Supreme Court of Pakistan imposes a ban on airing Indian content on TV channels

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Pakistan Supreme Court on Saturday reinstated a ban on the content of Indian television and on films being broadcast on the country’s local channels, Dawn reported. Dawn added that Pakistan’s top court was hearing a United Producers Association petition filed, related to the ban. Mian Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has ordered the broadcast of Indian shows to be “shut down” and that only appropriate content has to be aired.

He issued this order in Karachi, immediately after hearing a case filed by producers’ associations relating to the broadcasting of foreign content on Pakistan television channels. Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered a ban on all Indian content on TV channels, setting aside an earlier verdict by a lower court, officials said.

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Pakistan newspaper Dawn reported the judge referenced clashes with India over the construction of the planned Diamer-Basha dam in the country’s north, located in territory disputed by Delhi, as justification. “They are trying to obstruct the dam construction and we cannot even ban their channels?” Nisar said.

The Indus Waters Treaty, drawn up in the year 1960 and brokered by the World Bank, given down the rules for how the Indus water and its tributaries that flow in Pakistan and India will be used. Pakistan has opposed construction of India’s hydroelectric power projects on Rattle and Kishanganga alleging it was in violation of the treaty.

In 2016, amid escalating tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had imposed the ban on the content of airing India on radio channels and local television. The decision was made after the Indian Army Base attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector in the year 2016, which had soured relations between the two countries.

Later, in the year 2017, the Lahore High Court, however, lifted the ban, stating that the ban was null and void as the federal government had no objections to Indian content being aired in Pakistan.

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In series of tit-for-tat moves in the entertainment industry, Pakistan in that particular year has suspended the screening of all Indian movies until all the issues calmed down, while the Hindu nationalists in India have threatened the violence at cinemas showing films with Pakistani actors.

Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since the end of British colonial rule in the year 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and the countries have fought two wars over the region.

An official of PEMRA (Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority) said that Nisar ordered
to “stop airing all the Indian channels content on TV”. The ruling covers terrestrial, satellite and cable channels.

Khalid Arain, the chairman of Pakistan Cable Operators Association confirmed the conclusion but hit out against the order. “Ban on the all the Indian channels.content is not the exact solution, rather we should try to better the quality of Pakistani TV shows,” Arain told AFP.

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