Cinema, theaters still await security

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Lahore: Poor security arrangements with no walk-through gates and CCTV cameras at most of the single screen cinemas and theaters put citizens’ life at risk.

There are six private theaters (Alflah, Mehfil, Tamaseel, Naz, Shalimar and Alhamara, Bhatta Chowk) while seven government-run theaters in Lahore (Alhamra Hall No. 1 and 2, Mall Road, Govt. Alhamra Hall No. 1 and 2, Gaddafi Stadium, Alhamra Open Air Theater, Punjab Auditorium and Punjabi Complex).

During a telephonic interview with News Lens Pakistan, the Cinema Management Association President, Qaisar Sanaullah said, “Single-screen cinemas, Gulistan, Metropole, Capital, Capri, Angoori, Malik Theater and Nageena, were already facing financial loss and could not afford security gadgets. It is impossible for these cinemas to buy walk-through gates and CCTV cameras at the rate of PKR 2,00,000 ($2000) to PKR 5,00,000 ($5000). They cannot afford these gadgets.”

Sanaullah admitted that one of the major reasons for decline of cinema industry was terrorism. He said terrorism could be eliminated if proper attention was paid to cinema industry by providing entertainment to the masses. “The cinema industry will get a boost if government provides fool-proof security to citizens.”

Sanaullah maintained that cinema halls full of audience would ensure a decrease in terrorism and extremism. “In the present situation, terror incidents keep people away from cinemas and theaters.” Therefore he asked the government to provide them security devices; otherwise, citizens’ life would be at risk.  However, he held that few other cinemas and Alhamra Halls, Mall Road had comparatively better security arrangements.

A common citizen Aamir Ali said that he could not live without entrainment. “We want some relaxing hours at cinemas. Frankly speaking, we avoid cinemas and theaters whenever a terror incident occurs in any part of Pakistan and especially in Lahore,” he said while talking to News Lens. Ali demanded that government should provide security to cinemagoers.

Similarly Kamran Khan, another cinema visitor while speaking to News Lens Pakistan said, he felt threatened when going to cinema. “I feel freighted when I do not see security measures at cinemas.”

However, the Executive Director Punjab Arts Council, Chaudhry Asif said there was no security issue at open-air theater. “Open-air theater has been closed for the winter and security arrangements. Walk through gates and CCTV cameras would be installed in the summer season,” Asif told News Lens Pakistan.

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