When India conducted an air strike in Pakistani territory, Pakistan didn’t just retaliate with force: it also banned Indian film and television. It’s an easy punishment, but may just hit the wrong target, as the BBC’s Ilyas Khan and Shumaila Jaffrey report.
India and Pakistan have long been at loggerheads since 1947, but their shared love of Bollywood has somehow survived through Partition and beyond.
Despite this, Bollywood has all too often found itself the easy target of governments hoping to make a point – most recently following the deadly attack by militants on Indian soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir, which ended with India launching air strikes against what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan, and Pakistan downing an Indian fighter jet.
A case of survival
Pakistan’s Association of Film Exhibitors said that they were banning the release of Bollywood films and in March, Pakistan’s top court went a step further and ruled that no Indian content could be broadcast on local television either. The ban applies to Indian adverts, soap operas and films.
“Who would want to watch Indian content when India is intruding [into] the country’s boundaries?” the Supreme Court judge demanded as he imposed the ban.
Student Aqsa Khan, 24, wholeheartedly agrees.
“They are imposing war on us, how can we let their movies and dramas get released in Pakistan?” she asked.
But exactly who the ban will really punish is yet to be seen.