The Pakistani government has decided against allowing any new Indian film to be released in cinemas on Eid following demands from the local film industry.
Federal Minister for Culture Pir Aftab Shah Jillani said the decision had been taken to support the local film industry.
'If more Pakistani films are released, the industry might be able to sustain in Pakistan,' he said.
After the ebb in cultural activities in the month of Ramadan, Eid is considered an occasion to revive it.
Indian films were banned in Pakistani cinemas after the 1965 war between both countries. After a gap of over 40 years, the government of former president, Gen Pervez Musharraf, allowed the screening of select Indian movies subject to the censor board's approval.
Bollywood movies have a huge fan following in Pakistan and pirated copies of these movies are readily available in local markets.
Coupled with the decline in local film industry, the government decided to allow films from across the industry.
However, local film producers and actors are generally not in favour of this decision.
They view the competition from Bollywood movies as a 'killer blow' for the Pakistani film industry and have been advocating a ban on allowing Indian movies in local cinemas.
Addressing a press conference here, actress-turned-director Sangeeta, Mustafa Qureshi and several other artists favoured the ban imposed on Indian movies for the coming Eid.
They warned that the actors, producers, directors, writers and technicians involved with the film trade will be forced to take to the streets if any such move was allowed.
Five Pakistani movies, they informed, were ready for release during Eid and demanded the government to allow the local industry to flourish.
Cinema owners, however, have a different take on this as they consider Indian movies a big source of raking in revenues. The film exhibitors' association has said that they will take up the ban with the federal government and will try to get a relaxation.
The local industry does not produce enough movies and also lack in quality as compared to Indian movies, which makes it difficult to attract masses to the theatres, the cinema owners association argues.
About a dozen movies were made and released in Pakistan last year in different languages.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)