LAHORE: The Punjab government has formed a committee which will present a report on the airing of cartoons depicting Hindu mythology and if they can be banned in Pakistan.
The committee is headed by Punjab government spokesman Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and comprises Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Cultural Wing President and MPA, Farah Deeba, MPA Khawaja Imran Nazir and other officials.
Even though Indian TV channels are currently off-air in Pakistan, several cable operators are broadcasting Indian content to meet the demands of their clientele.
A meeting of the committee was held in Lahore, which discussed ways to get these cartoons banned in Pakistan.
Deeba, who attended the meeting, told The Express Tribune that participants had discussed “cartoons which glorified mythology characters such as Hanuman had a bad impact on the minds of the young children.
She said that “these cartoons were in contradiction with the teachings of Islam and young kids could not differentiate between what’s true and what’s not so these should be banned.”
Deeba said that the meeting was attended by bureaucrats and the information, culture and youth affairs department secretary was also present.
However, banning Indian cartoons is not in the Punjab government’s control. According to Deeba, “We have taken our notes but cannot ban these cartoons on our own as this is a federal subject. We will however approach the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority through the federal government to seek a ban on such cartoons,” she said.
According to the 1998 census, 1.6 per cent of Pakistan’s population is Hindu.
Eminent artist and former principal of Lahore’s National College of Arts Salima Hashmi questioned the decision to form a committee for this purpose.
“Why doesn’t the government make a committee to know the root cause of militancy and why doesn’t it set up committees to find reasons of young children becoming suicide attackers?” she questioned.
Hashmi said that in India the number of Muslims was greater than the number of Muslims in Pakistan, so if Muslim children in India were not affected by mythology cartoons, why would children in Pakistan be affected? Hashmi told The Express Tribune, “Isn’t there anything constructive that they can work on? Why waste time on setting up such committees and inquiring into such matters which are not pertinent in the current situation?”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2010.