Time To Grow Up Pakistan: Ban Terrorists, Not Films!


The much awaited Sonam Kapoor starrer Neerja hits theatres on 19th February. While most of the country gears up to watch the movie that is based on a real life incident during the hijacking of the Pan Am Flight 73 at the Karachi airport in 1986, Pakistan has (not surprisingly) put a ban on it.

The movie revolves around Neerja Bhanot; a 23-year-old flight attendant, who was shot dead by the terrorists as she tried to save as many lives as possible.

The film has been banned stating that it shows Pakistan in a bad light and it might cause further damage to the already strained relations between the two countries.

Even though this isn’t the first incident where Pakistan has banned the screening of a film since many others like Baby, Haider, Ek Tha Tiger, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and many more were also banned.  What’s unusual is that the film was banned even without it being submitted to the censor boards.


“The ministry issued us a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to import the film and bring it to Pakistani territory but later on revoked the NOC,” an official with IMGC Entertainment said.

Mobasher Hasan, who heads the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC), said that the decision to not allow import of the film had come from the information and commerce ministry.

“The film was never brought to us for censorship,” he said, adding the commerce and information ministry had also asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority (PEMRA) to ensure that Neerja is not shown on cable channels throughout Pakistan.

The officials keep going back and forth passing the buck around on the issue, while the real reason is that Pakistan isn’t ready to deal with the aftermath of their actions.

The concept of banning films and cultural events is naive and juvenile to say the least. If they are really worried about how the world sees them, their foremost concern should be the sanitization of the terrorists camps and outfits that thrive in their country. Harbouring home-grown terrorists isn’t exactly helping Pakistan’s image in front of the world.



It has been way too long that the innocent people of both the countries have been turned into nothing but scapegoats for the faults and fallacies of their respective governments.

We said the same thing when some fringe elements in our very own country tried to restrict the exchange of art and culture and we’ll say it again now; banning cultural events, cricket matches and films does not solve the real and more pressing issues that both countries need to deal with, pronto. Its better we focused our energies on them.

If things are to ever get better between India and Pakistan, it is imperative that both countries work towards the unhindered exchange of cultural and social ideas. It is the only way we can instil a sense of empathy and brotherhood amongst the people on either sides of the border.

Shireen Azizi

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The Viewspaper