Punjab information minister bans 'vulgar' film posters, derides entertainment industry

Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Thursday ordered a province-wide ban on "vulgar" and "indecent" film posters displayed inside and outside cinema houses.

According to an official notification shared on his Twitter account, Chohan has ordered that "necessary action be taken for the removal of vulgar/indecent film signboards under Indecent Advertisement Probation Act 1993 and Punjab Motion Picture Ordinance 1979".

The terms "vulgar" and "indecent" have not been elaborated upon in the notification, and it remains to be seen how the culture minister will choose to define them for official purposes.

The notification seems to be a buildup of comments Chohan made in a video circulated on August 29 on social media. Speaking in Urdu and Punjabi to address a crowd, the minister used questionable language while speaking about the media industry.

Apparently referring to the measures taken today, he promised that: "if any vulgar poster goes up in or outside a cinema house in Punjab, there will first be a fine and if they continue the practice, the cinema would be shut down."

"Yani yeh wakhri jawani hai jo cinema houses pay ai hui hai, (this is a strange youthfulness that's taken over cinema houses)," he continued. "Is this civilised? That you print out pictures of half naked women and put up huge posters of them?"

"People watch porn for that [kind of entertainment]," he added.

Turning to stage shows, Chohan said: "I had wished that this matter [of what is shown in stage shows] also came in my jurisdiction."

Singling out famous stage actor Nargis to make his point, he said that he would have made her a haji (someone who has completed the religious pilgrimage) if it was in his power.

"You would have seen her fast 300 days instead of [the] 30 [days of obligatory Ramazan fasts]," he added.

The crowd present during this speech meanwhile clapped and cheered the information minister on.

The Punjab information minister concluded saying that it was "not only Indian content, but what Pakistani films and stage shows portray that has led towards the decline [of the industry]".

Nargis asks Chohan to choose words wisely

Talking to Geo News, former stage actor Nargis condemned the Punjab information minister's remarks about her.

"I left the entertainment industry a long time ago and am happily settled in my home. Neither I discuss others, nor do I want people to discuss me,” had she said.

"I have heard what this minister had to say and I would like to tell him that he's at an important position and should choose his words wisely," Nargis said, while adding that no one has the right to use such derogatory remarks about any woman and that all citizens are respectable.

"I advise the minister to choose his words wisely next time, or else every respectable citizen has the right to pursue legal action," the former actress stressed.



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