The increasing tensions between India and Pakistan have made the government take necessary steps regarding the exchange of content between the two countries. And India had it coming anyway when their celebrities got involved in the political matter and started announcing one after the other that they won’t be releasing their films in Pakistan.
While Pakistan and Pakistani celebrities were advocating for peace all the while, when India violated our sovereignty yesterday, the country collectively had enough of it. Resultantly, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudry Fawad Hussain, announced in a tweet yesterday, that a boycott against Indian films and advertisements will be practiced in Pakistan.
Not a Government-Led Action
It’s pertinent to mention here that this boycott is not a government-led action, and was in fact, voluntarily taken by the All Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association (APFEA).
In a press statement released by the association, Chairman Zoraiz Lashari announced that they are taking this decision in solidarity with Government, and will be “focusing on” local content till the current situation in the region settles down.
Quoting this decision by APFEA in his tweet, the minister also announced that he has further instructed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to take action against all “Indian made advertisements.”
Cinema Exhibitors Association has boycotted Indian content, no Indian Movie ll be released in Pakistan. Also have instructed PEMRA to act against Made in India Advertisements. #PakistanTayarHai https://t.co/9BPo6LIsVB
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 26, 2019
The decision on films aside, there is a little confusion on whether this action against Indian advertisements will apply only on the ads that are produced on the other side of the border, or also the ones that star Indian celebrities in them?
The Initial Actions
Earlier this week, way before this decision was taken, the cinemas in Lahore cantonment areas had already halted the screening of Indian films. This decision came in reaction to the Indian filmmakers not allowing the release of their films in Pakistan.
Previous bans on Indian content
This is not the first time Indian content has been disallowed space in Pakistan. In 2016, PEMRA had imposed a ban on Indian content being aired on local television channels and FM radio.
Supreme Court reinstated the ban in October 2018, stating that the content was damaging our culture. They highlighted Filmazia channel showing 80 percent of foreign content.
Similarly, when the Uri attack had happened, and India had started blaming Pakistan for it without any proof, the exhibitors association had put a similar self-imposed ban on Indian films. This was later uplifted when the situation between both the neighbours returned to normalisation.