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Army funds Pakistani films for their own Image building, says Pakistani actor-director Khalid Ahmad

The seventh edition of the Jagran Film Festival, which kick-started on July 1 will screen over 400 films this year in 16 cities

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ISLAMABAD: Personnel of Armed Forces march-past during full dress rehearsal of Pakistan Day parade. Image source: INP
  • Just 4-5 years back, the film industry in Pakistan has started picking up, said Ahmed
  • The industry in Pakistan now has become more confident, as they now make good money.
  • Pakistani army funds a host of movies across the border, in what can also be called an “image building exercise

NEW DELHI: Veteran Pakistani actor-director Khalid Ahmed on Tuesday, July 5, revealed that many films which are made in Pakistan are funded by their army for their own image-building.

Present here for the seventh Jagran Film Festival, the filmmaker was here to hold a discussion on “Our Cinema, Their Cinema” along with Indian filmmaker Anand L. Rai, filmmaker and politician Raja Bundela and Pakistani filmmaker Shahbaz Sumar.

Ahmed said that the Pakistani army funds a host of movies across the border, in what can also be called an “image building exercise”.

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Khaled Ahmed. Image source: www.napa.org.pk
Khaled Ahmed. Image source: www.napa.org.pk

Sumar, who recently shot a short film with other prominent filmmakers of both India and Pakistan called Zeal For Unity, said that the films that are made in Pakistan are “independent films, there are no studios there. The funds come from TV networks and the army”.

About the film industry in Pakistan, Ahmed said that its just 4-5 years back that it started picking up.

“During the era of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq – when entertainment taxes were introduced, strict laws based upon ultra-conservative jurisprudence – was an obstacle to the industry’s growth in 1980, it became difficult to make movies and an industry collapsed. But it’s the last three to four years the industry picked up, the tradition of what is called Lollywood, the tradition of filmmaking in Lahore has changed,” said Ahmed, who is the uncle of Indian filmmaker Imtiaz Ali.

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Sumar added that now the industry in Pakistan has become more confident, as they now make good money.

“We now have 40 working screens. The middle class is now coming up like crazy, there is a lot of cash in hand. There are lots of people now who want entertainment. This is you can call the take-off point for the Pakistani film industry,” Sumar said.

The seventh edition of the Jagran Film Festival, which kick-started on July 1 will screen over 400 films this year in 16 cities. The five-day Delhi leg of the festival ended on Tuesday. (IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    It is a very serious revelation regarding Pakistan’s Army. Instead of funding, they should make their image themselves.

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US-Taliban Meeting Cancelled, 14 Members on “The US and UN Blacklist”

A day later, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed the talks during a press conference, calling it a “game changer.”

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US, Taliban, Pakistan
FILE - Taliban political chief Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai, in the first row, second from left, Abdul Salam Hanafi and other Taliban officials pray during the intra-Afghan talks in Moscow, Feb. 6, 2019. VOA

An upcoming meeting in Pakistan between a delegation of the United States and Taliban representatives has been cancelled, according to information coming from both sides.

A Taliban leader confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that the meeting was cancelled, “by the Americans.” A Taliban statement issued later in the day said the talks were postponed because many members of its 14 person negotiating team were unable to go overseas since they are on “the US and UN blacklist.” Several of them are on the U.N. Security Council sanctions list which bars them from international travel.

Meanwhile, a U.S. official said Zalmay Khalilzad, who was supposed to lead the American delegation, is not planning to visit Islamabad this week.

US, China, Taliban
FILE – U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, center, speaks during a roundtable discussion with Afghan media at the U.S Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan Jan. 28, 2019. VOA

The U.S. said it had not received an official invitation from the government of Pakistan for this meeting which was first announced by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid a couple of days ago.

Mujahid’s statement had set February 18 as the date of the talks and said a formal invitation had been issued by Pakistan. In addition, he said, the Taliban delegation would also meet the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A day later, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed the talks during a press conference, calling it a “game changer.”

“The next round of negotiations with the Taliban will be in Pakistan, and as a result of these negotiations, there is a chance of stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

US, China, Taliban
FILE – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) speaks with U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (3rd L) during a meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Islamabad, Pakistan, in this handout photo released Jan. 18, 2018. VOA

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry reacted strongly to the announcement of a meeting in Islamabad, saying it was in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

“#Afghanistan complains to #UNSecurityCouncil on #Pakistan’s engagements with the Taliban on which #Afg Govenrment is not consulted,” Tweeted Sibghatullah Admadi, a spokesman for the Afghan foreign office.

Previously, Afghanistan launched a similar complaint against Russia for allowing Taliban members to travel to Moscow for a conference in which nearly 50 Afghans, including various political leaders, former jihadi commanders, and civil society activists were invited. However, the Afghan government was not invited to that conference because the Taliban have so far refused to engage with the Kabul administration despite pressure from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and others.

President Ashraf Ghani lashed out at those attending the conference saying they had no “executive authority” to make any agreements.

“Let hundreds of such meetings be held,” he said.

Some analysts say Ghani’s statements indicated his frustration at being left out of the negotiations between the Americans and the Taliban that first started last Summer. Since then, the two sides have held several rounds of talks.

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The last meeting in Doha early January lasted for six days and Khalilzad said the two sides had agreed “in principle” to a withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in return for guarantees that Afghan soil will not be used by any terrorist groups or individuals.

Speaking in a public event at Washington based United States Institute of Peace, Khalilzad said the Taliban do not want to “sit with the government alone” because they did not want to give President Ghani an advantage in the presidential elections scheduled in July.

“There are indications that they will be willing to sit with the government in a multi-party arrangement,” he said. (VOA)