Thursday Apr 05, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday slammed the five-year jail term given to Bollywood actor Salman Khan as ‘discriminatory’.
"Salman Khan has been sentenced because he's a minority," the foreign minister said while speaking to Hamid Mir, anchor of Geo News programme Capital Talk.
To sentence him in a case that is twenty years old goes on to show that lives of those who are Muslims, 'untouchables' or Christians are not valued in India, he added.
Asif added, "May be if he belonged to the religion of the ruling party of India he would not have been given such a harsh sentence and the court might have been lenient with him."
Earlier today, the Bollywood superstar was sentenced to five years prison by a court in Jodhpur for killing endangered wildlife nearly two decades ago while working on the film Hum Saath Saath Hain.
Salman, one of India's most recognisable and bankable actors, was taken into police custody and driven to jail after the sentencing amid chaotic scenes outside court.
But the actor, who denied poaching the rare black bucks in 1998, can still appeal his conviction.
"The court has given a five-year jail term and fined Salman Khan INR10,000 rupees," prosecution lawyer Mahipal Bishnoi told reporters outside the court.
Four other Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari who were also accused of joining the hunting trip but were acquitted for lack of evidence.
According to AFP, Salman, whose legion of fans emulate his distinct hairstyle and fashion, has accused Rajasthan´s forest department of framing him over the black buck case. His defence lawyers had suggested the black bucks died of natural causes such as overeating, and claimed there was no evidence they had been shot.
The black buck is an endangered species and is protected under the Indian Wildlife Act.