LHC bans screening of anti-Pakistan movie

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday banned an Indian film about the 2008 Mumbai attacks in response to a petition filed by the man New Delhi accuses of masterminding the killing of 166 people over three days.


Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba which the United Nations has listed as a terrorist organisation, had petitioned the court to ban the Kabir Khan-directed feature film Phantom on the basis that it maligns Pakistan and vilifies Saeed and his current organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

“The government has been told that the film should not be presented for showing in Pakistan and to take necessary steps in this regard,” lawyer AK Dogar said.

In its reply to the petition in court, the government had “vehemently denied” that there were ever any plans to screen the Indian film.

Phantom is described as a political thriller set in aftermath of the Mumbai attacks and features Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif opposing a villain named “Harif Saeed” – in what is believed to be an obvious but not direct reference to the JUD chief.

Yahya Mujahid, a spokesperson for Saeed and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, applauded the court’s ruling.

“This film was calling for an attack on Hafiz Saeed, and this was clearly terrorism on the part of India, to release such propaganda. So we think the High Court has given a very good decision on this.”

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is banned in Pakistan. Saeed has long abandoned its leadership and is now the head of its charity wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

India says it has handed over evidence against him to Pakistan which should have detained him. The issue has stood in the way of rebuilding relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors.