Bombay Hight Court rejects petition seeking ban on Pakistani artists in India: reports

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In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court rejected a petition that sought to ban artists from Pakistan in India. The petition, filed by cine worker and artiste, Faaiz Anwar Qureshi, had urged the government of India to prohibit Pakistani artists, including actors, musicians, singers, lyricists, and technicians, from collaborating with or working in India. 

As per a report by Bollywood Hungama and Live Law India, the division bench of Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Firdosh P Pooniwalla ruled against this plea, emphasising the importance of promoting peace and cultural harmony through artistic exchanges.

The court’s ruling, delivered with a strong focus on the role of art, music, sports, culture, and dance in fostering unity and harmony, sent a powerful message. The judges observed, “A person who is good at heart would welcome in his country any activity which promotes peace, harmony, and tranquillity within the country and across the border. Arts, music, sports, culture, dance and so on are the activities which rise above nationalities, cultures, and nations and truly bring about peace, tranquillity, unity, and harmony in the nation and between nations.”

Highlighting the idea that art transcends borders and brings people together, the court stressed that being a patriot does not necessitate animosity towards individuals from abroad, even neighbouring countries. They argued that a true patriot is someone who is selfless and devoted to their country, a person of goodwill.

The court also underlined the Indian government’s commitment to promoting global peace and security, in line with Article 51 of the Indian Constitution. This was especially pertinent as the Pakistan Cricket team has been participating in the ongoing World Cup 2023, hosted in India. The court recognised that the presence of the Pakistani team in India for nearly a month was made possible by the positive steps taken by the Government of India in the interest of peace and harmony. The court’s decision underscored the importance of supporting initiatives aimed at international peace and security.

The call for a ban on Pakistani artists harks back to 2019 when various sections of the country demanded restrictions on cultural and artistic exchanges with Pakistan. Consequently, artists like Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Atif Aslam, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, among others, have refrained from working in India.

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