NEW DELHI // Pakistani actress Veena Malik 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.
Ms Malik's spokesman, Sohail Rasheed, said yesterday that the actress was seeking 100 million rupees (Dh7.2 million) in damages from FHM India, whose editor insists the cover shoot was genuine and consensual.
"The picture has been morphed," Mr Rasheed said in Islamabad, adding that the magazine had targeted Ms 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.
The editor of FHM India, Kabeer Sharma, said at the weekend that he was mystified by Ms 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," Mr Sharma said.
While Malik's pose preserves a scant degree of modesty, any nudity is still very much frowned upon in India - and indeed in Pakistan.
What has raised more eyebrows was her arm sporting the initials ISI - the acronym for Inter Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency.
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.
Mr Sharma said the idea had been to take an ironic swipe at India's obsession with the ISI.
A tag line on the cover which 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."