Censor board barred from certifying Indian films
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday restrained the central censor board from issuing exhibition certificates to Indian films and sought reply from the secretary interior, secretary commerce, board of revenue and other respondents within a week.
Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan passed the interim order on a petition filed by film directors, producers, distributors and exhibitors.
The petitioner’s counsel Amir Ali Shah argued that some film importers were importing banned Indian movies through forged documents in connivance with officials of the censor board in violation of the Import Policy 2013. He said exhibition of Indian films was banned by the government in 1965 and every importer of foreign films had to submit affidavit for the certification of films.
He said the ministry of culture, in violation of the import policy, issued a notification on June 5, 2006 and allowed import of Indian movies in the country through forged and fake certificates of origin. Later, the ministry also relaxed the condition of “certificate of origin” paving path for import of all Indian films, the counsel pointed.
Mr Shah pleaded that the Indian films were also promoting terrorism and lawlessness in Pakistan, adding that the ban on the exhibition of Indian films was strictly in line of national interest and ideology of Pakistan.
Advocate Shah said the act of the respondents amounted to national crime and alleged that the officials of the ministry of culture and censor board were involved in the crime as the censor certificates were being issued to importers on fake documents.
The counsel prayed to the court to permanently restrain the authorities from releasing and issuing certificates to Indian films and interior ministry be ordered to take action against all those involved in banned Indian films’ smuggling.
After hearing the arguments, Justice Khan stayed the issuance of certificates to Indian films and directed all the respondents to submit their reports by the next date of hearing.
Film Exhibitors Association’s chairman Zoraiz Lashari, however, said that no banned Indian films were being imported or exhibited in Pakistan. He said a specific lobby was approaching courts with malafide intention and obtaining stay by concealing facts and misleading the courts.