Pak court seeks Govt response as Hafiz Saeed pleads to ban ‘Phantom’

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Saif Ali Khan in Phantom
26/11 Mastermind Hafiz Saeed Wants ‘Phantom’ Banned in Pakistan

A Pakistan court has issued a notice to the federal and Punjab government as well as the censor board just a day after Jammat-ud-Dawa chief and alleged Mumbai 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed pleaded to ban on the release of Kabir Khan’s directorial film, Phantom.

Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan of Lahore high court heard the petition and asked the Pakistan censor board and the federal and Punjab governments to furnish a reply on Saeed’s petition on August 13. AK Dogar, Hafiz Saeed’s counsel, requested the court to issue a stay order but the judge refused. “It is necessary to hear the respondents first,” the judge observed.

The councel also told the court that “there is a direct threat to the life of the petitioner (Saeed) and his associates emanating from the content of the trailer of Phantom.” He said the grievance of the petitioner is that Phantom has been advertised to be exhibited in Pakistan. “It is obvious that dialogues coming out of the lips of the different Indian actors and actresses will poison the minds of Pakistani public and will portray Hafiz Saeed as terrorist even though JuD has not been declared as a proscribed organisation,” Dogar added.

“The United Nations has also admitted that the JuD is a charitable organisation and is working not only in Pakistan but also outside the country,” he argued in the court. Dogar said the movie is scheduled to be exhibited in India and Pakistan on August 28. “The government should be restrained from allowing exhibition of this movie in Pakistan,” he said. The petitioner said the Indian film has “venom against Pakistan and JuD.”

The film is based on crime author Hussain Zaidi’s novel Mumbai Avengers. Phantom is set in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and deals with global terrorism. So far the Pakistan censor board has not cleared the film for screening in the country. In the past, Saif Ali Khan’s Agent Vinod and Salman Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger were also banned from being screened in cinema halls in Pakistan.

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