Zero Dark Thirty, the film based on al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s Abottabad house raid by American forces causing his death, is accused of being biased in depicting Pakistani society for the audience. Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif however tries to look at the charges and make out whether they have any merit or the pretext resting the protest upon itself is mistaken.
The case with Pakistani Censor Board is that it generally takes up a defensive stance whenever the subject taken up by the movie is related to Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. Two such Bollywood movies that were also treated with a ban in Pakistan recently include Ek Tha Tiger and Agent Vinod. Though, the former movie was based on the mushy love affair between Indian Intelligence officer who woos away the Lady Pakistani Intelligence officer whereas the latter has the story plot where an Indian spy defeats the conspiracies of Pakistani Intelligence officers.
The ban however resulted in great business by pirated DVD sellers in Pakistan. Owing to experiences with such movies, movie distributers were not in a mood to experiment this time and voluntarily decided to not take up the movie.
Pakistani forces’ dilemma:
Another fact that heightened Pakistan’s sense of embarrassment at Zero Dark Thirty was the portrayal of Pakistani Army napping during the raid resulting in successful completion of the raid. Some other objections that Pakistani’s had with the movie were their depiction as Arabic speaking and Hummus eating people which they are not.
Nevertheless the movie also educates viewers that all one needs to carry out a raid in Pakistan is a bucket of water, workstation and some men with masked faces.
On the defensive:
In defense their movie, the filmmakers said that incidents of young assassins targeting Americans in Pakistan are common and in the outskirts anything that people feel for the white people is hate. Even development agency workers also are forced to use disguises in order to save their lives.
Senior journalist Nadeem F. Piracha has charted out some clichéd understanding that both Americans and Pakistanis have about each other. In case of Americans, they have a presumption that anyone as ordinary a citizen as a Pakistani housewife wears a suicide vest while visiting the market for groceries. On the other hand, the layman Pakistani thinks that Americans teach their children to make Drones as a pastime.