The State Bank of Pakistan has issued a notification instructing all banks, EMIs and PSOs to stop different modes of payment to online Indian subscription services. The notification says the instructions have come from the Cabinet Division, and specifically mentions video-on-demand service Zee5 as the target of the ban.

The Indian streaming platform came into focus earlier in October when Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) requested Zee5 to take down a Pakistani web series called Churails – at 10-part series where a group of women from different backgrounds get together to start a detective agency.

The show’s feminist themes were criticized in some sections of Pakistan for being vulgar, while many celebrated it for bringing taboo topics to the fore and initiating a discussion.

However, following heavy criticism for removing the web series, Churails was restored by Zee5 for Pakistan-based audiences soon after.

With the issuance of this order uncertainly exists over the status of popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. While not based in India, they host vast amounts of Indian content that is extremely popular with Pakistani audiences.

According to SBP spokesman Abid Qamar, these restrictions will apply to websites and applications producing predominantly Indian content. Mr. Qamar, in conversation with The Correspondent, said these restrictions are not applicable to Netflix or Prime Video.


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