The Central Board of Film Censors has decided to contact the Council of Islamic Ideology to conduct a “critical review” of Sarmad Khoosat’s Zindagi Tamasha, Adviser to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said Tuesday.
Awan said in a tweet that the film producer had been instructed to postpone the movie’s release.
The decision by the government came hours after censor boards in Punjab and Sindh stopped the film’s release on the scheduled date.
In a notification, the Punjab censor board that the film will be reviewed again due to “persistent complaints received from different quarters”. The film is set to be re-examined in Punjab at 3pm on February 3. The Punjab censor board directed Khoosat and his team do not release the film till a final decision is made.
Similarly, the Sindh Board of Censors said in a statement that the film could cause “unrest” within some segments of the society and “may deteriorate and be detrimental to the peaceful circumstances in the country”.
In order to avoid such a situation, the board decided not to release the film till further notice, the statement read.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan last week decided to hold a protest demonstration against the film’s release. However, it was called off after a statement from the Punjab Information and Culture Department.
Irfan Ali Khoosat, the director of Khoosat Films, has filed a petition against the TLP for trying to interfere with the release of the film starring Arif Hasan, Samiya Mumtaz and Eman Suleman.
Khoosat claimed that the TLP was “not entitled to interfere in the smooth running affairs of releasing the film” as they had been allowed to release the film but the “defendant refused to accede the lawful and genuine request of the plaintiff” and had threatened them.
The right-wing TLP was formed in 2016 and has emerged as a major religious force in the country. An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi recently sentenced 86 people to jail for 55 years each for protests after the arrest of their party chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
The TLP previously protested the release of Aasia Bibi, threatened a Dutch ambassador over tweets by far-right politician Geert Wilders and economist Atif Mian.
The film, Khoosat explained in the petition, was to show a “soft image of society, reduce stress from the minds of people of the country and to promote positivity in society”.
“The film was duly presented before the performa defendants and they passed the film for release on screens all over Pakistan after removing some objectionable content,” the petition read.