IT seems that Pakistan has in the world of fiction and fictionalised narratives joined the ranks of countries such as the former Soviet Union as the ‘bad guy’. Increasing amounts of material prepared in primarily the Western world present the country as a place of violence, home to lethal extremist groups and espousing dangerous ideologies. Unfortunately, this is not too far from the truth; the country’s circumstances and positioning in the conflict in the region are such, that it provides ample material for those imagining chaos and crime. As a result, particularly in the world of fiction and gaming, there have been a number of cultural products in the recent past that offer up a view of Pakistan that is unpalatable to those wanting to see the country cast in a positive light in the world’s imagination.

Yet the state’s response to this situation is ludicrous. Smarting under the blows to its ego, it has begun to disallow such material. Earlier, it was the video games Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honour: Warfighter. Recently, the film Zero Dark Thirty — a fictionalised account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden — failed to pass the censors’ scrutiny and was disallowed from being screened in local cinemas. Now, the latest instalment of the Hollywood GI Joe films, Retaliation appears to be following the same route, with officials from the Central Board of Film Censors saying that there’s no chance it will be allowed through. Who is the state trying to fool by burying its head in the sand in this manner? Will such measures help, particularly given the size of the pirated DVD market? If the country wants its image improved, what it needs to do is get its house in order.

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Comments (4) Closed

Mar 31, 2013 04:46am
Getting the house in order is not the priority of those exercising Power, and never was. While Pakistan continues telling the world "we are peace loving people and victims of terrorism" the reality is a world apart. Any amount of PR will not work because actions speak louder than words.
Agha Ata (USA)
Mar 31, 2013 03:34pm
Bad, Very bad.... we, too deserve to play video games. (From an ostrich)
Apr 01, 2013 03:40am
Thought control -- in a country with a 37% literacy rate -- and governed by a bunch of not so 'knowledgeable' people -- can be nothing but disastrous for the educational cultural and economic uplift of the future generations..
Syed Ahmed
Apr 01, 2013 02:49pm
Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid fame should once again embark upon burning Video shops selling foreign CD?s/DVD?s and ransack the Cable providers? setup. The government, whether Nawaz Sharif?s, Imran Khan?s or Zardari?s will never but a block on the obscene material.