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Pak panel seeks ban on Indian TV channels

January 13, 2009 22:58 IST

A Pakistan parliamentary panel has sought a ban on Indian television channels on cable networks.

The standing committee on information and broadcasting, which recommended the ban in the upper house, also criticised the government's decision to allow Indian films to be screened in movie halls.

The screening of Indian films in Pakistan was banned after the 1965 war between the two countries. In recent years, Pakistani authorities have allowed the screening of a limited number of Bollywood productions following pressure from distributors and theatre owners, who say Indian films are needed to bring more people to cinema halls.

During a meeting of the Senate committee on Monday, opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Q Senator Tariq Azeem's call for the ban was endorsed by other members.

Azeem said while the Indian government had removed books by Pakistani authors from bookstores in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, the Pakistan government had given a free hand to cable operators to broadcast Indian films and serials.

Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani, also of the PML-Q, said cable operators should also stop screening Bollywood movies on their networks.

Haji Mohammed Adeel, a senior leader of the Awami National Party that is part of the ruling coalition, differed with the other members. He said allowing the Indian channels to be aired will enable Pakistanis to know New Delhi propaganda.

However, Adeel agreed with the other members that Indian entertainment channels should be immediately banned.

Though Indian entertainment channels are very popular across the country, most Pakistani cable networks do not air Indian news channels.

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