After the landmark verdict of Bombay High Court (BHC) earlier this month, has India removed the ban on Pakistani artists?
For a recap, the Indian high court dismissed a petition that called for a blanket ban on Pakistani artists working in India.
The judges, Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Firdosh P Pooniwalla, went further and provided valuable insights into the significance of cross-border cultural cooperation.
They emphasized that activities such as arts, music, sports, culture, and dance transcend national boundaries, cultures, and nations. Instead, they foster peace, unity, and harmony within and between nations.
The judges firmly rejected the petitioner's plea, calling it a "retrograde step in promoting cultural harmony, unity, and peace" and noting that it had no merit.
The petitioner's request had sought directives from several Indian ministries including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of External Affairs, and Ministry of Home Affairs.
These directives aimed to prohibit the employment of Pakistani actors, technicians, singers, musicians, and lyricists in India.
Over the past decade, the strained political relations between India and Pakistan have unfortunately taken a toll on various forms of cultural expression, particularly in the realms of arts, culture, and sports.
In the early 2010s, the Indian audience was enamoured by Pakistani television serials such as Humsafar (2011) and Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012), leading Indian television channels like Zindagi to showcase syndicated shows from Pakistan.
This cultural exchange even allowed Pakistani stars like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan to venture into Bollywood projects.
In the realm of music, the immense popularity of Pakistani artists like Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan transcended nationality.
However, a turning point occurred in September 2016 following the Uri attack, leading to resolutions from prominent Indian industry bodies like the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees.
These resolutions collectively decided to ban Pakistani artists from engaging in the Indian film industry and put an end to the era of cross-border exchanges in arts and entertainment.
However, after the court's decision, can Pakistani artists now work in India?
The same question was asked by a fan of Pakistani singer Falak Shabir. He reshared a press release by Federation of Western India Cine Employees which he had received back in 2015.
Despite the high court's order, the ban on Pakistani artists from working in India seems to be still in place and nothing has changed in nearly a decade.
In fact, when Fawad was questioned by US-based Variety magazine on whether he will ever work in India again; he said that it doesn’t depend on him but on whether Indians want to work with him.
For latest news and updates, watch Samaa TV live: