Govt bans ‘sacrilegious’ movie made in Britain

Published January 4, 2021
The Pakistan Telecommu­nications Authority (PTA) on Sunday directed social media platforms to remove trailers of the “sacrilegious” movie. — Reuters/File
The Pakistan Telecommu­nications Authority (PTA) on Sunday directed social media platforms to remove trailers of the “sacrilegious” movie. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The govern­ment has decided to ban a movie, The Lady of the Heaven, in Pakistan and directed the telecom sector regulator to restrict its spread through internet in the country.

The Lady of the Heaven has been produced in Britain.

The Pakistan Telecommu­nications Authority (PTA) on Sunday directed social media platforms to remove trailers of the “sacrilegious” movie.

The PTA has said that keeping in view reports regarding release of the said movie and its ‘sacrilegious’ content, it has direc­ted social media platforms, including YouTube, Face­book, Insta­gram and Twitter, to immediate block all content related to the movie.

A press note issued by the PTA said that so far 336 URLs containing promo of the movie have been reported to different platforms.

The issue was taken up by the Ministry of Religious Affairs after receiving complaints from a senior cleric belonging to the Shia school of thought who referred to the directives of a grand cleric that “viewing and spreading such content should be avoided, as it creates divisions among Muslims”.

The letter was written to the prime minister by the Minis­ter for Religious Aff­airs, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, that a UK-based production house had released this movie.

“The movie is a deliberate effort by the enemies of Islam to create unrest among Muslim Ummah and to provoke sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni [communities] by twisting and fabricating some historical incidents,” the note sent by the religious affairs minister to the premier said.

The note further added: “In order to curb the sectarian conflict among Shias and Sunnis — Grand Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi of Iran has issued a decree that strictly condemns all concerned with the production, release and propagation of the said movie.”

Mr Qadri has requested the prime minister to issue directives to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take up the matter with Britain.

The minister for religious affairs also asked the premier to issue instructions to the Ministry of Information Technology to restrict the spread of this movie through social media.

Based on the directives of the prime minister, Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq issued directives to the PTA to restrict the release of the movie as well as viewing of its trailer in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2021

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