The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday said it will not allow Indian content to be aired on Pakistani TV channels as it “damages our culture”, Dawn reported.

In October, the Supreme Court had reinstated a ban on Indian television content and films being broadcast on the country’s local channels.

On Wednesday, a three-member bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing an appeal filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority against high courts’ decision to ban the broadcast of Indian content on Pakistani TV channels.

The regulatory authority’s counsel, Zafar Iqbal Kalanauri, told the Supreme Court bench that broadcast of foreign content had been banned on court orders but the Lahore High Court had issued a stay on it in 2017. The regulatory authority’s chairperson Saleem Baig told the court that 65% of the content shown on Filmazia channel is foreign, and it even goes up to 80% at times.

“We will not allow Indian content to be aired on [Pakistani] channels,” Pakistan’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said. When Kalanauri told the top court that Filmazia was an entertainment channel and does not broadcast propaganda, the chief justice said: “It is, however, damaging our culture.”

In 2016, amid escalating tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had imposed a ban on airing Indian content on local television and radio channels. The decision was made after the attack on an Indian Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector in September 2016, which had soured relations between the two countries.

Media watchdog warns channels

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on Tuesday issued a warning directing all channels to refrain from airing content that does not depict a “picture of true Pakistani society”, AFP reported. “The prevalent rampant trend of airing quite bold themes in Pakistani drama industry has resulted in massive public complaints,” the watchdog said in a statement.

“Indecent scenes, dialogues, extramarital relations, violence, inappropriate dressing, rape scenes, caressing, bed scenes, use of drugs and alcohol, intimate moments between couples are being glamourised in utter disregard to Pakistani culture and values,” it said.