Team Joyland raises its voice against “grave injustice” to the film
"Legally speaking, Joyland is still certified to release in Punjab and Sindh on 18th November," filmmaker Saim Sadiq pointed out
Late on November 13 evening, filmmaker Saim Sadiq and Team Joyland issued an official statement on the revocation of certification for the film by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) Islamabad. Calling it “grave injustice”, they said that they were gutted by the development but intend to raise their voice against it.
“I am compelled to point out that this sudden U-turn by the Pakistan Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is absolutely unconstitutional and illegal,” said Sadiq.
He stressed that the film had been seen and certified by all the three censor boards in Pakistan in August 2022.
Apart from CBFC, whose jurisdiction has been limited to Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Cantonments, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan after the 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan in April 2010, there are separate censor boards for Punjab (Punjab Film Censor Board, PFCB) and Sindh (Sindh Board of Film Censors, SBFC) headquartered in Lahore and Karachi respectively.
Sadiq pointed out that the 18th amendment in the Pakistani constitution gives all provinces the autonomy to make their own decision. “Yet the ministry suddenly caved under pressure from a few extremist factions—who have not seen the film—and made a mockery of our federal censor board by rendering their decisions irrelevant,” he said.
According to him, the ministry has also gone against the constitution by ordering the other provincial censor boards (Sindh and Punjab) to follow its decision. He pointed out that it’s an order that the ministry has no constitutional right to give and hoped that it would be disregarded by the Sindh and Punjab censor boards.
“Legally speaking, Joyland is still certified to release in Punjab and Sindh on 18th November,” he pointed out.
He said that the response garnered by Joyland across the world has been humbling and energising. “I am thankful for all the messages on mainstream and social media in support of the film and against this decision to hinder the film’s release in its home country, which show that Pakistani audiences are sensible and don’t want to be dictated about which film they should or should not watch,” he said.
He urged the ministry to review the decision and return to the Pakistani citizens their right to watch the film that had made the country and its cinema proud the world over. “A number of people have put in years and years of hard work and money behind this film, and we cannot allow that to go to waste based on baseless rumours and complaints from a few individuals that have suddenly overridden the law and the system. Hence, as artists and filmmakers and citizens, we must not sit back, and we must raise our voice collectively,” he said.