The Lahore High Court on Monday allowed private TV channels with valid licences to air Indian films in the country in compliance with the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s terms. Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed the interim order on the basis of a report submitted by PEMRA, PTI reported.
The decision was made during the hearing of a plea filed by Leo Communication, which challenged the October 2016 ban imposed by PEMRA on Pakistani private channels telecasting Indian content on cable TV networks. The petition alleged that the restriction violated both PEMRA’s rules and the Pakistani Constitution.
PEMRA’s October order is believed to have been issued without citing a legal reason. In its argument, the petitioner claimed that in 2010, PEMRA had granted cable channel Filmazia a 15-year operational licence, under which it was allowed to air 10% foreign content.
“The channel became very popular and received highest viewership ratings across the country because of running foreign [Indian] content...The government is indulging in selective patriotism as Indian movies are allowed to be exhibited in cinemas all over the country, showing its double standards.”
The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for March 2.
The entertainment industry took a hit as relations between India and Pakistan worsened after the Indian Army conducted “surgical strikes” on terror camps along the Line of Control with Pakistan on September 29. This came after militants, believed to be from across the border, attacked an Indian Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector on September 18, killing 19 soldiers.
On September 30, Pakistani cinemas said they would not screen Indian films, a day after the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association banned Pakistani actors and technicians from shooting in India till “normalcy” returned. The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had also asked all Pakistani artists to leave India.