Starting today, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority will prohibit Pakistanis from texting more than 1,600 words it considers offensive or obscene, including “gay,” “lesbian,” “virgin,” “homosexual,” “condom,” “intercourse,” “breast,” and “Jesus Christ”:
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”.
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.”