Judgment Reserved On ‘Maalik’ Film Ban

Judgment Reserved On ‘Maalik’ Film Ban

The federal government has told the Lahore High Court that the exhibition of film “Maalik” was banned for being a threat to the country’s sovereignty and stability.

During final hearing of several identical petitions against the ban imposed on the movie, Deputy Attorney General said the film contained character assassination of politicians, judges and military in a bid to incite people against state institutions.

The law officer said unrest was feared in the country if exhibition of the film was not stopped. He said federal government had the right to impose a ban as it received complaints from the public.

Counsel for the petitioners argued that the exhibition of indecent films was being allowed in the country otherwise but the government only banned Maalik that actually highlighted social evils, especially corruption.

Lawyers Azhar Siddique and Sheraz Zaka represented the petitioners.

Mr Zaka said the impugned ban was against the freedom of expression and beyond the federal government’s jurisdiction.

He said that the Federal Censor Board had accorded approval by granting a universal certificate to the film yet withdrew the permission five days after the film’s screening.

“Once permission is granted and legal rights are created, then such vested rights cannot be withdrawn,” he argued. The lawyer reiterated that the federal government had lost its jurisdiction to impose ban on films as such powers had been devolved to the provinces under the 18th constitutional amendment.

Assistant Advocate General told the court that the Punjab government had not banned the film.

Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza reserved the judgment as all the parties concluded their arguments.

Punjab Opposition Leader Mahmoodur Rasheed and others had filed the petitions.


This news was previously published in DAWN and is being republished here with permission.