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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Pakistan confirms Bollywood ban
A cinema hall
Only 18 films were produced in Pakistan last year
Pakistan will not lift its 40-year-old ban on Indian films, the government has said - despite intense domestic pressure to do so.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to a delegation of Pakistani film producers, according to the Indian news agency PTI.

He said his government would not oppose Pakistani actors in Bollywood films.

Powerful figures in the Pakistan film industry campaigned for the screening of Indian movies in Pakistan.

They say this is the only way the country's troubled film industry can be revived.

An industry in crisis

"The local film industry has proven itself to be completely unable to meet the demands of the local market," Shahzad Gul, one of Pakistan's top producers, recently said.

Domestic movie-going figures have declined sharply in recent decades as many Pakistanis turned to pirated video or DVD versions of Indian films.

There were 1,300 cinema halls in the 1970s, compared with 270 at present. Most movie theatres have since been converted into petrol stations or shopping centres.

Domestic film production has also decreased dramatically: Only 18 movies were produced in Pakistan last year, against the 300 or so per year in the 1970s.

"Bollywood has already invaded our homes. Our cable networks air Indian films the very day they are released in India. Besides, we have easy access to all kinds of CDs and DVDs," Mr Gul said.

He also proposed that, if any controls are needed at all, the government could limit the number of movies imported to Pakistan under some kind of quota system.

The ban on Indian movies was imposed after the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965.

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