LAHORE - Despite strict orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and formal approval by the Ministry of Commerce, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan is not releasing the matching grant for a feature film made by the Pakistan Carpets Manufacturers & Exporters Associations central chairman with an aim to convince the international buyers to import Pakistani handmade carpets by portraying the soft image of the country.

The movie will especially convince the foreign buyers that hand-knotted industry is free from bonded labour, besides promoting women entrepreneurship in the country, it was learnt.

Industry sources said that presently the amount of Rs10 million has been released by the Ministry of Commerce but the TDAP chief Rabia Javeria Agha, like the former heads, is not ready to release the amount. They said that particularly TDAP former Director-General Irfan Tarar remained the main hurdle in this regard despite the fact that Lahore office has full authority to issue the fund under PAPRA rule 42 D.

The industry sources disclosed that Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, whose task is to facilitate exporters and build soft image of the country abroad with a view to enhance export, has become the hurdle in the way of Pakistan Carpets Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PCMEA) chairman Akhtar Nazir Cooki to launch an international movie on domestic carpet industry to build the image of Pakistan.

Sources said that around three years back, it was decided by the government to make a movie to support the waning hand-knotted carpet sector, and the commerce ministry had agreed to issue matching grant of Rs10 million to PCMEA from its own Export Development Funds.

A right personality of Cooki was nominated for this sensitive task, as he is the talented son of Pakistan film industry. Apart from being inborn artist, Cooki has also a long experience in carpet industry.

Sources said that Cooki has almost completed the movie, bearing the whole expenditure from his own pocket which amounts to around Rs5 million.

The theme song of the feature film is presented in major languages of the world including German, Spanish, French, Chinese and English. They said that theme song has been presented in China as well as in Germany, which has won so much applause, they added. Not only this, inspiring by the movie, the Chinese government offered Cooki $280,000 while India offered him $300,000 just to promote the carpet industry of these countries. But this Pakistani patriot preferred his own country, refusing the attractive offer flatly.

Sources said that TDAP is refusing to issue the grant from exporters’ own fund, as the government collects cess from the earnings of the exporters.

When contacted, Akhtar Nazir Cooki told The Nation that the movie will convince the foreign buyers, who after conceiving wrong propaganda, hesitate to visit Pakistan. Pakistani carpet industry, which is one of the largest environment-friendly sectors, is providing jobs to over 1.5 million people without polluting the atmosphere.

The movie will tell them that carpet sector is also helping improve literacy rate in the country by establishing schools for workers’ children, providing free of cost education.

He said that the movie, which is directed by the awards winner filmmaker Syed Noor, will not only facilitate the foreign entrepreneurs but also highlight the soft image of the country. It will accelerate trade and investment, besides boosting the declining tourism sector, he maintained.

He said that TDAP, which should have established partnerships with carpet industry to expand market share and develop domestic commerce, has become a main hurdle in this task. He appealed to TDAP head office as well as the Lahore office to issue the promised matching grant for early launch of the movie to exhibit the untapped potentials of Pakistan in the world market.