Pakistan boycotts Oscar-nominated film on Osama hunt, US dramas

PTI Posted: Jan 30, 2013 at 0952 hrs
Karachi Pakistani movie distributors and TV stations are boycotting an Oscar-nominated film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden and popular US dramas to avoid offending sensibilities or sparking a violent backlash.

Pakistan may have a starring role in Kathryn Bigelow\'s \"Zero Dark Thirty\", which dramatises the 10-year CIA hunt for the 9/11 mastermind, but local cinemas are steering clear of a film they say could make people feel humiliated.

Similarly, a local cable distributor is blocking transmission of the smash hit dramas \"Homeland\", starring

Claire Danes, and \"Last Resort\" on the grounds they are against the national interest.

The boycotts are the latest form of unofficial censorship in the conservative country, where YouTube has been blocked for four months over a trailer for an American film considered offensive to Muslims.

\"Zero Dark Thirty\" has topped the box office charts in the US and earned five Oscar nods. But in Pakistan, the raid to kill bin Laden is considered one of the blacker incidents in the country\'s history.

A US Navy SEAL team killed the Al-Qaeda chief in his hideout less than a mile from Pakistan\'s premier military academy on May 2, 2011, embarrassing Pakistani leaders who insisted bin Laden was dead and exposing its military to accusations of incompetence or collusion with Al-Qaeda.

\"We have not and neither has anyone else bought Zero Dark Thirty,\" said Mohsin Yaseen, a representative for film distribution company Cinepax.

He described the film as \"pro-American\", despite controversy in the United States over its depictions of so-called \"enhanced interrogation techniques,\" widely seen as torture.

\"It has several scenes which could make us feel humiliated. It is against the interests of Pakistani nation,\" said Yaseen.

The chairman of the Film Censors Board told AFP it had not reviewed \"Zero Dark Thirty\" because there had been no request to do so.