The Punjab Department of Information and Culture (PICD) has decided to ban all commercial theaters and related activities that have taken place in the premises of the Lahore Arts Council (LAC) and Alhamra Halls for many years. Alhamra Art Center, Alhamra Shopping Mall and Cultural Complex hosted and provided the space to stage meaningful performances adding to the tiny entertainment industry.
Commercial theater has been in hot water for some time, with several notifications and complaints made in the past about its unethical and vulgar content. According to PICD, in response to public concerns and government policies, they had issued several warnings to artists and producers to avoid the complete closure of commercial theaters. However, they allegedly did not follow the instructions and continued to create content with undertones of vulgarity.
Initially, the Alhamra Halls – which fall under the jurisdiction of LAC – had the main purpose of carrying out literary and cultural activities. However, commercial theaters were introduced to generate funds to maintain their business when the place faced financial problems. Apparently it didn’t work out as expected. Sources mentioned that LAC then became known as a popular popular spot and that other routine cultural and literary activities almost came to an end due to low turnout.
PICD Secretary Raja Jahangir has taken seriously the producers, writers and artists of some unethical and vulgar performances. “Our plan is to promote good and ethical entertainment activities in Alhamra and, therefore, our department is in contact with NGOs and parallel theater producers and universities,” he commented on the decision to prohibition. âOur collaborations will lead such institutions to start performances in the halls of the Alhamra in the future. Our institution comes under a ministry and to respect its rules, we cannot provide platforms to display vulgarity, âhe added.
âTherefore, we plan to close the Alhamra Halls commercial theater,â Jahangir concluded.
According to department sources, an official notification has yet to be released regarding the closure of commercial theaters by Alhamra Halls and so far all theatrical activities are functional and ongoing. However, they were told that only commercial theater and related activities will soon be banned. The decision will be finalized at the next BOG meeting of the Lahore Arts Council authorities.
On the contrary, it has also been revealed that some officials show strong interest in continuing the commercial theatrical performances and are also responsible for this incident. “They are due to be transferred in the coming days and Director Saman Roy will be appointed permanent executive director to streamline the affairs of the Alhamra Arts Council,” said a senior ICDP official.
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