MUMBAI, (21 November 2011) – The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) deemed 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words offensive or ****ographic, including the word “Jesus Christ” according to reports in Pakistan local media.
The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), a Mumbai-based Christian activist NGO takes strong exception to Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) including Jesus Christ in the list of “obscene” words in text (SMS) messages, which raises serious concerns about basic freedoms, like that of express and religion in that country. If such an action was taken by a non Islamic or secular nation, singularly naming a god of any other faith, there would have been a furore.
The PTA letter dated November 14 by PTA’s Director General (Services) Muhammad Talib Doger gave cell phone companies until Monday (21-11-11) to implement the order. The letter said the order was legal under a 1996 law preventing people from sending information through the telecommunications system that is “false, fabricated, indecent or obscene”. It also stated that free speech can be restricted “in the interest of the glory of Islam.”
How does the words “Jesus Christ” fit the above description, is what The CSF asks the Pakistani authorities.
“One wonders why gods of other religions have not been mentioned in the list and Christians, who are already facing persecution in Pakistanhave been singled out for such treatment” said Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary. He referred to an article by Bytes For All (BFA) a Pakistani human rights group, which says – “if such thing happened in any other country, there would be an outrage already and if it was directed (mistakenly or intentionally) towards Muslims, the amount of an outrage would be uncontrollable”.
The CSF has called upon all opposing the list and especially the exclusion of “Jesus Christ” to write to the PTA chairman ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and also the Pakistan communications minister, Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan ( email@example.com ) to issue instructions to stop this violation of a basic human right.