LAHORE: A petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court against the exhibition of film ‘Joyland’.

Mian Bilal, a resident of Lahore, filed the petition through his counsel Abid Hussain Khichi and arrayed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Pakistan Media Development Authority, Central Film Censor Board, Punjab Film Censor Board, film’s director Saim Sadiq and others as the respondents.

The petitioner contends that the respondent directed ‘Joyland’ containing “objectionable” material which does not conform to the social values and moral standards of the country.

He alleges that the theme and story of the film is based upon love and relation of a man with a transperson, having sexual and physical contact.

He submits that in film language, it is said that the art based upon expressions or words always speaks to the audience, and as the movie is showing physical relationship between a male and a transperson, therefore, in view of the saying the art played through the movie must have shocking effects upon society.

The petitioner contends that the Constitution provides for freedom of speech and expression, but the same is subject to reasonable restrictions.

He argues that the public interest or collective community interest is a bucket of various public interests, including public morality, public order, national security, besides fundamental rights of others.

So in such state of affairs, he argues, the Motion Pictures Ordinance has set forth some restrictions in order to protect and safeguard public interest.

He alleges that the movie is beyond the law, restrictions and not only against the public interest, but also tantamount to encourage men of the country to tilt towards having relations with transpersons, which could lead society to acting in a way that is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam.

The petitioner asked the court to ban the screening of the movie and order the government to cancel its censorship certificate/licence.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2022

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