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Pakistani actress alleges Indian mag doctored nude photos

By Harmeet Shah Singh and Shaan Khan, CNN
updated 7:39 AM EST, Tue December 6, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The magazine, FHM India, denies Veena Malik's allegation
  • An attorney for Malik says nude photos in December issue were "doctored"
  • On cover, she holds what appears to be a grenade, has "ISI" written on her left arm
  • Malik's attorney says the actress is seeking $1.9 million in damages

New Delhi (CNN) -- The story has all the stuff that sells: a sexy starlet, a powerful enemy spy agency and lots of bare flesh.

Nude photographs of Pakistani actress Veena Malik, published in the December issue of the Indian edition of the men's magazine FHM prompted Malik to threaten a lawsuit.

Malik said FHM doctored photographs to show her without clothes. The magazine, however, denied those allegations. Malik, editor Kabeer Sharma said, posed nude.

What made the photos even more scandalous was that Malik's upper left arm bears the letters ISI, the acronym for Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

In a legal notice served to the magazine, Malik contends that it was Sharma's idea for her to wear the painted on ISI tattoo; she was told t would be good for her image.

And in another photo, which was originally slated for the cover, she is shown holding a grenade in her right hand.

FHM published the grenade photo inside, with a line plastered across it: "The cover we didn't use."

Sharma said the magazine opted not to use the photo on the cover because it "could have offended sensibilities."

But the magazine has already incensed Malik.

Lawyer Ayaz Bilawala told CNN that Malik is seeking $1.9 million in damages.

Bilawala said the publication "cheated" his client and doctored the nude pictures.

"Proceedings (in a court of law) will begin soon," he said.

FHM, Bilawala said, violated its agreement with the Pakistani model that stipulated that Malik would be shown the photos from the shoot before they were published.

"The pictures that are on display are tampered with, morphed and doctored," he said.

Bilawala didn't dispute the ISI print on Malik's left upper arm but said numerous organizations worldwide used the same acronym.

He refused comment on the grenade-like object.

FHM India hinted at countersuing the actress.

"These allegations are completely and entirely false. We are exploring various other options, including filing a countersuit," Sharma told CNN.

Malik said she never agreed to pose nude, the prospect of which sparked outrage in her homeland.

"What I am doing takes a lot of guts," she said. "If I had posed nude for the magazine, I would be the first to admit it. But I didn't agree to this and they are wrong.

"I did not go for this, and I am deeply shocked and depressed about what has happened," she said.

But Malik is no stranger to controversy.

She triggered uproar two years ago when she claimed that her former boyfriend, Pakistani cricketer Mohammed Asif, was involved in spot-fixing international matches. Asif was found guilty last month in an English court.

A year later, the actress came under fire from Pakistani clerics who decried her behavior in the Indian reality TV show "Big Boss," as "un-Islamic."

"I am not a perfect Muslim or a perfect person, but I haven't committed a crime, and unfortunately things like this are part and parcel of the industry I work in," Malik said.

Still, she downplayed her criticism back home.

"I am not bothered about what they think," she said. "My fans and many Pakistanis support me and believe (in) me."

Harmeet Shah Singh reported from New Delhi and Shaan Khan reported from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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