage across Pakistan, as relations between Islamabad and Washington have deteriorated to all-time lows.