Shahzad Ahmad

Lahore - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday gave another opportunity to the government to submit a report and parawise comments in a writ petition filed against the import, screening and exhibition of Indian films in Pakistan.

Deputy Attorney General of Pakistan Mian Tariq Ahmad on behalf of the governmebt sought time to file a report and pamwise comments in the petition.

Petitioner Muhammad Sohail Khan through Amir Saeed Rawn Advocate submitted that despite a ban, Indian movies are being displayed in cinemas of Pakistan. And that impugned notification has been issued ignoring the laws and the same having been issued without approval from the Cabinet, and is not sustainable in terms of law.

The writ petition filed Under Article 199 of Constitution says as per Section 7 of the Censorship of Film Act 1963 and vide notification of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the said notification stated inter alia; "that the Central Government is pleased to direct that all certified films features, trailers and shorts etc. prescribed in India in any language whether talking, silent or dubbed be deemed to be uncertified in whole of Pakistan with immediate effect. In accordance with the Marital Law Order No.81 of 1980 "MLO 81" which has been validated with 8th Constitution Amendment, the Federal Government vide notification dated 04.06.1984 banned the exhibition of all Indian films in Pakistan which includes the trailers, shorts, produced in India in any language whether dubbed or otherwise deemed to be uncertified films in the whole of Pakistan with immediate effect Motion Picture Ordinance 1979.

Moreover, it further states, vide import policy order 2016, (IPO 2016) issued by the respondent No. 1, the import of all Indian films are banned items. “In accordance with the Marital Law Order No.81 of 1980 "MLO 81" which has been validated with 8th Constitution Amendment, the Federal Government vide notification dated 04.06.1984 banned the exhibition of all Indian films in Pakistan which includes the trailers, shorts, produced in India in any language whether dubbed or otherwise deemed to be uncertified films in the whole of Pakistan with immediate effect,” the petitioner says.

He further submits that vide import policy order 2016, (IPO 2016), the import of all Indian films are banned items. He states that the notification dated 31.01.2017 by the government is illegal and the import and exhibition of Indian movies are liable to be banned on the following: ‘that the screening of Indian films in the light of prohibitions contain in the MLO 81 of 1980 and the IPO 2016 is a flagrant violation of the settled law of the land’.

He petitioner terms illegal the notification dated 31.01.2017 in which the Prime Minister of Pakistan conveyed that the display of all the international movies including Indian films in Pakistani cinemas will continue in the garb of revival of Pakistan film Industry.

The petitioner submits that the court may kindly declare the import, screening and exhibition of Indian films in Pakistan as illegal. The court then adjourned the hearing till October 16, 2018.