At the time of creation of Pakistan the Censorship of Films was a Provincial subject and different Boards were functioning at Lahore, Karachi and Dacca under the Cinematograph Act, 1918. Films certified by one Board could not be exhibited in another province without undergoing the process of Censorship in that province. Sometimes a film passed by one Board was declared unsuitable for exhibition in the other province by their respective Board. In order to bring uniformity in the decision of the Boards and to mitigate the film producers/importers inconvenience and financial hardships, the subject of Censorship was centralized through enactment of the Censorship of Films Act, 1963 in November, 1963.The head Office remained at Rawalpindi from 1963 to 1975 and was shifted to its present creation thereafter. As a first step two branches of the Board were established at Rawalpindi and Dacca considering in view the geographical configuration of the country. Subsequently, on persistent demand of the Film Industry, one more branch of the Board was established at Lahore. After fall of Dacca in 1971 a new branch was established at Karachi in its place in 1972. In September 1979, the Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979 was promulgated which repealed the Censorship of Film Act, 1963 and the Cinematograph Act, 1918.
The main function of the Central Board of Film Censors is to examine suitability of films for public exhibition or otherwise under the guidelines provided by the Federal Government in the shape of film censorship code. Producers of locally produced films have the option to apply for Censorship of their films to any of the office of the Board at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi whereas imported films are examined by the Board only at Islamabad. Films belonging to Foreign Missions are also examined at Islamabad. The Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979 and the rules made there under focus upon the broad policy framework and administrative procedures for the certification of films for public exhibition. The film censorship code covers all the important aspects of society and lays down the guiding principles for film making in Pakistan. To make the film industry abide by the code for censorship, strict policy measures are adopted from time to time and, while certifying films, every effort is made to ensure that no scene, dance or dialogue gets through which is derogatory to the accepted moral standards of the society. A film is declared unsuitable for public exhibition if, directly or indirectly, it undermines Islam, national security or foreign policy objective or glorifies crime or projects themes, which are permissive in character and likely to corrupt impressionable minds.