No official ban on screening of Indian films in Pakistan, NA told

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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to reduce foreign content, the government is focusing on efforts to revive the film industry, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Friday.

However, the minister said there is no official ban on the screening of state-censored Indian movie films in the country. “There is no official ban on the state-censored and regulated public exhibition of Indian feature films in the cinema houses under the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979,” she told the lower house of parliament on Friday during the question hour.

She said the existing policy framework of the government to allow screening of foreign cinematographic films in Pakistan was consistent with the policy approved by the then prime minister in 2007.

“The Central Board of Film Censors has the power to remove content which is against our social norms and national interest,” she said. “The present government is also focusing on the revival of the Pakistani film industry to reduce foreign content.”

To a question, Aurangzeb said an advertisement will soon be published to fill the post of the Pakistan Television’s (PTV) managing director.

Earlier, Railways Minister Saad Rafique told the house that several steps have been taken to upgrade railway tracks – including the Karachi-Peshawar track under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“Upgrading and doubling of Main Line (ML-I) of the Pakistan Railways from Karachi to Peshawar including Taxila-Havelian section and establishment of dry port near Havelian has been declared as the Early Harvest Project under the CPEC,” he said. Rafique said Pakistan Railways’ revenue through freight services will be increased to over Rs14 billion this year that was only about Rs2billion in 2012.

Answering a question, Minister of State for Capital Administration Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said the liver transplant facility was to be started at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in the capital.

He said 90 per cent machinery for the facility was available while hiring expert surgeons for liver transplantation was in process. “If a patient cannot afford the treatment of liver transplantation, funds will be provided from Prime Minister’s Special Cell set up for this purpose,” he added.

Responding to a calling attention notice regarding non-construction of overhead bridges on Islamabad’s Kashmir Highway, Chaudhry said the Islamabad International Airport will be linked with the Metro Bus Service to facilitate passengers.

He said Kashmir Highway has been expanded and carpeted. “The CDA is also going to open new housing sectors to generate funds,” he added.

Lack of quorum

The National Assembly’s proceedings on Friday had to be adjourned after less than two hours as the treasury benches once again failed to maintain quorum of the house.

A PPP lawmaker pointed out the quorum. However, when the Speaker Ayaz Sadiq did not pay heed to him, there was an exchange of harsh words between Saad Rafique and the PPP lawmakers. Later, the chair had to adjourn the house till Monday.

During this one hour 40 minutes proceedings, the house witnessed presentation of seven periodical reports from five various standing committees.