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Kashmir Dispute: Pakistani Cinemas Stop Screening of Bollywood Movies

Major Pakistani cinemas and film distributors have banned the screening of Indian movies across the country in what they call an act of solidarity with Pakistan’s armed forces.

The movie boycotts have been announced in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

The decision follows a rise in military tensions between Pakistan and India over the divided territory of Kashmir.

It also follows September 29 move by the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) to prohibit Pakistani actors and technicians from working on Bollywood sets.

Image source Flickr

Image source Flickr

At least one right-wing nationalist politician has ordered Pakistani actors to get out of India.

Bollywood movies are immensely popular in Pakistan, whose own movie industry is much slimmer.

Big Pakistani cinema chains and screens say they have taken a spontaneous decision not to show Indian movies for at least a couple of weeks, or until what they call normality returns in relations between the two countries.

They admit their cinemas may suffer financially because of the popularity of Bollywood movies in Pakistan.

Disputed Kashmir has been a flashpoint for decades and has sparked two wars.

On September 30, Indian villagers living close to the border with Pakistan fled their homes, the day after India said it had launched strikes targeting militants in Kashmir.

India said it conducted “surgical strikes” along the de facto border. Pakistan denied that, saying two of its soldiers died in cross-border shelling.

People from a number of villages in Punjab state were leaving amid fears the confrontation might escalate.

The current bout of violence was triggered by a September 18 attack on the army base in Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir where 18 soldiers died. It was the deadliest of its kind for years.

Narendra Modi’s BJP government, which came to power promising a tough line on Pakistan, has been under tremendous pressure to retaliate for what many in India believe is state-backed terrorism.

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