The top command of Pakistan Army and Air Force seems to be divided over showing Indian movies in cinemas under their respective jurisdictions, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The PAF top command has banned showing Indian movies in their cinemas in Lahore and Rawalpindi whereas the same is being openly shown in the cantonment areas and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA).
Interestingly, the PAF base Sargodha shows Indian movies in its cinema highlighting a clear-cut discrepancy. According to well-placed sources, the reason for not banning Indian movies in the PAF Sargodha is because that comes under the cantonment and hence under the control of the army, which allows showing Indian movies.
Sources on good authority further revealed that a top PAF official was told during a visit to one of the bases that showing Indian movies might demoralise a lot of officers with religious leanings and hence should be banned in cinemas under the PAF.
Major urban centres of the country have seen a boom in the cinema industry with even old cinema houses being renovated in the wake of a reviving industry. The Indian movies have played a vital role in the revival of an otherwise dying trend.
New cinema houses with state-of-the-art technologies have opened up recently in various parts of Lahore and many still opening up in near future. The trend continues in the commercial spaces of cantonment
areas such as the Fortress Stadium and DHA.
However, the authorities have been “unclear” about the moral question involved in showing Indian movies.
The matter was brought to the Lahore High Court (LHC) as well in the past when it was decided that an equal time would be allocated to movies produced in India and those locally made. Since then, Indian movies are being shown in cinemas across Pakistan. However, sources revealed that top command of the PAF did not like showing Indian movies and hence it has been banned.
Nadir Minhas of the PAF cinema confirmed that the PAF top command has banned showing Indian movies since the start of the year. “Initially we had gotten the move stayed by the court but the last Indian movie was shown in December and we have no Indian show this year,” Minhas added.
The administration of DHA Cinema Lahore however said they were showing Indian movies which was as per the law.
“The DHA does not come under the cantonment area and hence we can show Indian movies here. It might be a security question for the cantt areas,” the administrator said. On the other hand, however, the Sozo World Cinema in the Fortress Stadium, under the cantonment area, is also showing Indian movies.
“If it has been done for some security risk, it should have been banned in cantt areas as well, or in the entire country. Banning movies only in two bases of the country makes no sense and shows there is no uniformity of policy making,” a cinema staffer spoke to Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity.