The Lahore High Court (LHC) has officially lifted the ban imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on airing Indian teleplays. He removed the ban declaring it null and void as the federal government had no objections regarding the same.
Pemra had issued a notification imposing a blanket ban on all Indian content on Oct 19, 2016, after relations between Pakistan and India soured after the Uri attack last year.
M/s Leo Communications, TV channel Filmazia’s parent organisation, sought to overturn the ban as it had not been imposed by the Government of Pakistan.
The petition challenged the Pemra circular as being beyond the powers of the regulatory body and the Constitution, and claimed that the government was indulging in “selective patriotism” because even though Indian movies were allowed to be screened all over the country, they could not be aired on television.
Although Pemra’s ban on the airing of Indian films was lifted in February this year, permission to air teleplays or television dramas was not granted.
The petitioner’s counsel Asma Jehangir argued in court today that a ban on Indian teleplays appeared bizarre while Indian films were being openly aired.
Pemra’s counsel claimed that the ban had been imposed since India had imposed similar restrictions on all Pakistani content.
LHC Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah stated that Indian content with objectionable or anti-Pakistan content could be censored but there was no need for a complete ban.
“The world has become a global village,” Justice Shah said, asking how long unreasonable restrictions would be imposed.
The LHC judge also asked why Pemra was making the airing of Indian content an issue when the federal government had no objections regarding the same.
Justice Shah remarked that the court should be informed if the Indian government had issued a notification to ban Pakistani content and maintained that Pemra must review its policies.