In the recent past, Pakistan stepped into the digital arena as great web content like Asim Abbasi’s Churails and Mehreen Jabbar’s Ek Jhoothi Love Story were released on Indian streaming platform, Zee5. Both the series received rave reviews from both sides of the border.
However, when it comes to the Indo-Pak relationships, freedom of expression and creative collaborations are often only short-lived. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday has directed all banks to stop the online payment of Indian streaming platforms including Zee5.
“We are in receipt of a letter from the Cabinet Division, Government of Pakistan; whereby, they’ve instructed to stop different modes of payments, such as credit cards for subscribing Indian content in Pakistan, including Zee5 video-on-demand service,” stated a SBP’s Payment System Department’s notice issued to the heads of the banks and payment system providers. The notice particularly mentioned Zee5.
“In this regard, it is advised to ensure meticulous compliance of aforementioned instructions of the government of Pakistan and submit compliance status to PSD, SBP by November 13,” the notice further read.
After the news started circulating on Twitter and other portals, many rose to the occasion to protest against the decision.
“Ban brigade at it again,” tweeted director Mehreen Jabbar in response to the notice. She further added that is actually only going to hurt our own industry, nothing else.
Ban brigade at it again. Khud khuch na karo bus ban kartey raho. This is actually only going to hurt our own industry, nothing else. https://t.co/EbULzUL0Ll
— mehreenjabbar (@mehreenjabbar) November 12, 2020
Asim Abbasi also shared his disappointment.
Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekehnge. 💔 https://t.co/R7Dup30XoV
— Asim Abbasi (@IllicitusProduc) November 12, 2020
Three more Pakistani web series are yet to be released on Zee5, however, this ban culture in Pakistan will greatly affect the viewership.