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Pakistan Bans Online Payments to India

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Directive specifically targets Zee5, a platform that has gained in popularity after broadcasting Pakistani serial ‘Churails’

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday issued a notification banning the use of online payments for Indian content in Pakistan, including via credit cards.

Titled ‘Blocking of Payments for Subscribing Zee5,’ the notification by the SBP’s Payment System Department reads: “We are in receipt of a letter from the Cabinet Division, Government of Pakistan whereby they have instructed to stop different modes of payments including credit cards for subscribing Indian content in Pakistan, including Zee5 video-on-demand service.”

Sent to the heads of banks and payment system providers, the notification calls on all such institutions to “ensure meticulous compliance of aforementioned instructions of Government of Pakistan and submit compliance status to PSD, SBP by Nov. 13, 2020.”

Zee5 is a digital entertainment platform based out of India, which offers an-over-the-top platform for streaming shows and movies from Bollywood to regional cinema. It had recently gotten a popularity boost in Pakistan because it was featuring content created by Pakistanis, including the shows Churails and Ek Jhooti Love Story.

Experts say the measure is unlikely to have a major impact on subscriptions from Pakistan, claiming that any payments routed through regions such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates would allow service providers to continue offering services to Pakistanis.

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