=> ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: The Senate standing committee o
ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: The Senate standing committee on culture has expressed its surprise and dismay over the open violation of a ban on exhibition of Indian films in Pakistan enforced since 1965 war.
The committee, which met with Senator Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry in the chair, noted that cable operators were flouting the ban with immunity and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) was not taking stock of the situation.
“The ban has practically become ineffective, as these are being viewed uncensored in almost every household,” it observed.
“Circulation of large number of CDs, DVDs containing Indian movies is also complicating the situation and a complete reappraisal is needed to deal with the issue,” it said.
The committee asked the government to take all the stakeholders into confidence before making a final decision on exhibition of Indian films. This should be done in a manner which may promote healthy competition at home and without harming our religious and cultural norms and values.
The meeting also called for creation of a conducive environment and announcement of certain incentives for reviving the moribund local film industry. “Good and entertaining movies are still doing a flourishing business as vindicated recently by the release of Khuda Kay Liye.
Therefore, the local film industry must come up with innovative themes and good subjects to compete in a globalised environment.
It recommended that Pemra should be under the ministry of culture and that some members of the committee should also be included in the Film Censor Board to make it more representative.
The secretary culture in his presentation said due to technological advancements, Indian movies were being viewed through VCRs, CDs, DVDs and cable network, etc.
He said the ministry of culture had prepared a summary for the prime minister recommending the import of Indian films against export of an equal number of Pakistani movies.
He said it was recommended that exhibitors, producers and directors may be allowed to enter into this trade.
It had been recommended that a person who exported a Pakistani movie should be allowed to import an Indian movie within three months on the production of an Indian Censor Board certificate that the film had been censored, and a certificate from exhibitors association that the film was released and exhibited in India.
Besides, the importer shall submit a customs clearance certificate of the prints of imported Indian film.
The members of the committee held the view that the decision regarding exhibition of Indian films should be on a reciprocal basis and Pakistani producers must try to win a share from the very large Indian market, as the ground was really fertile for good Pakistani Urdu and Punjabi movies.