Karachi's Federal B Area loses its only cinema house

Published: August 26, 2015



Federal B Area, which used to house the city’s famous Arshi Cinema, had opened its doors to a similar venue a few years ago, offering its residents the latest Pakistani flicks in their neighbourhood. On Monday night, it lost this cinema to the city administration.

This move follows the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) earlier decision to shut down Sindbad amusement park in Gulshan-e-Iqbal around two weeks ago. The KMC insisted that the cinema was also operating illegally.

“The area was supposed to be a centre for educational and cultural activities but was turned into a cinema,” said the statement issued by the KMC. Insiders in the city administration said, however, that the KMC wants to turn the venue into a city council house.

Read: A matter of revenue? KDA takes Sindbad for a ride

Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui who has been given the additional charge of the KMC administrator, told The Express Tribune that the company operating the cinema violated KMC’s contract. The party to which the land was allotted handed it over to a third party, he pointed out.

Siddiqui defended KMC’s ongoing drive against recreational centres on grounds that they are violating city administration rules. He insisted more facilities will be shut down if they are found to be breaking rules. “We need to resolve issues and we may come up with much better centres for recreational activities,” he said. Siddiqui did not rule out the possibility of creating a city council house in place of the cinema.

Entertainment lost

Located before the Ayesha Manzil flyover, Cinepax City Auditorium cinema was catering to a large clientele in North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Federal B Area, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

Muhammad Ahad remembered his first trip to Cinepax City Auditorium at Ayesha Manzil, when he bunked his classes only to watch the newly released Pakistani movie, Waar, in the year 2013 along with a dozen of his classmates.

Read: Waste of resources: KMC bans unauthorised road digging

He remembers how his friends managed to get hold of the tickets at the eleventh hour and made their way to the hall. “It was a different experience,” he recalled. “We had only heard from our parents of the cinema culture but actually got to experience it when so many fancy cinemas started springing up in the city.”

Cinepax general manager Mohsin Yaseen told The Express Tribune that they had been running the cinema for the last three years and regularly used to pay their monthly bills to the KMC. “We have the receipts for the bills we paid,” he said. “How can we operate a cinema illegally for three years?”

The company’s CEO, Hashim Raza, said this is merely an administrative problem on part of the government and they are ready to challenge this decision in court.

“The government is confused on the issue,” he claimed, adding that they are a third party and hold full responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the building. “But this is the way we operate all our cinemas in the entire country,” he added.

Raza said they have a licence from the office of District Central deputy commissioner, insisting that this proved their operations were legal. He pointed out that their agreement was valid until the year 2020. As far as their customers are concerned, Raza said they reimbursed all the people who had bought tickets for Monday night’s shows.

Meanwhile, professionals associated with films and culture in the city are wary of such moves. The founder of cultural group, Tehreek-i-Niswan, Sheema Kermani, said such decisions affect the film industry. “We need to build centres for recreational activities in the city rather than shut them down,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Aug 26, 2015 - 2:23AM

    The cinema was probably a source of funding for MQM activities and rent/expenditures at Edgeware.Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2015 - 9:48AM

    ET Admins, you could have at least not used picture of a vip platinum cinema! Arshi was one of the oldest cinema houses of Karchi.Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2015 - 9:55AM

    “The area was supposed to be a centre for educational and cultural activities but was turned into a cinema,”

    Idiots in KMC, cinema fits the definition of cultural activities! Let the place run, its providing entertainment to such a big market.Recommend

  • ashar
    Aug 26, 2015 - 11:51AM

    I wonder they would have taken the same action had MQM been there in power it used to enjoy in KarachiRecommend

  • AZL
    Aug 26, 2015 - 1:50PM

    KMC has made whole of Karachi a Garbage dump and that they do not see or check!Recommend

  • reader
    Aug 26, 2015 - 7:59PM

    ppp has really become desperate and fully utilizing kmc to squeeze the most it can out of karachi in whatever time remainingRecommend

  • Zain
    Aug 26, 2015 - 9:39PM

    KMC is overfilling with sifaarshi corrupt people from interior sindh

    they do not let any thing in Karachi remain safe from their

    loot in the guise of such dramasRecommend

  • Dan
    Aug 26, 2015 - 10:47PM

    Idiot KMC Officials, they are already corrupt & have accumulated Millions of illegal funds for their own. Now when they’re stop getting their illegal shares from Cinema, they have closed it.. Recommend

  • Fahad
    Aug 26, 2015 - 11:12PM

    This islamic cultural centre was built during the mayorship of Naimat ullah khan and later in Mustafa kamal era this building turned into cenima. Since then this building has been used as cenima. That was shameful act taken by MK led govt. 10 years of protest bring cheers Alhumdullilah. Recommend

  • MJ
    Aug 27, 2015 - 2:21AM

    Is this the best KMC can do towards betterment of Karachi. How about Mr. Shoaib Ahmed drive around the city for 2 to 3 hours without prior notification to anybody in the lower ranks and see how “efficiently” KMC is keeping the city clean.Recommend

  • Hiba
    Aug 29, 2015 - 8:29AM

    KMC needs to set their priorities straight. Its pathetic how only after 3 years of the cinema running the realization of it dawned upon them.
    Besides if the place is for educational and cultural activities then cinema is a cultural thing.Recommend

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