Islamabad, Jun 24: A high-profile Pakistani cleric who posed for selfies with a controversial model famed for her suggestive photos has been suspended from a senior government committee, the country's religious affairs ministry said, rebuking him for his behaviour.
Mufti Abdul Qavi was removed yesterday from the country's moon-sighting committee which decides when the ongoing holy month of Ramadan begins and ends, according to a notification issued by the ministry and seen by AFP.
The suspension comes after he was widely ridiculed when social media starlet Qandeel Baloch -- a deeply polarising figure in the conservative Muslim country -- uploaded the pictures earlier this week along with a video of herself with the preacher, wearing his hat and pouting.
Baloch, a Kim Kardashian type figure who frequently posts semi-nude selfies, later called Qavi "a blot on the name of Islam" and accused him of inappropriate behaviour.
Qavi was also suspended as a member of the Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf opposition party, led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, a former socialite who became more religious after his retirement as a sportsman. "Mufti Qavi's fate will be decided after the opinion of the (National religious scholars) Council regarding his selfies and behaviour," a spokesman for the ministry told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper Wednesday.
Social media users expressed their amusement over the affair. "Qandeel Baloch for President," said Urooj Zia on Facebook. In the video which was uploaded on Baloch's Facebook account, Qavi is seen saying he will guide the starlet on religious matters and she had agreed to become his student.
He has also said the meeting took place at her request and told AFP today that she had apologised for the inconvenience caused by the episode. But Baloch said the cleric had sought her number after the two had appeared on a TV panel together and that he had behaved inappropriately toward her.