Bollywood's much-anticipated movie "Tiger Zinda Hai" has been refused the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for import by Pakistan's Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.
The Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer is the sequel of thriller drama "Ek Tha Tiger", which too hadn't released in the country.
Pakistan's Central Board of Film Censor (CBFC) Chairman Mobasher Hasan told The Express Tribune: "'Tiger Zinda Hai' has been refused the NOC, citing the same reason as the first instalment of the franchise.
"The image of Pakistan and its law enforcement agencies has been compromised."
Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF), the movie is about two spies -- one Indian and the other Pakistani. It is slated to release in India on December 22.
Sulaiman S. Lalani, Executive Director, Geo TV Network, which was geared up to distribute the movie, is disheartened.
"Our preferred option was that 'Tiger Zinda Hai' should have been allowed for import, presented to censor board, and if any objectionable material was found against the interests of Pakistan/ Islam, exhibition of the film shouldn't have been allowed then.
"In fact, if there was any thing against the national interests of Pakistan in the film, we ourselves wouldn't have sought the exhibition but this could have been done only after preview of the film," Lalani told IANS over phone from Karachi on Wednesday.
He said they were verbally advised that Ministry of Information has decided not to issue NOC for import of "Tiger Zinda Hai" with "no reasons assigned".
Lalani is expecting a written response from both parties on Thursday.
Given Salman's fan following in Pakistan, there was a high interest level in the movie.
"Pakistan loves Salman Khan. 'Sultan' was a mega blockbuster and minted approximately $3 million at the box office in Pakistan. His 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' was also loved by fans here," Lalani said.
"Tiger Zinda Hai" director Zafar told IANS in an earlier interview that it's a largely a story about humanity.
"The film is a very human story... it is not political at all. The idea is that when there is a fight between right and wrong, what is at stake is humanity. And there's nothing bigger than humanity," he said.