Bilal Saeed and Saba Qamar have apologised to fans in the wake of sharp criticism after a clip from their upcoming music video collaboration went viral for all the wrong reasons over the weekend.
Bilal took to Instagram to clear the air on behalf of the entire team who worked on the music video for his new track 'Qubool', which Saba directed as well as starred in. The video, partially shot in Lahore's historic Wazir Khan Mosque, was labelled as "disrespectful" and many on social media claimed it was in violation of the sanctity of the house of worship.
"We realise what has happened over the past few days has hurt your sentiments deeply," said Bilal, "We as Muslims, as decent human beings and as artists will never, ever trivialise or condone disrespect to Islam or any other religion, race, caste, colour or creed."
"If we have unknowingly hurt anyone’s sentiments we apologise to you all with all our heart."
"Saba Qamar and I recently shot a Nikah sequence at Wazir Khan mosque which created a huge misunderstanding. A lot of people were hurt, and the impression sent was that we were dancing at the mosque, or playing music there," he added.
"I would never in my wildest thought imagine doing something as offensive as this. Keeping Allah as my witness, I swear that neither did we dance, nor play music at the mosque. The mosque administration there can also confirm this."
"As a Muslim, if I was in your place, maybe I would also think the same. So we also apologise to you, and hope that you can let this go. As a realisation on our part, I am also removing the entire sequence from the video, and assure you that we won't make such mistakes in the near future," he reiterated.
"I had never imagined my name would be associated with something like this. As a Muslim, I am extremely regretful of this and apologise on behalf of all of us, including Saba and our entire team."
Earlier, Saba and Bilal had insisted that “this is also the only sequence that was shot at the historical Wazir Khan Mosque and that no music was played inside the mosque.
"The BTS video that's making rounds on social media was just a circular movement to click stills for the poster of ‘Qubool’ depicting a happily married couple right after their Nikah." wrote Saba. "It’s a prologue to the music video featuring a Nikah scene. It was neither shot with any sort of playback music nor has it been edited to the music track."
"Hurting or offending anyone or being disrespectful to a holy place is as unimaginable and unacceptable for me as for any decent human being."
Following the storm of social media criticism, Punjab government spokesperson Azhar Mashwani announced that the Auqaf department has ordered an inquiry into the incident, saying "strict action" will be taken against those involved, including mosque administration.
On Sunday, the Auqaf department also suspended the Wazir Khan Mosque's manager after Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the incident and sought an report from the department.