Peshawar: The Pakistan government is
mulling a proposal to give the status of "film city" to the scenic Swat valley, where the army conducted a major operation last year to flush out hundreds of Taliban fighters.
The Standing Committee on Culture and Tourism of the
Senate or upper house of parliament has recommended that the
government declare Swat and Murree, a popular tourist
destination near Islamabad, as film cities to boost the
domestic cinema industry.
The measures is also aimed at boosting tourism and
trade activities in the flood and insurgency-affected Swat
valley, which has suffered immensely because of a sharp
decline in tourist and commercial activities in the past few
Thousands of domestic tourists used to visit Swat,
located 160 km from Islamabad, till the Pakistani Taliban
established a parallel administration in large parts of the
valley in 2007.
The army succeeded in flushing out most of the
militants though the inflow of tourists is yet to pick up.
After the successful army operation codenamed
Rah-e-Rast, the security situation in Swat has improved and
the proposal to declare Swat as a film city will lead to
further improvements, officials said.
Artists and filmmakers will be provided strict
security to ensure an environment conducive to the movie
industry, the officials said.
Moreover, the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
province, of which Swat is a part, has abolished film tax as
the measure affected the cinema industry and led to the
closure of most movie halls.