LAHORE: Even though the government and Lollywood filmmakers are making tall claims about the revival of the film industry, there isn’t any clear policy to actually do so. To boot, the lack of coordination among different departments concerned is hampering any improvement.
On one hand the Federal Ministry of Culture has announced that the screening of Indian films will most likely be blocked on Eid in the event that four Pakistani movies are released, while on the other, decision is in the making by the Punjab government to waive off entertainment tax on the screening of foreign movies in the province.
A three-member committee comprising Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Punjab Assembly MPA Farah Deeba and Khwaja Imran has proposed to waive entertainment tax on the screening of foreign films to facilitate cinema owners and film distributors. The committee was formed on the order of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Farah Deeba told The Express Tribune that a summary has been forwarded to the CM and a notification in this regard would be issued after the CM approves them. She said, “The decision is almost finalised. The CM tasked us and after having meetings with stakeholders we have decided to propose this thing”.
According to Deeba, “The federal government should give funds for the revival of film industry and we are ready to cooperate as well. Cinemas are also an important part of the film business and we ought to facilitate them as well”.
Pakistan Cinema Mana-gement Association Chairman Qaiser Sanaullah Khan said that film exhibitors and cinema owners had ‘convinced’ the Punjab Government to wave off the entertainment tax on screening of foreign movies. “We have a meeting scheduled with the federal minister for culture too. We will brief him on the subject and request him to reconsider his announcement of blocking the screening of Indian film on Eid if four Pakistani films are released,” he said.
United Film Association Chairman Amjad Farzand said that it was true that there was lack of coordination among various departments concerned. He said that they were in touch with the federal ministry and had agreed the minister to ban screening of the Indian movies on Eid. “The Punjab government and the federal ministry should be asked that why don’t they have the same policy to improve the state of film industry,” he maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2010.
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