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Banning ‘Jesus Christ’ On SMS Causes Row In Sindh Assembly
ICC Note
Pakistan is planning to ban a list of words including, Jesus Christ, from text messages. Pakistan’s Christian leaders are expressing outrage over the plan to ban Jesus Christ.
By Irfan Ghauri
11/21/2011 Pakistan (The Express Tribune)-An MPA representing minorities in the Sindh Assembly voiced his concerns regarding the recent list of banned words compiled by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
The usual proceedings in the Sindh Assembly were disrupted when the minorities’ MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) demanded a resolution against the PTA for banning the name of the prophet “Jesus Christ.”
Khokhar was initially allowed by the assembly speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro to present his views however he was later prevented from speaking.
The MPA termed the word ban list as a sheer violation of minorities’ rights. During his fiery speech, he left his bench and sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the speaker, demanding for the said resolution.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro convinced Khokhar to go back to his seat as he assured him of taking this issue to the federal level.
Similar assurance was given by other ministers including Rafiq Engineer, Power Minister Shahzia Marri, Minister for Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani, Minister for Youth Affairs Faisal Sabzwari and Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza.
Khokhar, however continued to express his disapproval. He pointed out that on one hand anyone who utters blasphemous remarks against the Muslim prophet is hanged, while on the other hand there is no protection of minority rights.
Sindh Minister for Antiquities Muhammad Rafiq Engineer reminded Khokhar that Muslims also believe in the prophethood of Jesus Christ (Pbuh) and deeply respect him. He also assured him of getting this matter resolved.
PTA says list is not final
PTA spokesperson Mohammad Younis Khan said that the list that has going viral online, is not a list of words that are to be blocked or filtered.
“This list was prepared just to help the operators of different companies to design their software to meet the purpose,” said Khan.

A set of two extensive lists in English and Urdu was allegedly compiled by the PTA. The list of English words crosses the 1,000 figure, while the Urdu list contains over 550 words.

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