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Pakistan Court Allows Private Channels to Show Indian Films

Pakistan Court Allows Private Channels to Show Indian Films

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Lahore: A ban on telecast of Indian shows by private television channels has been lifted by a Pakistani court, five months after the country's regulatory authority had barred cable networks from showing the same.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Monday in his interim order granted the permission to private television channels to screen Indian content.

The petition was filed by Leo Communication, challenging Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority's (PEMRA) ban on airing Indian content on cable television network.

In October last year, PEMRA had banned Pakistani private channels being operated through cable network from airing Indian content. Advocate Taffazul Rizvi, counsel for petitioner, argued in the court that channels should also be allowed to broadcast Indian shows as they fall within the definition of 'entertainment' under the licence agreement with the PEMRA.

The petitioner said in 2010 he had been granted a 15-year licence by PEMRA to operate a cable channel — Filmazia — and under the licence it was allowed to broadcast 10 per cent of foreign content including Indian.

"The channel because of running foreign (Indian) content became very popular and received highest viewership ratings across the country," he said.

It said the PEMRA without citing any legal reason in October issued a circular abruptly banning all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan.

"The government is indulging in selective patriotism as Indian movies are allowed to be exhibited in cinemas all over the country showing its double standards," he alleged.

Earlier, Justice Shah had observed that when Indian movies are being screened in cinemas in the country what justification the government/PEMRA has to ban them on TV.

The court adjourned the further hearing till March 2. PEMRA law officer contested the argument seeking time to establish that the 'entertainment' does not include 'Indian plays'.

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