Lahore: A cinema hall owned by Pakistan Air Force in this eastern city has been closed by its private management after officials imposed a ban on screening Indian movies earlier this month.
    
The PAF officials singled out Indian films for a ban though Bollywood productions are being screened across Pakistan, including in two other cinema halls within Lahore Cantonment, sources said.
    
The PAF has been leasing the management of its cinema to private parties through annual contracts. The current private management took over the hall more than two years ago and spent around Rs 20 million on its renovation, an official said.
    
On September 6, which is observed as Defence Day in Pakistan to commemorate those killed in the 1965 war with India, the PAF ordered the private management to immediately stop screening Indian films.
    
"You are hereby directed to stop screening of Indian films in the PAF Cinema, Lahore, with immediate effect," the order said.
    
The private management of the cinema hall said it suffered huge financial losses after a ban was imposed on screening Indian films. Nadir Latif, an official of the management, said the hall had been closed since September 7.
    
Latif said when the ban was imposed, "Raaz 3" was being screened at the hall. "Barfi!" was next in line to be screened, followed by "Heroine".

"I have had to bear losses running into millions of rupees for not being allowed to show these movies," he said.
    
"Practically speaking, the PAF has closed the cinema and it should now give us compensation," he argued.

Latif has also approached PAF officials, seeking a relaxation of the ban. His case is based on the stated difference between an "Indian film" and a "foreign film of non-Indian" origin.
    
According to the current policy, movies starring Indian actors may not be treated as "Indian products" but simply as foreign films.
    
Such foreign films are routinely imported from Dubai. "Raaz 3" was cleared by censors in Punjab province as a product of Britain.
    
Latif said he attached a letter of the Punjab Censor Board with documents that he submitted to PAF authorities.
    
The letter read: "You are humbly informed that... Punjab Film Censor Board has been screening foreign produced films (sic), all of films are imported from Dubai, either English feature films or Urdu feature films. These are taken as foreign films.

Punjab Films Censor Board has never screened any film imported from India or has never issued Censor Certificate to Indian films."

(Agencies)

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