Govt of Pakistan issues notification allowing Bollywood films to release

The four month long suspension of Bollywood films, and endless speculations and trepidation, is finally coming to an end as the Government of Pakistan formally allows the release of Bollywood movies in the country.

The official notification, issued by the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage on Tuesday night, announces the continuation of ‘the existing open policy to display all international movies (including Indian films) in Pakistani cinemas’. This decision is taken by the government to support the ‘revival of cinema in Pakistan’, as the official notification states.

The notification further chalks out the procedure of obtaining the permission of exhibiting the imported film from Information and Broadcasting Division of Ministry of Information which will forward the request to Ministry of Commerce for the issuance of an import license. The film will be allowed to be exhibited only after the final approval by the relevant Censor Boards.

The notification will open the way for Indian films to release in Pakistan four months after the suspension imposed by the Film Exhibitors Association of Pakistan in the wake of escalation of tensions between the neighboring countries in October last year.

The cinema owners, fortunately, soon wised up to the implications of the suspension when the footfall dropped to the extreme low and the local films received lukewarm response from the audience. The cinemas started laying off their employees and closing screens due to lack of content and plummeting revenues.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif formed a special committee, comprised of Information and Commerce ministers, to review the policy of exhibiting Indian films and its impact on the budding local film industry in the country. The committee’s findings resonated with the opinion of the advocates of Bollywood films exhibiting in Pakistan, arguing that it is imperative to allow Bollywood films in the country to support the cinemas and build local industry which cannot produce enough films to keep running the cinemas currently.

“[From] the close examination of historical and empirical data including the trends of the industry since 1965 till date, it is evident that the inclusion of all foreign content, including Indian film content in local cinemas, have a multiplier impact on the commerce and development of the Pakistani film trade and industry as a whole,” Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, said in her official statement released after meeting with the Prime Minister.

It is expected that Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan starer Raees and Hirithik Roshan’s Kaabil will be released by this weekend following the issuance of the notification.

It is surely a moment of celebration for Bollywood buffs. 🙂


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