Currently, Veena Malik is one of the most talked about people in Pakistan. The star was ‘missing’ for two days but returned on Sunday morning, stating that she had been “resting”.
Rumours that Malik staged her own disappearance for publicity were afloat in Pakistan, while the Indian media was reporting that the actor had fled the country in a burkha after over-staying her visa. But Malik is very much in India and says that she checked into a hotel in Mumbai “to crash”. “I had free time at my disposal and since I had been working for the past 48 hours, I checked in a hotel and went to sleep.”
“When I woke up, I saw that there were numerous calls and text messages on my cell phone,” she adds.
PR Manager Sohail Rashid earlier claimed that the last text he received from her was on December 16 at 4:24 am. To which Malik answers, “I don’t tell people around me what I am going to do in my down time. However, I think I called my mother after checking in the hotel and told her that I was very tired.”
While talking about her visa extension issue, which has gained immense media publicity over the last few days, the star says, “This visa issue hype that has been created is wrong. If I am in a neighbouring country, I am there legally. I believe I am old enough to take care of myself and before assuming that I was kidnapped or murdered, the media should have thought about that.”
Meanwhile, Veena had reportedly received death threats because of her controversial shoot in FHM India magazine but the actor states, “Firstly, I am not receiving any death threats. I am safe and my family is safe. As far as the shoot is concerned; don’t American girls wear bikinis and have CIA painted on their bodies? This is exactly what happened here. It was Kabeer Sharma’s idea and we did it for fun. People should not take this seriously.”
According to the star, “The controversy was fuelled by western media which misreported my daring act as, ‘Muslim girl posed nude’. I did not pose nude, I did a bold shoot. I am living on my own terms, I have the courage to do whatever I feel like doing and people should either support it or remain quiet. BBC reported that I said ‘Pakistan is a stone-age country’, which is a misinterpretation of my words again. What I actually meant was, ‘the entire world is still stuck in stone-age and not just Pakistan.’ I meant that modernisation has to do with your mindset and not just technological advancements.”
The actor continues to say that the pictures of her in the magazine were morphed, and when asked if she will go to the court, Veena is adamant, “Yes, I won’t back out now. I got played.”
The highly publicised star believes that her fans in Pakistan will accept her once the controversy settles down. “Many corrupt politicians have been allowed to live in my country, then why can’t I?”
Malik states, “Our entertainment industry should ask the world, ‘Why can’t a Pakistani woman dress up the way she wants to?’ There are so many Indian Muslim models who wear bikinis but Pakistani girls can’t — this is because Pakistani girls have never asserted their right. I am the one who took up this initiative.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2011.