The State Bank of Pakistan has ordered all banks to block Pakistani users from subscribing to Indian streaming platform Zee5 with immediate effect, according to a notification issued this week.
While it is unclear as to why this action was taken, reports have suggested that the reason behind this is Asim Abbasi’s web series Churails, which riled up the moral brigade in Pakistan prompting authorities to take this decision.
Responding to the notification, Churails director Asim Abbasi tweeted the title of a poem penned by Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz to protest the oppressive regime of dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.
It is pertinent to mention here that Churails was earlier also banned for Pakistani audiences. However, it was restored in less than 48 hours. According to Abbasi, the show was taken off after the streaming platform received complaints from authorities here.
Featuring Sarwat, Yasra Rizvi, Nimra Bucha, Meher Bano and Omair Rana among others, Churails is the story of four self-proclaimed ‘Churails’ who come together to open a covert detective agency to expose cheating husbands amongst the city’s elite. As their operations expand, they come to be saviours of abused, harassed and mistreated women. The 10-episode series covers a myriad of issues such as child abuse, sexism, the domination of class and race and aims to challenge the hypocrisy of patriarchal societies.
Meanwhile, Mehreen Jabbar, who directed Eik Jhoothi Love Story – another original web series for the platform – expressed her disappointment over the ban.
“Don’t do anything yourself, just keep banning,” commented the director.
Mehreen’s directorial, featuring Bilal Abbas Khan and Madiha Imam, in the lead, is a quintessential Pakistani love story, starkly different from Churails. It released on October 30.
Zee5 had commissioned five original web series from Pakistan. While two of them have released, three more are in the pipeline.