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Watch your language - Pakistan blacklists 'rude' words in texts

Pakistanis will have to think twice before texting about “love pistols” or, em, “headlights” under new regulations.

Image: Everyspoon via Creative Commons/Flickr

TIME TO WATCH your language – if you plan on sending texts in Pakistan, that is – as the country’s telecommunications authority has blacklisted hundreds of words considered too rude for texting.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s list includes more than 1,500 Urdu and English words and phrases – from the sexually explicit to the downright innocuous, such as “idiot” and “flatulence”.

Some 51 words incorporating the term “ass” have been forbidden, along with – worryingly – eight obscenities involving the word “foot”, according to the Guardian.

Some inventive phrases and euphemisms were judged to be off-limits by the authority (“flogging the dolphin”, for example), however the reasons for blocking other words were less clear: “Jesus Christ”, “tampon”, and even “headlights” have been banned, raising questions about religious freedom and practicality.

The authority sent a letter ordering mobile phone companies to block text messages containing the offending expressions on 14 November, and gave seven days for the order to be implemented.

A spokeswoman for Telenor said her company first received the letter Thursday and was discussing how to proceed.

“It’s a big issue, so it is being examined carefully from all points of view,” she said.

The letter said the order was legal under a 1996 law preventing people from sending information through the telecommunications system that is “false, fabricated, indecent or obscene.”

According to media reports, the list contains some of the following words:

Flatulence

Idiot

Jesus Christ

Headlights

Tampon

Intercourse

Condom

Breast

Period

Hostage

Monkey crotch

Wuutang

Strap-on

Beat your meat

Love pistol

Pocket pool

Quickie

Flogging the dolphin

Additional reporting by the AP

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