LAHORE-The Punjab government on Tuesday defended entertainment duty on cinemas for displaying Indian and English films during hearing of a case in the Lahore High Court against the imposition of the tax. Petitioner Arif Khan of Gulistan cinema and others through their counsel Ali Sibtan Fazli had filed the petition pointing out that entertainment tax was an excise duty and under the constitution only federal government was empowered to impose such a tax. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing several petitions filed by cinema owners against imposition of entertainment duty. In his arguments Advocate General Punjab Khawaja Haris told the LHC that the government was authorized under the law to levy duty and the cinema owners will have to pay the tax to run. He submitted that the entertainment duty was imposed after consulting a committee formed for this purpose and the cinemas owners were also members of it. Haris remained stuck to his guns defending the governments step for imposing the tax on the Indian and English movies but the courts had to adjourn the matter due to shortage of time on the day. He said 90 per cent of cinema in Pakistan got completely demolished and government reduced entertainment duty from 150 per cent to 65 per cent after decline in cinema industry. He said in 2004 government had exempted entertainment duty for two years that was further extended for three years that expired in 2009. He said during that period a local film Channa Sachi Muchi was released and it collected revenue of Rs. 33000 from Lahore during first three days of its release. Government had also constituted a 15 member committee including parliamentarians and representatives of cinema industry. But now all of sudden Chief Minister had announced that exemption would be available for Pakistani movies while no such concession would be given to English and Indian movies. The petitioner said government had ensured cinema owners that entertainment duty would not be levied unless the committee formulated some policy or gave recommendations. He said Punjab Entertainment Duty Act 1958 is unconstitutional as exemption granted to Pakistani films was discriminatory against English and Indian movies. He further said levy of entrainment duty would deprive common people of their valuable right of entertainment. He prayed that PEC and levy of entertainment duty be declared unconstitutional and illegal.