“As a local distributor, there was no financial viability for me. The film was already widely available in the [pirated] DVD market,” said Mohsin Yaseen, general manager of Cinepax, the largest multiplex chain in Pakistan . “But as a film buff, the movie was inaccurate about Pakistan. If you’re going to say something about a complicated part of the world, then you should say it right.”

But Nadeem Mandviwalla, chief executive of Mandviwalla Entertainment, who has been buying and distributing Hollywood blockbusters for three decades in Pakistan, played down the hype.

“This whole ‘ban, ban, ban’ bit is a scam. It’s an assumption and just pure hype that’s perfectly timed for Oscar season,” Mandviwalla said. “There is no politics [regarding screening “Zero Dark Thirty”]. There are tons of movies that don’t make it here. It’s not a political decision the army or the ISI [Pakistan’s intelligence agency] makes for us. We, as businessmen, make it. And it was bad business modeling to bring this movie to Pakistan.”