Monday, July 20, 2009

‘Ill -motivated’ SMS messages circulation on…

Pin It Saturday, July 18, 2009 Noor Aftab Islamabad The introduction of strict punishment, first of its kind since historic boom in the telecommunication sector, seems to fail in curbing circulation of ‘ill-motivated messages’ through Short Messaging Service (SMS), which are still hitting mobile phones with more ‘innovative’ and legally well-protected way.
Though government officials did not admit that circulation of ‘anti-government messages’ was the main reason for introduction of punishment for ‘ill-motivated’ or ‘indecent’ messages, many believe that these kinds of SMS messages in fact prompted the government to come up with strong reaction against those who have been constantly engaged in this practice for unknown reasons.
Some also opined that circulation of these kinds of SMS messages was really a part of a propaganda campaign against specific political figures because no other politician except for some government figures was targeted in these messages.
“I strongly believe that anti-government forces are behind all this propaganda campaign just to demoralise the government and create negative sentiments against it among people,” said Yasir Rehman, a member of pro-PPP student organisation and a student of the Government Asghar Mall College, Rawalpindi.
The government has announced that sending ‘indecent’, ‘provocative’ and ‘ill-motivated’ stories and text messages through e-mails and SMS is an offence under the Cyber Crime Act (CCA) and its violators could be sent behind bars for 14 years. Similarly, any Pakistani living abroad and violating provisions of the Act may be charged and liable to deportation to Pakistan.
It is really strange to observe that texts of anti-government SMS messages now being circulated through cell phones are well-crafted as they apparently do not violate the newly-introduced Cyber Crime Act but comprehensively conveys anti-government sentiments.
The announcement of 14-year imprisonment for sending ‘ill-motivated’ SMS messages also raised eyebrows of various segments of society who are openly criticising this step, presenting some solid arguments in favour of their viewpoint.
“For a moment I thought it was a bad joke! but nah it’s reality — Yes 14 years for sending indecent SMS? I asked myself how about I bankrupt the whole country, play havoc with the judiciary, privatise everything with a golden boot? and get jailed for 5-10 years maximum or better sent for pilgrimage to the holy land for an indefinite period!” commented a blogger who runs an online blog.
He further stated, “I seriously doubt the intentions of the government, playing the Taliban crackdown as excuse? No one is blaming the security forces or writing bad about them! It would have been a better stance if they have clamped down on anti-Pakistan or anti-state websites? NO, they want to cover SMS and emails? A big cover-up again.”
Zulqurnain Haider, an educationist, said that no one wrote about security forces of Pakistan in comical way and the inclusion of their reference was just a dummy to give the announcement of punishment for indecent SMS messages some weightage.
“So my request to the government is to quit employing dodgy revisions to safeguard its popularity, do good for the country and it would not have to introduce such acts to save its skin,” he said.

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