Lahore, October 30 (The News): Tense Pakistan-India relations and the resultant unannounced ban on Indian movies have reduced the number of cinema shows in ten of the largest cities of Pakistan to 33 per cent.
Work on under-construction projects has also stopped, which is a threat to the future of Pakistan Rs 10 billion (US$ 96 million) investment and jobs of thousands of people.
According to a survey, construction of new multiplexes in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Okara, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Gujranwala, Gujrat and other cities has been stopped with immediate effect.
Before the rising tension in Pakistan-India ties, work was in progress to install 20 new screens in Lahore, 16 in Karachi, seven in Islamabad, three in Okara and two each in Hyderabad, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Gujranwala and Gujrat.
Cinema owners have also cancelled two shows daily and reduced the number of staff. In Lahore, the cinemas on Abbottabad Road as well as the multiplexes in Fortress Stadium, Jauhar Town, DHA, MM Alam Road Gulberg and Edgerton Road are deserted.
Permanent and contract employees have started submitting applications for new jobs.
Several managers and contract employees said expenditures of a cinema cannot be met only by screening English films, adding that a cinema hall requires different products.
They said although the production of new movies has started in Pakistan, only one-third of a cinema hall is filled despite rigorous publicity.
Managers and other employees have called upon the Pakistan government to take measures to protect their livelihood by deciding on the future of the cinema business at the earliest.