An update on this story, where we observed that “the claim might be made that ‘Jesus Christ’ was banned to ensure ‘respect.’ But the ban would have a unique and disproportionate potential impact on Christian users.”
That is all the more the case with Christmas coming up. “Angry MPA: If you block “˜Jesus Christ” how will we text over Christmas?” from the Express Tribune, November 22 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
KARACHI: If we are barred from using the words “˜Jesus Christ” in text messages, how will we celebrate Christmas and other religious events, protested a Christian MPA on Monday.
It is insulting in itself that the name was included in league with “monkey crotch” and “athlete’s foot” on the list of forbidden words.
The ruling party”s Salim Khursheed Khokhar tried to lodge his point with a sit-in protest once he was denied permission to move a resolution. “When the American priest [sic] desecrated the Holy Quran, we [the Christian community] condemned it and criticised those who used derogatory language against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” he said. “What about the fact that we are deprived of our religious rights and face discrimination in Pakistan.” The MPA requested the speaker to take up the resolution because if he didn’t how would Christians celebrate Christmas and other religious events.
On Monday, Pakistan’s mobile operators deferred implementing a ban on nearly 1,700 “obscene” words from text messages, saying they were seeking further clarification from the telecom authority.
Given the setting, MPA Khokar has little choice but to pile on the honorifics that the Western press is busily foisting on us.
In a harsh voice, Speaker Nisar Khuhro asked the MPA to settle down and gave him permission to move the resolution later. Khokhar responded by saying that the issue was an important one, so if the speaker could bend the rules for other resolutions, then why not this one. Khokhar then started to shout and threw the assembly agenda aside as he went to sit in front of the speaker’s chair in protest. “I am being deprived of my religious rights and will not move till the resolution is taken seriously,” he said. “I do not care if anyone votes for it or not.”
Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro and Sindh Local Bodies Minister Agha Siraj Durrani rushed to reassure Khokhar and took him back to his seat. They said that the matter would be resolved. The speaker said that he was not opposing the resolution, but the MPA should have informed him earlier. Khokhar responded and said that he had submitted a copy of the resolution to the speaker and the law minister. Soomro said that he would contact the chairman of the PTA and discuss the issue with him.
Salim Khursheed Khokar is one brave man:
The MPA also said that people who faced blasphemy charges were awarded capital punishment but no action was taken against those who used derogatory words for Jesus Christ and attacked the minorities. Sindh Archives Minister Rafique Engineer, Sindh Power Minister Shazia Marri, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza and Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Faisal Sabzwari condemned the PTA decision.