KARACHI: Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Ms Marriyum Aurangzeb in her inaugural address to the Consultative Conference at Karachi convened for the formulation of the first ever national policy on Film, Production and Broadcast said that the Government would take the ownership of the Industry in line with the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was very keen to set into motion an effective process for its revival.
She said that the purpose of the consultative process was to ascertain the views of all the stakeholders and seek their input with a view to evolve a policy which was comprehensive in scope and could help in achieving the desired objectives.
Marriyum said that Pakistan had a very vibrant and thriving film industry in the sixties and seventies which served as an effective forum not only to provide entertainment to the masses but also to reinforce the cultural values and the national heritage that had a galvanizing impact on national integration and unity.
She lamented the fact that the industry failed to counter the onslaught of the other mediums like internet and the digital technologies in the absence of patronage at the official level and a pragmatic strategy to deal with the emerging challenges.
The continuous nosedive and decline in the film industry was a great national loss in terms of ideological moorings as the new developments obscured the role of the film and broadcast production in promoting and strengthening cultural values and the national heritage, she added.
The minister observed that the emergence of fissiparous tendencies in the society and the narratives of religious extremism and terrorism over the last 35 years were undoubtedly the disastrous consequences of the absence of a powerful medium like films to help in the development of a credible and effective counter-narrative. She said though some brave and enterprising elements were still in the business but their efforts were not enough in the prevailing debilitating environment.
Marriyum said that Pakistanis were a resilient nation and the armed forces of the country and its people had given unparalleled sacrifices for eliminating the scourge of terrorism but the Prime Minister felt that only the military muscle of the state was not enough to take the fight against religious extremism and terrorism to its logical conclusion and it needed to be supplemented by an ideological counter-narrative to challenge the narrative of the enemies of the country.
She said that in the estimation of the Prime Minister films were the most powerful medium to achieve that objective and a comprehensive policy for the revival and development of film, production and broadcast policy was needed, she added.
She said because of the permeating culture of religious extremism, terrorism and intolerance, the image of the country had been badly tarnished in the comity of nations as well, but our first priority was to set the things right on the internal front which would also help us in dealing with the image problem at the international level.
The minister told the audience that the consultative conference had been convened to pursue a common goal which was the revival of the film industry and expressed the hope that a policy evolved through the collective wisdom of all the stakeholders would surely witness the re-emergence of a strong and dynamic film and broadcast production industry in the country that would go a long way in fostering national unity, countering divisive and disruptive narratives and refurbishing the image of the country at the global level.
The inaugural session was attended by governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair, Senator Nihal Hashmi, film producers, artists, exhibitors, distributors and other stakeholders associated with film and broadcast production industry.
Later talking to the media persons the minister said films would be used to strengthen national unity and stability, introducing the Pakistani culture and heritage at the global level and to create awareness among the people against religious extremism and terrorism.
She said extremism and terrorism that had proliferated during the last 35 years had promoted a culture of intolerance in the society which needed to be neutralized and films were the medium through which that objective could be achieved.
She said the objective of the film policy was to highlight the positive aspects of our national life and culture as well as to provide healthy entertainment to the youth.
The minister told the media men that PTV was soon launching a separate entertainment channel for children .She said that PTV academy would also commence a country-wide talent hunt for the industry.
She said the government wanted to project real identity of Pakistan at the international level. The minister observed that in the sixties the film industry in Pakistan ranked third in the world.
She said that the government wanted to formulate a film policy that could be remembered by the posterity.