Pakistan bans Indian film with Bin Laden lookalike

ISLAMABAD, (Reuters) – Pakistani censors have  banned an Indian comedy film featuring a lookalike of al Qaeda  mastermind Osama bin Laden, the film’s distributor said yesterday.

The ban had been anticipated on grounds that Islamist  extremists could use it as a pretext for attacks.

“They have banned it in Pakistan,” Nadeem Mandviwall told  Reuters.”We have moved an appeal against the board decision but  there’s little chance we will get relief.”

Mandviwall had earlier said censors had found no fault with  the film itself. “It’s because they think somebody might do something.  They’re not saying there’s something wrong in the film or the  picture is against Osama bin Laden or maligning him,” he said.

Walwater Media’s production, “Tere Bin Laden” (“Without  You, Bin Laden”), revolves around a television journalist whose  sole ambition is to gain residency in the United States.

The journalist, played by Pakistani pop star Ali Zafar,  films a video with the lookalike, which quickly goes viral  online, and attempts to migrate to the United States.

“Our full board have watched the movie and the majority has  decided it’s not suitable for exhibition,” Masood Elahi, vice  chairman of the Censor Board of Pakistan (CBP), told Reuters  before the ban was imposed. He gave no reasons for the ban.

The 57-member board is made up of members from the media  and public representatives and religious clerics.

Mandviwali said a ban would prompt a variety of interest  groups to seek similar bars on any film they found  objectionable.

Plans had called for the movie, had it escaped a ban, to be  shown with the amended title “Tere Bin,” (“Without You”),  because of sensitivity surrounding the name of the al Qaeda  chief.

Militants linked to al Qaeda are trying to topple the  civilian democratic government in conservative, Muslim Pakistan  and enforce harsh Taliban-style rule. They have killed  thousands in bomb and suicide attacks on minorities, markets,  mosques, security forces and western targets.

Al Qaeda and Taliban militants have taken refuge in  Pakistan’s border regions after U.S.-led forces ousted the  radical Taliban regime in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11,  2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

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