India

Kashmir tension: Pakistan cinemas ban Indian films

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone displays a creation by India designer Manish Malhotra in Delhi (20 July 2016)i Image copyright AP
Image caption Bollywood films featuring the likes of Deepika Padukone, right, are immensely popular in Pakistan

Major cinemas in Pakistan have banned Indian films in what they call an act of solidarity with their country's armed forces.

The film boycotts have been announced in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

The move follows a rise in military tensions between the two countries over the divided territory of Kashmir.

On Thursday a group of Indian film-makers, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association, banned Pakistani actors from working in Bollywood.

At least one right-wing nationalist politician has ordered Pakistani actors to get out of India.

BBC South Asia Editor Charles Haviland says that is not the first time the poor state of India-Pakistan relations has had a cultural knock-on effect.

Our correspondent says that Bollywood movies are immensely popular in Pakistan, whose own movie industry, although enjoying a revival, is much slimmer.

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Media captionBollywood producer Rahul Aggarwal has criticised the ban on Pakistani artists

Big Pakistani cinema chains and screens say they have taken a spontaneous decision not to show Indian films for at least a couple of weeks, or until what they call normality returns in relations between the two countries.

They admit their cinemas may suffer financially because of the popularity of Bollywood movies in Pakistan.

Confrontation

Disputed Kashmir has been a flashpoint for decades and has sparked two wars.

Earlier on Friday, Indian villagers living close to the border with Pakistan fled their homes, the day after India said it had launched strikes targeting militants in Kashmir.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Indians living close to Pakistan have been evacuated as tensions escalate with Pakistan over the Kashmir conflict

India said it conducted "surgical strikes" along the de facto border. Pakistan denied that, saying two of its soldiers died in cross-border shelling.

People from a number of villages in Punjab state were leaving amid fears the confrontation might escalate.

The current bout of violence was triggered by an 18 September attack on the army base in Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir where 18 soldiers died. It was the deadliest of its kind for years.

Narendra Modi's BJP government, which came to power promising a tough line on Pakistan, has been been under tremendous pressure to retaliate for what many in India believe is state-backed terrorism.

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