Pakistani officials compile dictionary of obscene words

Posted by Emma Woollacott

From today, anybody using the words 'fondle' or 'deposit' in a text in Pakistan will find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

The country's telecommunications authority has created a list of more than 1,500 terms that it says are unacceptable, and is calling on telecoms operators to block any messages containing them.

It seems that Pakistani youths have a creative imagination when it comes to smut - an imagination only equalled by that of the officials charged with stopping them.

Their list includes more than 50 phrases using the word 'f***', while others include 'flogging the dolphin' and even 'flatulence'.

Accoring to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, telecoms operators have a duty under their licenses to bar 'obnoxious communication'. They'll be fined if customers complain of receiving unacceptable messages, and will have to cot the connection of persistent offenders.

So far, the edict applies only to English and Urdu - with English the clear winner in terms of the number of smutty phrases. While there are over 1,100 English phrases banned, the officials could only come up with 586 unacceptable terms in Urdu. There are four other languages used widely in the country.

No doubt one major effect of the ban will be to encourage verbal dexterity and innovation. By this time next year, Pakistani English and Urdu could include quite a number of new phrases.

Already, many users are expressing their appreciation at having learned so many new words from the list.

Pakistan's never slow to censor communications when it thinks things are getting a bit rude. Last May, it banned Facebook for two weeks after a 'Draw Mohammed Day' event was created.