By Hindustan Times
Pakistani actor Veena Malik has filed a defamation suit against an Indian magazine for a "morphed" cover photo of her posing nude with the initials of Pakistan's intelligence agency on her arm.
Malik's spokesman, Sohail Rasheed, said on Monday that the actor was seeking 100 million rupees ($2 million) in damages from FHM India, whose editor insists the cover shoot was genuine and consensual.
"The picture has been morphed," Rasheed said in Islamabad, adding that the magazine had targeted Malik's "credibility and character."
The magazine's December issue has yet to hit news stands. But a preview of the cover on its website triggered a media frenzy.
FHM India editor Kabeer Sharma told AFP at the weekend that he was mystified by Malik's allegations. "Maybe she is facing some kind of backlash, so maybe that's why she is denying it. We have not photoshopped or faked the cover. This is what she looks like, she has an amazing body," Sharma said.
In his Twitter feed on Monday, Sharma said he would release a series of photos from the shoot proving his version of the story.
While Malik's pose on the cover preserves a scant degree of modesty, any nudity is still very much frowned upon in conservative India -- and indeed in Muslim-majority Pakistan.
What has raised more eyebrows was her arm sporting the initials ISI -- the acronym for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have gone to war three times and the ISI has been routinely accused by New Delhi of masterminding militant attacks on Indian soil.
Sharma said the idea had been to take an ironic swipe at India's obsession with the ISI.
A tag line on the cover that points to the initials, reads: "Hand in the end of the world too?"
"People, especially young people in both countries, want to move past this kind of thinking," the editor said.
"It's a very powerful picture -- it took a lot of guts for her to do that. It shows a powerful, sexy woman not afraid to speak her mind."
Malik is already well known in India for appearing on Bigg Boss, the country's version of the television reality show Big Brother.
She incurred the wrath of hardline Islamic clerics in Pakistan for her performance on the show, during which she indulged in several intimate scenes with Indian actor Ashmit Patel that included massaging his head and neck.