Pakistan bans Bollywood films amid India tensions

No Indian films to be released in Pakistan, minister says, and authorities asked to block Indian ads after air raids.

Bollywood movies are seen on display at a video store in Islamabad
Politics and differences over Muslim-majority Kashmir have already curtailed the two countries' cultural ties [Caren Firouz/Reuters]

Pakistan has placed a ban on the screening of all Bollywood films in cinemas across the country after Indian air raids further escalated tensions between the South Asian neighbours. 

On Wednesday, Pakistan confirmed it carried out air raids in Indian-administered Kashmir and shot down two Indian jets in its own airspace, capturing one of the pilots as tensions escalate a day after India bombed targets in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Film Exhibitors Association decided to boycott Indian content, Fawad Chaudhry, the country’s information minister, said on Tuesday in the wake of air attacks by Indian forces near the border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir. 

“No Indian movies will be released in Pakistan,” he wrote on Twitter.

Chaudhry said he had also instructed PEMRA, Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, against airing Indian advertisements on Pakistani TV channels.


The move came in reaction to Indian air raids that struck near the northern Pakistani village of Jaba, located about 10km west of the border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and 60km from the Line of Control that divides Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

India’s foreign secretary said the “non-military pre-emptive action” targeted a training camp for armed group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which claimed a suicide attack earlier this month that killed 42 Indian security forces personnel and brought tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours to a boil.

Pakistan, however, disputed the claim, saying that India was “lying” and that no casualties occurred from the attacks.

“In light of the prevailing situation, and in solidarity with the government, the film exhibitors fraternity has volunteered to focus on local content till the normalisation of the current situation in the region,” Zoraiz Lashari, chairperson of the Film Exhibitors Association, said in a statement. 

“We believe art and film is a universal language that transcends borders and brings people closer. We hope we can all play a positive role in reducing tensions, and supporting policies that bring peace and prosperity to the people of the entire region,” he added. 

‘Nation comes first’

Tensions have been high between India and Pakistan since the Pulwama attack on February 14.

Pakistan has denied any involvement and warned India against linking it to the attack.

Days after the deadly bombing, the All Indian Cine Workers Association announced a complete ban on Pakistani actors and artists working in the Indian film industry. 

“If any organisation insists on working with Pakistani artists, it will be banned by AICWA and a strong action will be taken against them. Nation comes first, we stand with our nation,” the notice by the association read.

Politics and differences over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which India and Pakistan rule in part but claim in full as their own, have already curtailed the two countries’ cultural and sporting ties.

Last year, Pakistan’s Supreme Court reinstated a ban on the transmission of all Indian content on local TV channels.

Earlier this month, an Indian event management company pulled out as the official producer of Pakistan’s T20 cricket league. 

Digital coverage of the ongoing Pakistan Super League tournament has also been blocked in India. 

Source: Al Jazeera