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Ban on Pashto films sparks controversy

PESHAWAR: The recent ban on the screening of five Pashto films in the provincial capital has caused a controversy due to the government’s failure to legislate on matters related to motion pictures in the province.

The producers and promoters of these films claim that they have obtained the necessary screening certificates from the Sindh Board of Film Censor (SBFC).

Shama Cinema, Sabrina, Aeena Cinema and Arshad Cinema have been screening the films, including Zama Arman, Bhungi Lalia, Lufar, Shurt and Qurbani, since Eidul Fitr.

Though the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home department issued directives to the Provincial Police Officer (PPO) and Peshawar’s commissioner and deputy commissioner to check the violation of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979, the owners of the relevant cinemas continue to screen the said films showing the SBFC certificates.

These owners have displayed the said certificates at the entrances of the cinemas, saying they had not been violating the law as in the absence of any censor board in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they were left with no option but to get certificates from Sindh. Following the passage of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act 2010, “production, censorship and exhibition of cinematograph films” have become the provincial subject and each of the four provinces have to make legislation in this respect.Prior to the amendment, the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979 was applicable to the entire country and the Central Film Censor Board has been functioning under Section 3 of the said ordinance.

However, through the said amendment, the Concurrent List of the Constitution was abolished and the subjects mentioned therein including film censor are now the exclusive domain of the province.

In Sindh, the Sindh Motion Picture Act was passed in 2011 following which SBFC was set up the same year. Similar, the law was also passed in Punjab.

When contacted, Qamar Ali, spokesman for the home department, said until such time when the province enacted its own law, the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979 was applicable to this province and unless the Central Board gave screening certificate regarding a film, it could not be screened here.

He said his department had received complaint from the Central board regarding the screening of the said five films without certificate from that board.

Mr Ali questioned how a film could be screened on a certificate received from Sindh as that certificate was only applicable to that particular province and not the entire country.

He said the department had issued directives to the concerned officials and now it was up to them to implement the order.

The home department claimed that these films were exhibited in blatant violation of provision of Section 4 of Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979, which clearly states that uncensored films could not be exhibited.

An official at one of the five cinemas told Dawn that the provincial government had been trying to punish them for its incompetence as it could not enact a law and establish a censor board despite their repeated requests to the culture directorate.

“We have been screening the movie as we are having proper certificate from Sindh Board. We have also shown the certificate to some officials who visited the cinema following which they did not insist on stopping the exhibition,” said Noshad Khan, an employee at Arshad Cinema.

He said when SBFC had declared their film fit for exhibition, then there was no reason available with the provincial government to ban these films.

Legal expert Shahnawaz Khan told Dawn that Article 270 AA Sub-Clause 6 clearly stated that despite the abolishing of the Concurrent List, the laws related to it would continue to remain in force until altered, repealed or amended by the competent authority.

He said unless the province enacted its own law, the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979 would remain applicable to the province.

The expert said only the films approved by CFCB could be screened in the province until the local government legislated on motion pictures.

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Comments (17) Closed

Col Arshad Mehmood
Aug 20, 2013 04:22pm

Sad news!

M aslam
Aug 20, 2013 06:20pm

Mr. Khan is injured and sick and could not work on legislation for next 17 years, so keep on present practice, until Mr. Khan will be recovered and think on this matter too.

Aug 20, 2013 07:10pm

The citizens of Peshawar know the owners of these cinemas and what "quality films" are shown there.

Qaiser Bakhtiari
Aug 20, 2013 08:45pm

Though pashto cinema lacked class, I find the taking away of liberties of average Pakistanis in the name of Islam even more odious. If you want to live your life as a pious Muslim please go ahead and do so. It is not your responsibility to enforce your religion on everyone else.

Aug 21, 2013 02:38am

You said local govt sorry buddy it is not domain of local govt it is domain of provincial govt please correct the article

Aug 21, 2013 03:16am

So if the film exhibitors can get a certificte from Sindh why not get the same certificate from federal board as well?

But the film exhibition should not stop.

Aug 21, 2013 09:41am

I think , pashto and Punjabi films should be ban for life time. they dont make sense.

Left is Right
Aug 21, 2013 03:39pm

I am sure this legislation would be on Mr. Khan priority list. He will soon abolish all immoral activities in KPK and enforce sharia with help from his merry men !!!

Zobia Khan
Aug 21, 2013 05:54pm

Amazing! You can watch the movie in Sindh but not KP. And why is there even a censor board? Do aliens sit on the board? This whole concept of censoring art is kind of silly. If you don't want to see something don't watch it, if its on TV change the channel.

Ali Wadood
Aug 21, 2013 11:10pm

I guess Sindh is too modern for KP, that their censorship cannot be applied to (I wonder), any other region. One of the main reason of this Dilemma is the lack of good Hero in Lollywood, as there were in the 70's.

Aug 22, 2013 04:29am

U talk about vulgarity, how about Indian movies being shown every where, where was the censor board at that time. Bottom line is that Indian lobby in pakistan is too strong, all those people who import Indian movies, are scared since they cannot make money in KPK. Shame on those people and I say keep showing PUSHTO movies.

Aug 22, 2013 10:52am

Theaters and film are good activities and important mediums to promote the message of progress, peace and harmony through this important medium not necessarily to make vulgar movies but banning an important channel for expressing human life and it's emotion is not a wise decision.

Arif Achakzai
Aug 22, 2013 11:31am

Dear, there are certain things which can't be changed by any individual, which can be enforced by law as ordained by Allah in different places of his Holy Qur'an and Muhammad (S.A.W) acted upon these orders and commandments and implemented strictly as such obscenity is one of the curses in society which must be eradicated forcibly and by hook and crook.

Wount tell
Aug 22, 2013 01:39pm

This Shama cinema is owned by the bilours, and named after his daughter. you can verify it from any one. I feel ashamed just to think, that how can someone do such wrong things under their kids names. Horrible.

Cosmic Lion
Aug 22, 2013 02:18pm

Looking at those posters, it is good that they have banned them...

Cosmic Lion
Aug 22, 2013 05:05pm

Dudes on the poster really look scary. I wonder what the plot is all about....
Aug 22, 2013 10:00pm

I agree wit Shami commts. Pasho movie should continue. Sincerely, Ah Mirza (USA)