=> LAHORE, Jan 15: The Establishment Division has mov -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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=> LAHORE, Jan 15: The Establishment Division has mov

LAHORE, Jan 15: The Establishment Division has moved a summary for terminating the services of Federal Film Censor Board chairman Azfar Shafqat, sources in the Federal Ministry of Culture confirmed to Dawn.

According to them, the step has been taken on the direction of Federal Minister for Culture, Sikander Hayat Jogezai. The minister is also stated to have given verbal orders that vacancies in the Federal Censor Board should not be filled without his orders.

Mr Shafqat, appointed the FCB chairman on a two-year contract, still had eight months to complete his term. Dawn tried to contact the minister by telephone for his reaction to allegations that he wanted to fill the posts on the board with his handpicked people. Despite repeated calls there was no response and the minister was said to be busy in official meetings.

Officials in the ministry confirmed that a summary for the removal of the chairman had been forwarded to the establishment division. They said there were complaints against the chairman from the public and film people allegedly having passed certain films which were “against the national spirit of the country”. The films listed as being ‘objectionable’ included ‘Gangster’ and ‘Goal’ — made with Indian collaboration – and surprisingly also ‘Khuda Key Liye’ a venture by Shoaib Mansoor which was hailed as furthering the cause of President Pervez Musharraf’s concept of enlightened moderation. The sources added that there were fatwas or religious edicts against the chairman.

Azfar Shafqat said that as a government official he was barred from commenting on the matter. Sources in Federal Censor Board said they were not aware of Minister Jogezai forwarding any complaints to the chairman.

Source: Dawn
Date:1/16/2008