Lal Masjid demands ban on Naseeruddin Shah starrer


Islamabad : "Khuda Kay Liye", a film that depicts the struggle between fundamentalist and liberal Muslims and stars India's Naseeruddin Shah and Pakistani actor Shan, has attracted the ire of the radical Lal Masjid here.

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Demanding a ban on the film, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, deputy chief cleric of the mosque that has been at loggerheads with the government on several issues, has warned of serious consequences if a private TV channel is allowed to telecast the film.

He would not object, however, if a board that would include ulema – the Muslim priests – cleared the film, the cleric was quoted as saying in the Daily Times Tuesday.

Ghazi declared the film "blasphemous", meaning that it was derogatory to Islam and a punishable offence under Pakistani law.

"The film is against Islamic norms and traditions and is being released on a private TV channel without prior approval from a censor board. We won't allow this," said Ghazi.

"The government will be held responsible if the film is released without being censored," he said. The film – produced by Shoaib Mansoor – is scheduled to be released here on July 7.

Ghazi and his brother, Maulana Abdul Aziz, have been daring authorities for the last six months after capturing a part of a girl's seminary. The government says the students – both boys and girls – are trained and armed.

President Pervez Musharraf last week said the militants ensconced inside have connections with the Al Qaida and belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), engaged in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir since the 1990s.

Lal Masjid was in the news for abducting Chinese workers, including women, at a massage parlour that it said was doubling up as a brothel.

Earlier, its fatwa forced out the country's Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar who was supposed to have hugged her coach, a Frenchman, after completing a para-jump in France to gather funds for charity.