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Pakistan Bans Bollywood Films, Indian Content Over Kashmir Dispute

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai will no longer be seen on Pakistani television.

Pakistan has imposed a blanket ban on Bollywood films and other Indian content on its television networks and radio stations amid increasing tension between the two nuclear-armed rivals over Kashmir.

The ban will be enforced starting October 21 and any TV and radio station found violating it will be shut down, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said.

Indian movies are popular in Pakistan and Bollywood employs many Pakistani musicians and actors.

Officials said the step was taken following reports that some Indian filmmakers were refusing to use Pakistani actors in movies, while some Indian cinema owners also stopped screening films with Pakistani casts.

"It shows lack of self-confidence on Pakistan's part. It is an unfortunate development," said Vikas Swarup, a spokesman at India's Ministry of External Affairs. He said there was no "blanket ban" on Pakistani artists performing in India, although he said New Delhi may start imposing selective bans for security reasons.

Pakistan's Bollywood ban nullifies a law introduced by former President Pervez Musharraf which permitted the screening of a daily maximum of 86 minutes of Indian content in the country -- legislation which was increasingly flouted in recent years.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters