The Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department has banned the shooting of films and dramas in mosques and shrines following the recent controversy at Wazir Khan mosque.
A notification dated August 13, 2020, states that if any scene is filmed in a mosque or a shrine, the relevant manager and zonal administrator would be responsible. The permission to film a documentary in these spaces will be subject to consultation with the department of religious affairs, it adds.
The notification comes shortly after backlash from conservative corners over the shoot of a music video featuring Bilal Saeed and Saba Qamar at Wazir Khan mosque in Lahore. Allegations of blasphemy were made and cases against the two artists were also registered over the scene picturised at the popular mosque.
The auqaf department’s notification goes on to specify that no cinematography featuring a woman in a shrine or mosque will be permitted.Roughly 544 shrines and 437 mosques fall under the management of the auqaf department, which has listed in its notification issued last week the rules and regulations that are to be applicable henceforth.
The mosque also features on UNESCO tentative heritage sites list after being submitted for consideration by Pakistan in 1993.
An FIR was registered at the Akbari Police Station in Lahore on the complaint of advocate Farhat Manzoor. The complainant maintained that the act of filming a music video at the mosque hurt the religious sentiments of the public. He also sought action against the mosque administration. Prior to the FIR, Manzoor filed a petition to lodge a case against the artists in this regard.