Texts containing ‘obnoxious’ words such as fart, Jesus Christ and homosexual are to be banned under new regulations by the Pakistan telecommunications authority (PTA).
According to a letter leaked online, 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words are on a 'banned list' issued to mobile phone operators by the PTA.
Telecommunications companies will be obligated to comply with the list under the “Protection from Spam, Unsolicited, Fraudulent and Obnoxious Communication Regulations, 2009” within seven days, with fines for offenders.
Although the restriction of some terms may be self-explanatory, the choice of some words seems baffling. The letter leaked to the Pakistani media has caused hilarity and frustration in equal measure.
Monkey-crotch was on the banned list as well as everyday words like athletes’ foot, finger food, deeper and hole.
Also puzzling were the phrases jack the ripper, loverocket, lotion, flogging the dolphin and the very British phrase in the buff.
Some quasi-medical terms were also censored, including flatulence, excrement and period.
After the list has been implemented, mobile phone operators will then have to submit a monthly report to PTA detailing the number of blocked text messages.
Text message spam is a problem in Pakistan with unsolicited texts cluttering up inboxes. Around 100m people are estimated to own mobile phones in the country.
The list of banned words caused laughter on twitter, trending as #PTAbannedlist and #PTAbannedwords.
@karachikhatmal “It occurred to me that the #PTABannedList was compiled using existing SMSes - making it an invaluable historical documentation of our times.”
Some tweeters saw the list as a challenge:
With words such as "strap-on", "beat your meat", "crotch rot" and "love pistol", some tweeters are accusing the PTA of their falling foul of filthy language themselves.
@shobz tweeted "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"
However some people believed the ban would be damaging for Pakistan:
@aamnaarshad said "I cannot believe this will actually be implemented! #ptabannedwords Just when I thought Pakistan couldn't sink further into the darkages!"
A spokesman for the PTA told the Guardian that the list was a reaction to complaints by phone owners who had received unsolicited offensive texts. He added: "Nobody would like this happening to their young boy or girl".
A full list of the banned words is circulating the internet, though it has not been confirmed as the official record.