Concerns Rise For Saba Qamar’s Safety As Khadim Rizvi Seeks ‘Punishment’ Over Mosque Video
Social media activists and commentators have expressed concerns after radical cleric and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Rizvi threatened actor Saba Qamar over a video shoot at the Wazir Khan Mosque, wherein she could be seen doing a twirl.
The social media users demanded the government provided security to Saba Qamar in the wake of these threats, considering that the statements made by Rizvi in the past have led to violent outcomes.
Ammar Rashid, who is a leftist activist, said the TLP has found ‘easy victim’ in Qamar.
TLP has found another blasphemy case to latch on to with #SabaQamar‘s Wazir Khan twirl. Khadim Rizvi has smelt blood & an easy victim in an outspoken actress and he’s going to milk this. This is going to get ugly.
— Ammar Rashid ☭? #RedistributionNow (@AmmarRashidT) August 15, 2020
Another questioned the blatant use of the blasphemy laws.
This state’s blasphemy law is getting out of hand. Arguably Pakistan’s biggest movie star, @s_qamarzaman has now been charged with the pathetic blasphemy law.
This fire will soon engulf all of you. Saba Qamar please leave this hell hole and come to a civilised country.
— Harris Sultan (@TheHarrisSultan) August 16, 2020
LUMS professor Taimur Rahman said he feared for her security.
— Taimur Rahman (@Taimur_Laal) August 15, 2020
Another user expressed fear about her safety.
Every time I see something like this, I feel a sense of dread. Like I know what’s about to happen.
The fact that one of pakistan’s biggest film stars is being targeted by the TLP for ‘blasphemy’ goes to show no one is safe. Saba Qamar will be forced to leave or risk death
— AA (@nuggets739) August 16, 2020
A Twitterati said Qamar needed to leave Pakistan for safety.
Saba Qamar needs to leave Pakistan. Run. She is being accused of blasphemy for a photoshoit in a mosque. It makes no sense at all and there is no winning here. Just run https://t.co/ceYnRx94BR
— Khadija Baloch (@khadijaali354) August 16, 2020
Whereas, one user termed Rizvi’s threat a ‘vendetta’ against all educated women.
Insecure TLP trying to make an example out of #SabaQamar to put women in their place. Blasphemy law strikes again. Its a scary time to be a woman in this country. A vendetta and message against and for all educated women vocal about injustice and oppression in the country.
— Mariam Qasmi (@MariamQasmi) August 16, 2020
Saba Qamar and fellow actor Bilal Saeed were booked for blasphemy by the Lahore police over the video shoot that had ‘hurt the religious sentiments of the public’.
The FIR had appealed for stern action against the mosque administration and production house responsible for the video. Qamar and Saeed came under harsh criticism after video went viral. However, both have since apologised to the public in video messages.
In 2018, The infamous TLP rose to fame after its chief Khadim Rizvi held a week-long sit-in in Faizabad against a ‘clerical change’ in oath-taking forms in the Election Act. The ‘mistake’ however was hurriedly reverted.
Since its inception, TLP has been responsible for inciting multiple violent attacks against individuals over the allegations of blasphemy. Its campaign against the PML-N had led to online harassment of the party leaders in addition to violent attacks on their houses.
In 2018, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal escape an assassination bid. The assailant was reportedly affiliated to the TLP and wanted to kill the then interior minister for his government’s role in ‘amending’ the oath-taking forms. PML-N’s then law minister Zahid Hamid also had to resign as the government tried to placate the TLP protesters.