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Pakistani distributors and exhibitors are contemplating to end the ban on the release of Indian films after Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay have been issued NOCs for screening. The Pakistan Film Exhibitors and Distributors Association, which includes most owners of cineplexes, multiplexes and single screen cinemas in the country, had announced a ban on Indian films soon after tensions escalated between Pakistan and India over cross-border firing incidents last month.
The exhibitors and cinema owners had taken the decision voluntarily after the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) sought a ban on Pakistani artists and technicians working in India. Zoraiz Lashari, chairman of Pakistani Exhibitors and Distributors Association, said that no decision had been taken as such and also no press conference was scheduled to make any announcements regarding the ban. But he conceded that in view of the terrorist attack on the Quetta Police Training College on Monday night, some plans had been put back.
“Our basic demand was to lift the ban on Pakistani actors working in India and the Indian authorities have lifted that ban. Even Fawad Khan’s film is all set to be released in India on time, which is why even we are looking forward to a more positive outcome of this entire scenario,” Lashari said. He also said the association had suspended screening of Indian films and it was not a ban. “The government didn’t tell us to stop showing Indian films, it was a step taken by us voluntarily to show solidarity with our artistes and countrymen,” he added.
A source said that after a meeting, which took place on Sunday, followed by a brief discussion on Monday, all exhibitors agreed to resume the screening, effective from Tuesday but then the decision was put on hold due to the terrorist attack in Quetta. Another source added that both Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay have been issued NOCs by the ministry of commerce. Shivaay is set to be previewed by the censor boards.
The secretary of Sindh Board of Film Censors, Razzaq Khuhwar said that the government has issued the NOC for Shivaay and a screening will be held for certification purposes.