The cross cultural exchange of shows between India and Pakistan might see a decline after PEMRA's recent crackdown on Indian TV shows airing in the country and Indian TV stars are gutted.
Indian TV shows have been deemed “sensitive in nature” by Pemra and Chairman Pemra Absar Alam has enforced an air time on the shows. He said, "Pakistani TV channels can air Indian content with less than 6% of total air time, starting October 15, 2016.” Any additional airtime for Indian or foreign content on local TV channels will result in legal action from Pemra, he added.
Hindustan Times reported that TV stars across the border are the least happy with this decision, citing various reasons that will impact the industry and its exchanges between the two countries.
“This decision will definitely affect the cultural exchange between the two countries. I have grown fond of Pakistan due to the love I have got from my fans there. We connected over my show. Does the [Pakistani] government want to cut off the mutual ties that exist now?” questioned one popular Indian TV star Divyanka Tripathi.
Hiten Tejwani of popular show Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi found it 'unfathomable' that such a decision has been taken. “The Pakistani government should allow more Indian shows to be aired. Why should all channels, actors and fans suffer because of this blanket order? People should understand that entertainment shouldn’t be targeted,” he said.
Actor Iqbal Khan is adamant that people will find a way to continue watching their TV shows, regardless of the ban. He said, “Nothing can stop entertainment. People who love Indian shows will find a way to watch them, be it online or through pirated means."
While the ban in Pakistan may not affect the Indian industry by a large margin, the impact of the decision is yet to be seen.
“The Middle East and regions in Africa have Indian channels, which are hugely popular there. Moreover, audiences in South-East Asian countries love Indian shows. These countries have bigger, newer markets for Indian channels. The Pakistani government’s decision might affect the channels, but only in a miniscule way. What will be interesting to see is how this decision affects the channels that air Pakistani shows in India.”