LAHORE: A video of song and dances of actress Saba Qamar and singer Bilal Saeed in the historic mosque ‘Masjid Wazir Khan’ in the provincial capital under the administration of the Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs department went viral on social media, which has drawn strong reactions from social and religious circles, Pakistan Today has learnt.
An official of the department, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a production house had been given permission for the shooting in the mosque by the Assistant Director Tableegh e Tarbiyyat but the higher ups of the department were kept unaware of the shooting of the dance. However, the assistant director claimed that he had given permission for the Nikkah scene.
The official added that when the dance shooting started, the mosque administration should have stopped it as such activities are not allowed in mosques.
He said that the shooting took place in the main chambers of Wazir Khan Mosque and complaints of dancing and singing in the mosques under Auqaf department have been received in the past as well.
The official believed that if the video had not been uploaded on Tik Tok by Saba Qamar, perhaps no one would have known about the incident. However, a departmental inquiry has been initiated by the Director General Religious Affairs and Secretary of the department against the production house and those responsible.
The official added that in the past, a ban was imposed in Badshahi Mosque because the department received complaints of dance and inappropriate photography there, but now the ban has been relaxed again.
According to the official, due to the historical status and beauty of Wazir Khan Mosque, many people used to come here for Nikkah ceremonies but the mosque administration was also strictly instructed by the department not to allow inappropriate photography within the premises of the mosque.
He informed that there was a proper procedure to grant permission before even the routine photography of the mosque and no doubt the said shooting took place with the consent of the mosque administration.
However, social media users also reacted strongly to the video going viral and demanded action against the concerned officials and said that immediate action should be taken against those who violated the sanctity of religious places of worship.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Secretary Auqaf Dr. Irshad Ahmed said that a departmental inquiry has been initiated against the incident and strict action would be taken against those responsible.
Provincial Minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs Syed Saeed Al Hassan Shah told Pakistan Today that they had taken notice of the video. “The department has ordered the suspension of the responsible officials. The report will be submitted in 3 days after the inquiry. Such irresponsible incidents will not be tolerated at all. The sanctity of mosques, holy places of worship will be maintained.”