Land of the not-so-pure
Urooj Zia writes about Pakistan’s recent categorisation as the most porn-hungry country on Google.com
Google has ranked Pakistan number 1 in the world in searches for pornographic terms, outranking every other country in the world in searches-per-person for certain sex-related content, according to a recent FoxNews report.
One could laugh this off, but what comes next is fairly disturbing. Secret ‘bestial’ passions apparently run high (and deep… and wild) in Pakistan. According to Google, the country has, since 2004, ranked number one in the world for per-person searches for ‘horse sex’. Pakistan has thumbed its nose at the world for per-person searches for ‘donkey sex’ since 2007, and ‘dog sex’ since 2005. One also worries about the citizens, especially women, living in a country which left the rest of the world behind between 2004 and 2009 in its quest for ‘rape pictures’ on the internet. Children are also of interest: between 2004 and 2007, and then again in 2009, users from Pakistan ranked number 1 in the search for ‘child sex’.
One would think that a country where courts went haywire in May this year – and threatened a repeat performance a month later – by banning more than a thousand webpages, including giants such as Facebook and Youtube, for ‘offensive’ and ‘blasphemous’ content, would be more vigilant when it comes to pornography. Not a chance. ‘We have orders only to ban blasphemous content. We’ll deal with pornography if and when we have the orders to do so. We don’t have any such orders yet,’ Khurram Mehran, the public relations officer for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), had said back in May.
In the public space in Pakistan, young couples are harassed by the police and prosecuted under the law even if they hold hands or hug. Small wonder then that hormone-tortured young adults turn to the interwebs. In the wake of the FoxNews report, one can almost imagine the local religiocrats taking to the streets, blaming the internet, Jews, Christians, Hindus, RAW, Mossad, the CIA, and their aunts for the ‘declining morals of our youth’, completely disregarding the fact that the users in question searched for what they did voluntarily. Death to the infidel internet!
In retrospect though, I actually hope the PTA and other random authorities and officials concerned don’t overreact to the news report (which, incidentally, has been picked up and used widely by several Southasian media outlets) and block online pornography in Pakistan. For starters, it would definitely make the lives of women – especially working women – in the country even more miserable. At the moment, twisted minds (and going by what Google has to say, there seem to be quite a few of those in Pakistan) find an outlet for their random fetishes (bestiality!) in free porn which they can watch online or download, complete with viruses, trojans, and other assorted bugs. If their quest for ‘rape pictures’ or ‘child sex’ is suddenly blocked off, one can only imagine the amount of harassment – and worse – that women will be subjected to in the public space. To top it all, it’s not like the courts are very cooperative when it comes to women’s rights – the conviction rate for rape cases in Pakistan is almost negligible; and many incidents aren’t even reported for fear of being stigmatised and ostracised. She ‘asked for it’, after all, didn’t she? So goes the inference, oftentimes.
For the sake of the women of the country, then, if nothing else: Dear PTA, please let porn be. As for the disturbing Google searches, Ass-oholics Anonymous, anyone?
— Urooj Zia is the Assistant Editor (web) at Himal Southasian.