Veena Malik, a Pakistani model, is suing FHM India, a men’s publication, for $2 million in damages over the controversial cover that features her posing nude.
The actress is outraged over the racy photograph, which she claims was doctored to represent her standing naked, covered only by her arms. Her nudity has become an infamous sensation in Pakistan overnight. Women are hardly ever shown in such a manner in the primarily Muslim country.
Malik’s attorney, Ayaz Bilawala, told the Associated Press: "[Malik] has been cheated, and there has been tampering, and the photographs have been morphed… She has not posed in the manner in which she has been shown."
Malik and her legal team admit to there being a shoot, albeit a “bold but not nude shot.” She says the FHM editor assured her the pictures would be done tastefully, with most of her body being covered by other graphics.
Despite Malik’s claims of innocence, the public is in an uproar over the magazine cover, whether “morphed” or not.
“[Malik] has earned a bad name for the entire Pakistan nation,” said Zubair Khan, a 40-year-old storeowner, highlighting the nationalistic perspective of the country’s constituents.
Due to India’s flourishing entertainment industry, Veena Malik works mostly there, as opposed to Pakistan, where the industry is all but defunct. Her choice to work there has been the subject of heated debate and this most recent incident only fan the flames.
One instance of this was conservative cleric Maulana Abdul Qawi, who called the magazine cover “a shame for all Muslims” on television Saturday.
Despite Mailk’s claims that FHM India attacked her “credibility and character” by modifying the pictures, the magazine maintains that they have done nothing of the sort.
FHM India editor Kabeer Sharma commented on Malik’s actions, suggesting that the “backlash” surrounding the cover could be behind the lawsuit.
“We have not photo shopped or faked the cover. This is what she looks like, she has an amazing body,” said Sharma, according to the Associated Press.
He also claims to have video depicting all that happened during the shoot, including Malik’s stark nudity. To that end, Sharma said he is considering various responses to the alleged tampering of pictures, including countersuing Malik.
According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the government could also become involved with the situation and take legal action against Veena Malik or even FHM India, depending on the authenticity of the photographs.
“First, let us see whether it is real or fake,” said the prime minister.