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Pak fumes at Kabul Express

india Updated: Feb 12, 2007 13:43 IST
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Indian director Kabir Khan's Kabul Express, already banned in Afghanistan over its depiction of the ethnic Hazara community, has now elicited protests from some quarters in Pakistan for reflecting the "traditional anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam mentality of India".

Malik Sikandar Awan, chairman of the Punjabi Pakhtoon Ittehad (PPI), led a protest demonstration against the film outside the Karachi Press Club and demanded that both India and Pakistan ban it.

He said the "double standards" of India were a hurdle towards establishing peaceful and friendly relations between Pakistan and India, Pakistan Press International (PPI) news agency reported.

Islamabad should also lodge an official protest with New Delhi, he said.

Awan demanded that Pakistan ban the film, ban circulation of its CDs and the cable network be directed against showing "such vulgar films", the Daily Times quoted him as saying.

Both governments have so far maintained silence on the Yash Chopra produced film.

The film, shot extensively in Afghanistan despite security problems, has received critical acclaim in India and in the international film festival circuit.

Starring John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, the film is about two Indian journalists and an American woman looking for Taliban.

They come face to face with one, and he holds them at gunpoint and seeks a ride to the Pakistan border.

The 'Taliban' character makes a disparaging remark about Hazaras waylaying travellers.

But he turns out to be a Pakistani soldier masquerading as an Afghan member of the Taliban militia.

On approaching the Pakistani border, he displays his identity card as a soldier of the Pakistan Army, but is shot dead by Pakistani border guards who go by the official Islamabad line - there are no Pakistani fighters in Afghanistan.

While the film is officially banned in Afghanistan, its CDs are freely available there, as also in Pakistan, where the cable network has been showing it.

Indian films are popular in both countries because of cultural and linguistic affinity.

The Hazara community of Shia Muslims straddle both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border, where they are often targeted by the sectarian bodies of the majority Sunnis.

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