ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday stressed the need for boosting cultural cooperation between Pakistan and the United States and sought US assistance to rejuvenate film and cinema industry in the country.

In a meeting with US Charge d Affaires Paul Jones, who called on him here, he said that films were one of the vital mediums to promote culture and values of any society.

Recalling the glorious era of Pakistan’s film industry in the decade of 1960s, the minister reiterated that revival of cinema in the country would not only provide entertainment to the people but would also generate economic activity by offering myriads of opportunities including jobs.

He said that the government would like to increase the cinema screens from 127 to 1000, which would not only provide jobs to at least 20,000 people, but would also make the industry feasible. Pakistan would welcome any joint venture in the arena of exchange of films and co-productions, he added.

Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that Ministry of Information had a key role in countering extremists’ narrative and collaboration in the field of film and media would help in supplementing the efforts to win war of narratives as opposed to extremists and terrorists' nefarious designs.

The minister said that the government had envisaged to establish media university by merging the PBC and PTV academies. He said that Pakistan would highly appreciate the US cooperation in regards to the establishment of Media University, which would impart training to journalists and producers in various mediums as well as in technical and creative aspects.

The minister said media was enjoying unprecedented freedom in Pakistan and the elected government and its institutions believed in free press and freedom of expression. He also acknowledged the role of media as a watchdog.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was keen to improve relations with all the neighbours including Afghanistan. The prime minister had personal relations in Afghanistan and had also authored a book on FATA, which placed him at an advantageous position to deal with matters related to Afghanistan, he added.

He said that Pakistan is a modern democratic state where media and judiciary are independent and all the institutions were working in complete harmony.

The US Chargé d Affaires Paul Jones discussed about the overall media environment in Pakistan with the Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.

He appreciated the minister’s perspective on closer Pak-US cultural cooperation and the vision of current dispensation in surmounting the challenges presently faced by Pakistan. He said that US would look into building this relationship in various areas mutually beneficial to both the sides.