Pakistan sends official entry to Oscars after 50 years

Updated 05 August 2013
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Pakistan sends official entry to Oscars after 50 years

KARACHI: Almost after a gap of five decades, Pakistan will send its official entry to the 86th Academy Awards under the foreign language film category.
However, the committee has not yet decided which film they will send to Oscars 2014.
The Best Foreign Language Film Award category was created in 1956 for non-English speaking film that is produced outside US.
Till date, Pakistan has submitted only two films — Akhtar Kardar’s “Jago Hua Savera” in 1959 and Khwaja Khurshid Anwar’s “Ghunghat” in 1963 — as the official entry to the Oscars. Well-known filmmakers, actors and writers will form the core selection committee which will decide the official entry.
Heading the committee are prominent celebrities including Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who is an Oscar award-winning Pakistani-Canadian documentary filmmaker, writer Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), director Mehreen Jabbar (Ramchand Pakistani), actor Rahat Kazmi, filmmaker Akifa Mian, Samina Peerzada and arts academic Framji Minwalla, according to PTI.
“Pakistan has not officially submitted any films for the Academy Awards consideration in 50 years because the state has never taken film seriously, neither as a cultural art form nor as a valuable communal experience,” British-Pakistani director Hammad Khan said, according to various media reports.

“In all those years, Pakistan has been so preoccupied with coups, wars and religion that cinema has only been reduced to low entertainment by the powers-that-be. It is, of course, monumentally idiotic to ignore the power of cinema in the development of any nation’s narrative.”


Egyptian singer Sherine banned after claiming lack of free speech

Updated 23 March 2019
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Egyptian singer Sherine banned after claiming lack of free speech

  • The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of “The Voice,” apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking
  • Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted

CAIRO: An Egyptian singer has been banned from performing in her home country after suggesting that it does not respect free speech.
A video clip circulated online shows Sherine Abdel-Wahab, during a performance in Bahrain, saying: “Here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.”
Egypt’s Musicians Union responded late Friday by barring the singer, popularly known by her first name, from performing. It also summoned her for questioning.
Samir Sabry, a pro-government lawyer with a reputation for moral vigilantism and suing celebrities, filed a complaint against the singer accusing her of “insulting Egypt and inviting suspicious rights groups to interfere in Egypt’s affairs.”
Last year, Sherine was sentenced to six months in prison over a similar clip from a concert in which she joked that the Nile is polluted. The sentence was suspended upon appeal. She apologized for the remark, calling it a “bad joke.”
The singer, who hosts the Arabic version of “The Voice,” apologized again after the latest remarks in a TV interview aired late Friday, saying she was joking.
“I am very tired. I made a mistake. I am sorry. I appeal the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who is our father. I feel that I was persecuted. I did nothing. I love Egypt,” she said.
Egyptian authorities have waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi led the military overthrow of Mohammed Mursi in 2013. The local media is dominated by pro-government outlets that attack anyone seen as criticizing the country or its leaders, and several people have been jailed or fined for violating vaguely written laws outlawing such criticism.