A Pakistani court today (August 20) banned the release of Bollywood movie “Phantom” in the country on a plea filed by JuD chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed against it alleging that the film, set on post-26/11 attacks, contains “filthy propaganda” against him and his outfit.
Lahore High Court judge Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan issued the order to ban the release of the Saif Ali Khan-starrer film in the theaters in Pakistan after hearing the arguments of Saeed’s counsel and the government law officer.
Before issuing a short-order on the film, which was scheduled to release on August 28, the judge observed that Indian and other movies are easily available after their release and asked the government what it could do to stop it from being available in the market if a movie is banned.
“If a movie is banned in cinemas what the government could do to stop it from being available in the market in CDs”, the judge asked.
In the petition filed in the High Court on August 8, Saeed’s advocate A K Dogar alleged that “there is a direct threat to the life of the petitioner (Saeed) and his associates emanating from the content of the trailer of the film.”
“It is obvious that dialogues coming out of the lips of the different Indian actors and actresses will poison the minds of Pakistani public and will portray Hafiz Saeed as terrorist even though JuD has not been declared as a proscribed organisation,” Dogar said.
Arguing in the court, the government law officer said that since no one had sought No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the government for the release of the movie in Pakistan the petition was “useless” and should be dismissed.
“The petitioner is unnecessarily trying to involve the government,” he said.
Based on crime author Hussain Zaidi’s novel “Mumbai Avengers”, ‘Phantom’ is set in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and deals with global terrorism.
The Pakistan censor board had yet not cleared the film for screening in the country.
Since the government allowed exhibition of Indian films in Pakistan, the Censor Board has been careful about not allowing screening of Indian films which deal with the subject of Pakistan, terrorism and ISI.
In the past, Saif Ali Khan’s ‘Agent Vinod’ and Salman Khan’s ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ were also banned from being screened in cinema halls in the country although they are freely available on CDs and DVDs in Pakistan.