State Bank bars credit card payments for ZEE5 subscriptions
The State Bank will be blocking credit card payments for people who want to subscribe to Indian content in Pakistan, including the ZEE5 video-on-demand service.
In a notification, the State Bank said that a letter from the Cabinet Division has instructed it to stop different modes of payments, including credit cards, for subscribing to Indian content in Pakistan. It specifically mentioned ZEE5 in its notification.
The State Bank has told all banks to ensure compliance and submit compliance status by November 13.
ZEE5 is an Indian video on demand service run by Essel Group via its subsidiary Zee Entertainment Enterprises. It was launched in India on February 14, 2018 with content in 12 languages.
It became popular in Pakistan after it began airing Pakistani shows. It currently has five Pakistani web-series on its platform, including Churails, starring Sarwat Gilani, Yasra Rizvi, Mehrbano and Nimra Bucha and Ek Jhooti Love Story, starring Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam. The Pakistani shows produced for ZEE5 have all Pakistani casts and crews.
With this move, Pakistanis will not be able to watch these series via the ZEE5 app.
ZEE5 is known for producing series that would not otherwise be able to be produced in Pakistan. Churails, for example, became the subject of controversy for its stark dialogue that people criticised for “spreading vulgarity”.
ZEE5 even removed the show from its app for Pakistani audiences after the criticism grew heated but later made it available again.