Pakistan bans Joyland from theaters

A government official said Pakistan had reversed an earlier decision to screen Oscar-winning work Joyland and had banned the film from theaters.

The film, which tells the love story between a married man and a transgender woman, was Pakistan’s entry for next year’s Academy Awards and won at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. .

In a statement released on Sunday night, Joyland chief Saim Sadiq condemned the government’s decision, calling it “unconstitutional and illegal”.

The on-screen relationship between the two characters has angered some conservatives for weeks in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where transgender people are seen by many as outcasts despite some progress. about transgender rights.

The Department unexpectedly gave in to pressure from some extremist factions – who had not seen the film – and mocked our federal censorship board by calling their decision inappropriate.Joyland director Saim Sadiq

A landmark Supreme Court ruling designates transgender people as a third gender, acknowledging that they do not identify themselves as male or female.

The law aims to protect the rights of transgender people.

Mobashir Hasan, the Pakistani government’s chief information officer, said the film was “uncertified”, meaning it was banned from showing in theaters under the jurisdiction of the central censorship board.

He did not explain why the film lost its certification, although it had previously been approved by the country’s three film censorship boards, and said the reversal of the decision was allowed by order of 1979.

It is not clear which cinemas will be affected or how the ban will be enforced.

Mr. Hasan shared a notice with senior government officials that Joyland is not certified “all over Pakistan” in cinemas under the jurisdiction of the Central Film Censorship Board.

Tahir Hassan, the chairman of CBFC, said one panel “did not endorse” the film and he was unsure about the other two.

Salman Sufi, an adviser to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, said he would ask the information minister to review the film and the ban.

He told The Associated Press that a ban on a film like Joyland, which highlights the problems facing transgender people in Pakistan, “deprives them of their right” to talk about their issues.

Mr Sufi said marginalized communities deserve a voice, just like everyone else, including politicians.

“Art is the best form for it, rather than traffic jams or protests,” he says personally.

Sadiq said in an Instagram post that the film was viewed and certified by all three censorship boards in August 2022.

“The Constitution of Pakistan gives all provinces the power to decide for themselves. However, the Department suddenly gave in to pressure from some extremist factions – who had not seen the film – and mocked our federal censorship board by calling their decision inappropriate. ,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Pakistani government established a hotline for transgender people in an effort to protect them from discrimination and harassment.

The government is trying to pass an amendment to the transgender rights law, allowing people to choose their gender identity for government documents, education certificates and identity cards. previously issued.

But the proposed amendments have caused controversy, with hardline clerics opposing them.

Joyland will be released in Pakistan on November 18, to coincide with Transgender Awareness Week, and preliminary voting for the Academy Awards will begin next month. Pakistan bans Joyland from theaters

Fry Electronics Team

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