The past month has seen heated debates around the movie Joyland. When courts facilitate voices based on hearsay and conspiracy, it undermines the impartiality of the judicial system. Therefore, it is a welcome fact that the Sindh High Court has dismissed a plea seeking a ban on the movie, and has stated that unnecessary censorship suffocates a society, stifles creativity and growth. While this order by the SHC should be applauded, it should also be remembered that the film remains restricted in Punjab.

According to the 2017 census, Punjab is home to 64.4 per cent of the country’s transgender population. It is not only the largest province in Pakistan but also houses the largest proportion of the community. Added to this, the film is indigenous to Punjab. Not only is it set in the province, but half of the film is spoken in Punjabi. Therefore, it is unfortunate that it is prevented from reaching the very masses it is inspired from and created for. If anything, the SHC verdict should shed more light on the baselessness of the ban as the law is independent across the nation and not relative to provinces.

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Another problem with Joyland’s smear campaign is that it is against an already vulnerable population. According to Amnesty International, at least 18 transgender people were killed in the country between October 2021 and September 2022. Not only do stunts like this increase the discrimination hurled toward the community but also emboldens regressive forces in society.

Pakistan has a long history of film censorship. As a country, we must remind ourselves that a fictional work of art must be viewed as just that: fiction. We must realize that these stories come from real-life experiences that must be humanised. Not only has the Khwaja Sira community long existed in the country but have historically held positions of prestige. It is time we remind ourselves of these facts and view the trans community as equal citizens.

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Unnecessary Censorship

47 1 8
28.11.2022

The past month has seen heated debates around the movie Joyland. When courts facilitate voices based on hearsay and conspiracy, it undermines the impartiality of the judicial system. Therefore, it is a welcome fact that the Sindh High Court has dismissed a plea seeking a ban on the movie, and has stated that unnecessary censorship suffocates a society, stifles creativity and growth. While this order by the SHC should be applauded, it should also be remembered that the film remains restricted in........

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