August 30, 2018 / 3:09 PM / a month ago

New Pakistani minister bans 'vulgar' movie billboards, critics fear rise of Islamists

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Punjab’s new information minister, Islamist politician Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, has announced a ban on “vulgar” movie billboards in the Pakistani province, angering those who fear the growing influence of hardliners under new Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A man stands at the ticket counter with film posters at a cinema in Rawalpindi, Pakistan August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Since Khan’s party appointed him last week, Chohan has caused a number of rows, including with his visit to the grave of a man sentenced to death for killing the governor of Punjab in 2011, and with critical remarks about Nargis, a popular Pakistani singer and actress.

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“If any vulgar billboard is found at any cinema in Punjab after three days, there will be a fine in first place, and if any one didn’t comply, that cinema will be shut down,” Chohan told a public meeting in the eastern city of Lahore.

“Is there any humanity that you print half-naked women and put them on big billboards?” he said.

Khan’s election victory in July was helped by strong support from Islamist parties. Chohan joined Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Justice Movement from the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.

“It’s pure moral policing,” the left-leaning politician and rights activist Ammar Rashid said on Twitter.

Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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