Pakistan bans hit
Bollywood film starring Pakistani actress
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[February 07, 2017]
By Syed Raza Hassan
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has banned cinemas
nationwide from screening an Indian blockbuster movie
starring a famous Pakistani actress, a censor official
said on Tuesday, the latest media clampdown after last
year's spike in tension between the nuclear-armed
The movie "Raees" has been highly anticipated in Pakistan, a
nation of 190 million people where Bollywood's elaborate
song-and-dance sequences are wildly popular, as it marks the
debut of actress Mahira Khan alongside Indian superstar Shah
"Yes, the censor certificate has not been issued to the film 'Raees'
for having inappropriate content," Mubashir Husain, the chairman
of Pakistan's panel of film censors, told Reuters.
Asked why the film was banned, Hussain declined to elaborate,
referring instead to newspaper reports.
Pakistan's English-language daily, Dawn, reported that the
film's "content undermines Islam, and a specific religious sect,
(while also) portraying Muslims as criminals, wanted persons and
Despite being bitter foes, Pakistan and India have deep cultural
similarities dating back to before their separation at the end
of British colonial rule in 1947.
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Tension spiked after Indian security forces launched a crackdown on
protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir last July, following the
killing of a young Muslim separatist leader by security forces.
Relations worsened in September, when militants attacked an army
base in Indian-controlled Kashmir and killed 18 soldiers, a raid
India blamed on Pakistan.
Islamabad denied involvement, but the diplomatic fallout and New
Delhi's efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally prompted calls
in India for a ban on Pakistani actors and actresses in the
country's giant Bollywood film industry.
Pakistani cinemas stopped screening Indian films for 11 weeks from
last September, and government curbs still prevent cable providers
from broadcasting Indian television channels.
(Writing by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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