Many Pakistanis on the internet are making fun of their government quite a bit right now:
If Pakistan’s telecom regulator has its way, millions of mobile phone users may be unable to send text messages with “offensive” and “obscene” words like crap, damn, hobo, flatulence, gay, lesbian and slime from Monday. These words are part of a list of nearly 1,700 words and terms that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has deemed as offensive, and wants mobile phone operators to filter from SMS text messages.
Operators have been directed to start blocking text messages containing these words from November 21.
The move has been greeted with ridicule and derision, particularly by Pakistan’s vociferous users of internet forums and micro-blogging sites like Twitter.
Since the PTA’s lists of offensive English and Urdu words and terms – containing 1,106 and 586 items respectively – became public a few days ago, it has become the butt of jokes on the web.
While the English list has 148 items containing a four-letter swear word, it has had many scratching their heads by including words and terms like athlete’s foot, deposit, black out, drunk, flatulence, glazed donut, harem, Jesus Christ, hostage, murder, penthouse, Satan and “flogging the dolphin”.
This sentence would not be okay in Pakistani text messages anymore:
I was drunk in the penthouse with my harem of hostages, just flogging the dolphin like I always do before I have glazed donuts, when I realized I had athlete’s foot, which is OMG so embarrassing LOL!!
Anyway. In all seriousness, though, this is not a good thing, because, as Think Progress points out, LGBT people in Pakistan have virtually no protections:
Homosexuality is “punishable by whipping, imprisonment or death” and the country does not provide any discrimination protections on the basis of sexual identity or orientation or recognize same-sex civil unions or marriages. In July, conservative Islamic political and religious officials condemned a gay rights meeting being held at the U.S. Embassy as “cultural terrorism” against the country. “Such people are the curse of society and social garbage,” the Islamic officials said. “They don’t deserve to be Muslim or Pakistani, and the support and protection announced by the U.S. administration for them is the worst social and cultural terrorism against Pakistan.”
At least they’re getting made fun of by Pakistani people, themselves.
I do want to know whether “santorum” is on the list, though.