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Thursday July 07, 2022

SHC directs cinema owners to provide 85 per cent screening time to Pakistani films

May 23, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed cinema owners to follow the film censorship rules and provide 85 per cent playing time to Pakistani films and 15 per cent to foreign films till the next date of hearing.

The interim order came on lawsuits filed by Pakistani film producers against cinema owners for not putting off their films during the Eid season and screening a foreign film, Doctor Strange, without obtaining a censorship certificate.

The counsel for the plaintiffs, Khawaja Shamsul Islam, submitted that Pakistani films should be displayed to the maximum level of 85 per cent and foreign films should be exhibited to the limit of less than 15 per cent.

He submitted that allowing the exhibition of a foreign film in the Eid days was tantamount to violating the rights of plaintiffs whose films Parde Me Rehne Do, Dam Mastam and Chakkar were removed from screening.

The high court was requested to suspend the censorship certificate in favour of Doctor Strange and any other foreign film and issue an order against the central and provincial film censor boards from issuing any censorship certificate to a foreign film in the presence of Pakistani films for more than 15 per cent of the playing time.

A single bench of the SHC headed by Justice Kausar Sultana Hussain after a preliminary hearing of the lawsuit issued notices to the central, Sindh and Punjab censor boards, Competition Commission of Pakistan, private cinema owners and others, and called their comments on June 2.

The high court, in the meantime, directed the private cinema owners and others to follow the Rule 31 of the Censorship of Film Rules in letter and spirit and provide 85 per cent of their playing time to the Pakistani films, including those made by the plaintiffs and 15 per cent to foreign films.

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