'Zero Dark Thirty' won't be shown in Pakistan cinemas

Although it won't be coming to the big screen in Pakistan, the Oscar-nominated film about the CIA's hunt for Osama bin Laden is reportedly widely available on pirated DVDs.

"Zero Dark Thirty," the Oscar-nominated film by American director Kathryn Bigelow about the CIA's decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, apparently won't screen in Pakistan, where it is largely set.

Film distributors in Pakistan have decided it's not worth their while to bring the controversial movie to the South Asian country where bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces, The Telegraph and BBC News report.

Mohsin Yaseen, general manager for marketing at Cinepax, the largest cinema chain in Pakistan, told The Telegraph in an article published online Friday that distributors didn't want to risk upsetting censors, the country's military and its militant groups.

"It's a touchy subject for a Pakistani audience," he told The Telegraph.

"It did affect our business but for us it's better to be safe than showing that," Yaseen told BBC.

The movie, which tells the story of a CIA agent's determined quest to track down bin Laden after the 9/11 terror attacks, has been nominated for five Oscars, including best picture. The al-Qaida leader was killed on May 2, 2011, by U.S. Navy Seals who launched a covert raid on his hideout  in Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the capital Islamabad.

The targeted killing was a huge embarrassment for Pakistan's powerful military, which apparently was unaware that the world's most-wanted man was hiding on their soil, less than a mile from a military training academy.

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Although "Zero Dark Thirty" won't be shown on the big screen, Pakistanis apparently have no trouble being able to watch it at home. The movie is widely available in Islamabad on pirated DVDs, according to BBC.

"This film is about one of the most important historical events to have happened in Pakistan," Aftab Ali, who was in a video store, told BBC, "so I'm keen to watch it."

Meanwhile, the makers and star of "Zero Dark Thirty" are refuting claims that the depiction of the CIA's interrogation methods in the hunt for bin Laden endorses the use of torture.

Jessica Chastain, who plays the tenacious CIA operative Maya, told Sky News: "It's absurd to think that. That's just another example of people reappropriating the film for their own advantage."

She added: "It's against torture, it's not a pro-torture film."

The movie opened in several Western European countries this week.

 

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