Pakistan’s most popular television station been accused of the crime of blasphemy in Pakistan.
Ever since Geo News was accused of airing blasphemous material on one of its morning shows last week the channel has taken extraordinary security precautions, including removing its corporate branding from the side of its broadcast trucks.
Embroiled in this controversy is none other than Pakistani actor Veena Malik.
A criminal case was registered against Veena, her Dubai-based husband Asad Bashir Khan, and the organisers of a Pakistani television channel (Geo TV) over a programme that allegedly contained blasphemous content.
The couple was a guest on the show where a religious song played in the background during a mock marriage ceremony.
The couple also danced to the song. Veena says she’s shocked by the accusations.
"We were probably among 100 guests who have already participated in the show. The qawwali that was played is normally played at weddings. It’s shocking that people are dragging me and Asad into this. You can’t keep on blaming somebody just for the heck of it. Guests don’t control the content of the show. It is done by the host and the channel," she says, adding, "The channel also broadcast an apology after this controversy."
The actor, who has also appeared in Indian reality TV show Bigg Boss ¬(season 4), says she hopes that the people of Pakistan will support her.
"I have started a new life, I don’t intend to hurt anyone," she says.
For weeks Geo, which is part of a conglomerate that also owns leading newspapers, has been at the centre of a media and political storm, with the country's the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate – and opposition politician Imran Khan calling for it to be shut down.
The ISI was furious after Geo carried accusations that the agency was behind the attempted killing of the channel's star anchor/journalist Hamid Mir last month.
But the situation became more serious on Friday when people across Pakistan condemned GEO for broadcasting a staged "wedding" of two celebrities on its morning show.
The problem was not the involvement of Veena Malik – an actor who once scandalised the country by appearing nude on the cover Indian FHM magazine with "ISI" written on her arm.
Instead offence was taken at the performance of a religious song.
Geo responded with full-page apologies in its newspapers and the suspension of all the staff involved in the programme.
But that has failed to stop angry demonstrations around the country, including a lawyers' strike called by bar associations.
A legal petition against the channel has been accepted by the Islamabad high court.