ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday announced the first ever film and cultural policy of the country at the conclusion of a three-day National Artists Convention and CPEC Cultural Caravan at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA), which would come into force immediately.
The policy envisages formally according the status of industry to the film industry, establishment of finance fund and a film academy, building of film studios, restoration of the Directorate of Films and Publications, abolition of duty on import of film equipment, film censor fee and sales tax, inclusion of artists in the health scheme, and 70% rebate to foreign film producers on travelling allowance and eatables. According to the policy, only Pakistani films would be screened on national holidays.
Film studios would be set up under the public-private partnership and the government would provide land for the project. 80% rebates would also be given as far as the construction of cinemas is concerned.
Under the cultural policy, the focus would be on building cultural infrastructure, promotion of visual and performing arts and theatre, promotion of music and other arts development and preservation sites of folk and traditional culture as well as archaeological places, inculcating cultural principles and priorities into the younger generation and documentation of extraordinarily strong culture, literature and traditions. It also includes Film, Radio & TV as the mode of promoting cultural diversity.
The minister, while thanking the artists for their participation in the convention and making the effort to gather the artists at one platform a success, said that the vision for the film and cultural policy was the initiative of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who tasked her to complete the unfinished undertaking when she was made the minister. She said that the people associated with the film industry gave her a lot of respect which really encouraged her in accelerating the process. She said that the launching of the film and cultural policy was a great honour for her.
The minister said that the scourge of terrorism not only caused material damages during the last 30-35 years but also badly affected the film industry. She said that democracy and creative expression were inextricably linked to each other. She observed that during the dictatorial regimes the artists were silenced, adding that the dictators should have been asked as to why they did that.
She said that the country did not need any alternate narrative as it had its own indigenous narrative of peace and love, which was everything for its people. The minister observed that no government ever took any initiative to extend a hand of cooperation to the film Industry. She said that during the seventies, the country was producing 150 films annually which greatly contributed to the establishment of a better identity of the country. She said that the country was facing chaos and a culture of intolerance because the artists were silent. Marriyum said that all of them had to make collective efforts to promote art and culture.
The minister observed that sitting in the power corridors was not an easy task. She prayed to God to help her fulfil the responsibility that had been entrusted to her. She told the artists that the people in the government were from amongst the people and it was the people who elected them and God conferred honour on them.
The minister said that like other industries, the film industry also contributed to the GDP of the country. Addressing the artists, she said that her generation had learnt a lot from great artists like them. She said that there was intolerance among the youth of the country nowadays because they had not seen the work of the great artists. She said that the artists had to stage a comeback and apprise the new generation about the positive lessons of the yesteryears.
The minister said that Pakistan films would be exhibited in China and Chinese movies would be screened in Pakistan and a decision in principle to that regard had already been taken. She informed the audience that a plan for the promotion of local languages was also in the making. Marriyum said that the film policy has been prepared by comparing the policies of the countries which developed vibrant film industries during the last decade.
Regarding the cultural policy, she revealed that it had been given the final shape through the efforts of Pervez Rasheed, Attaul Haq Qasmi and Jamal Shah in line with the vision of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. According to the basic principles of the cultural policy, it would be federal in character and steeped in democratic norms which reflected an impression of peace, patience and tolerance. She said that the role of culture in the promotion of peace in the society would be the central aim of the cultural policy, adding that it would be based on the country’s real cultural values. The policy, she said, would also promote provincial harmony. Marriyum further said that it would also be based on cultural growth and regional languages. She said that the policy would give cultural identity to the youth. She concluded that the cultural policy was also purported to build a positive image of Pakistan at the global level.