Pakistan is facing the ire of a recently announced ban, by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), on using certain words (from English, Urdu, Punjabi and other languages) in mobile texts.
The PTA has handed over a list of 1,109 English words and 586 Urdu words to wireless service providers, instructing them to block texts containing words considered false, fabricated, indecent or obscene.
The list, as it stands now, contains a number of words and phrases like monkey crotch, deep throat, man paste, and mastabate; the latter is the incorrect spelling, one assumes, for the word masturbate.
I think #PTA just enhanced the vocab for us. Never knew words like these ever existed, Twitter user, Sabina posted on #PTABannedList.
The list, and perhaps more specifically the selection of words on it, have left, most people, literally, baffled and wondering how the officials managed to produce so exhaustive and obnoxious a list of words and phrases, some of which have never been heard before.
A blogger, who wished to be identified as @Karachikhatmal, pointed out an interesting and rather sarcastic fact: It occurred to me that the #PTABannedList was compiled using existing SMSes - making it an invaluable historical documentation of our times.
This is not the first time the PTA has imposed such bans. It had, previously, blocked pornographic Web sites, in addition to social networking locations like Facebook, for nearly two weeks.
The #PTABannedList is also an excellent opportunity for our street language and slang to evolve and grow by coming up with newer abuses, blogger Shahid Saeed posted on Twitter.
PTA's actions have left everyone in something of a fix, as they try hard to figure out if there are any words in the English language left for them to use, considering that the list even contains such words as deposit, taxi, mango and several others.
Thanks to PTA I can now curse like a Sailor. Thank u for helping me improve my vocabulary and giving me a reason to laugh. #PTABannedwords, Shobz tweeted.
The decision is receiving all the expected criticism, judging by these comments on Twitter.
Another Twitter user, Fariha Akhtar, wrote: Damage to #ebanking? after noticing the word deposit on the banned list.
The list includes about 51 terms with the word ass in them, 14 with love. In addition, 50 phrases using the word fuck, 17 using the word butt and 27 with shit have been blacklisted. Curiously, even the term God has not been spared, with 11 words using it as a prefix being banned.
A Twitter user, @KaalaKawa, noted: Oh no! They banned 'kiss ass'! That's the end of all political commentary via text messaging. The same user also pointed out that while breast job was forbidden, boob job was not.
Seriously, why aren't we protesting this ban? Jokes apart, they've banned words that have no vulgar implications whatsoever, tweeted Sara Muzzamil.
People across the country are still looking to understand how the PTA managed to execute so extreme a move, without due thought to its impact.
I cannot believe this will actually be implemented! #ptabannedwords Just when I thought Pakistan couldn't sink further into the darkages! Aamna Arshad wrote.
Unsurprisingly, the PTA has even banned Jesus Christ.
You can't use the word devil. There goes the religious sermon, tweeted MahwashB.
Some of the more remarkable statements includes one from Irfanam, who tweeted: #PTA has come up with #PTABannedList because lot of these government functionerios don't want to hear truth about themselves #pakistan.
Another such post reads: Everyone in Pakistan should start using PTA or the names of public figures as swear words and get them onto the PTA banned list.
Here are some interesting posts from well-known Pakistani personalities:
Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of politician Imran Khan, referred to a term banned by PTA and tweeted: I'm going to make sure I include 'monkey crotch' in every text to Pakistani friends from this day forth.
Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, perhaps, expressed the nation's sentiments best, when he said: #PTA have the filthiest minds - I mean disgusting freaks - they had 2 make up names 2 add to the list!
The issue has been trending on almost all social media sites, with mocking statements like: The #PTABannedList is what Charles Dickens would have written if he lived in Federal-B-Area right now.
In so bizarre a situation, perhaps the smartest course of action is one proposed by a blogger, Shoaib Taimur, who tweeted: Maybe all Pakistanis should keep sending expletive-filled text msgs every 10 minutes and wait for the networks to collapse.
Check out the full list of words listed by PTA, here.