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Indian film songs banned in Pak girls' schools - The Times of India

Posted By Krishnakant Udavant (kkant@bom2.vsnl.net.in)
Tue, 11 Nov 1997 08:11:21 +0500

Title: Indian film songs banned in Pak girls' schools
Publication: The Times of India

Girls' schools in Pakistan's Punjab province cannot hold cultural functions
or play Indian film songs at fetes organised by them within the school
premises, according to a recent order of the provincial government.

The order of the Punjab Muslim League government has come in the wake of
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs latest zeal to cleanse the idiot box
apparently to reverse the liberalisation that was allowed during the rule
of Ms Benazir Bhutto and thereby please fundamentalists.

Punjab's chief minister Shahbaz Sharif is Mr Nawaz Sharifs brother. While
the latter has instructed that male and female newscasters should not be
shown together on TV and that the female news readers must cover their
heads, his brother's government in Punjab has ordered that students and
teachers in girls schools and colleges must use the veil and abide by the
teachings of Islam.

Late last month a notification was issued saying: "Teachers, who do not use
a veil would face an official inquiry while students will face punishment,"
the English daily News has reported. Also, no man can enter a girls school
or college. These schools and colleges cannot hold cultural activities and
play Indian film songs at fetes.

But, it is not only Indian songs that seem to be worrying the Sharif
government. The pop music that young people love is becoming taboo. The
prime minister has appointed former spy master Brig Imtiaz as the managing
director of the NTM Channel to rid the electronic media of pop music and
"jean-jacket" culture. Brig Imtiaz was the chief of the political wing of
the Inter-Services intelligence and later he was made the head of the
intelligence Bureau.

An article in the News explains Mr Sharifs latest zeal thus: "When the
present government started normalising relations with India, the sudden
rise of religious fervour was witnessed again. The government with the
massive electoral mandate instead of focussing on the declining law and
order situation and the deteriorating economy, took upon itself to comment
on the hairstyles of the youth and their choice of music. The dress code
for the media would now be decided by the government in the true tradition
of the Zia regime."

Mr Sharifs criticism of Pakistan TV's programmes last month, particularly
his remarks about pop music and what he called the race with international
channels, is reviving the old debate about Pakistan's own culture.

"What is Pakistan's culture?" the question was hotly debated in the early
1970s when the then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told the country's
filmmakers to base their stories on Pakistan's own culture in. stead of
copying Indian films.

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