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May 23, 2020

Entertainment industry suffered loss due to Covid-19 pandemic

Peshawar

May 23, 2020

PESHAWAR: Like other segments of the society, the entertainment industry and showbiz have also suffered due to closure of the entertainment-related activities for the last couple of months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After the outbreak of the coronavirus, the artistes lost their jobs and producers, directors and drama/film makers as well as cinema and theatre owners suffered financial losses due to the lockdown.

The situation went from bad to worse with the passage of time forcing all of them to demand financial assistance and relief package from the government. The government has launched a relief package for the poorest sections of the society, but artistes and particularly the white-colour people affiliated to the entertainment and showbiz industry are yet to benefit from the government’s relief package. The artistes have already warned that they would stage protest if they were not accommodated under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. They complained that the Culture department did not take any step for inclusion of artistes in the Ehsaas Programme though they were not different from daily wagers.

The artistes and some other people related to the industry have voiced their concern through various forums demanding assistance from the government. The cinema owners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa too have also demanded a relief package for the film industry.

The cinema owners at a meeting asked the government to provide relief to the film industry. At a press conference, the representatives of the cinema owners including Arshad Khan, Saleh Muhammad, Jawad Khan Habib, film star Shahid Khan and director Abid Naseem also called for reopening of cinema houses.

They said due to closure of the cinema halls for the last two months not only owners suffered loss of millions of rupees but they had no money to pay salaries to the employees. The Pashto film industry and cinema in KP was already in crisis due to lack of attention from the government. The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown further added to their miseries, they complained.

They said since the government has relaxed the lockdown and opened markets, bazaars, transport and other sectors the cinema houses should also be allowed to open by following the standard operating procedures (SOPs). Assuring the government of following the SOPs and other precautionary measures, they said cinema owners and other people related to the entertainment industry should be allowed to earn livelihood for their families. They complained that the entertainment industry was ignored despite the fact that thousands of people were associated with it. They asked the government to immediately announce relief package for the showbiz industry and order reopening of the cinema houses to provide entertainment to the people and to pull the industry and artistes out of financial crunch.