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February 26, 2011 / the s.a. project

Of moving 1 step ahead and 50 backwards

Today was a strange day.

The extremely interesting bit about it was attending the Female Bloggers meet that was arranged by Mobilink. While I’m usually wary of telecom sponsored events, I made an exception this time especially because I wanted to see who these women from Lahore were that were active bloggers. Aside from a couple of female writers that I do follow, I really didn’t expect to see a lot of girls, mainly because I don’t know of many. But as I got to the meet I discovered that about 40 legit bloggers had registered and turned up! What an absolutely delightful surprise. More power to women in the digital space.

The not-so-good part was spamming all my friends on my facebook lift to ‘like my status’ for an in-house contest to win a phone! It’s something I don’t approve of but found myself falling into for the lure of winning. A lot of people ‘voted’ but I still lost. I’ve never really won anything anyway. But what hit the spamming part home was a friend’s comment :…One day when I am a very ameer aurat, I will buy you a fancy phone of your choice. Without any spamming and all sorts of people liking your status. Your blog rocks and you need no phone to tell you that...”

wow. Big ego boost always trumps fancy contest phones! Thanks Hareem for reminding me that.

However, at the end of the day, I’m glad I went anyway. The internet has been the new horizon for quite a while and our people need to catch on. Especially the women. There are plenty of fantastic Pakistani bloggers out there but just not enough. There are 3000% more porn watchers. In fact Pakistan tops the list of porn-watching audience in the world (according to Google trends. Try it. it’s shocking). Isn’t it time we were known for something better?!

Speaking of which:

Today I also read some very bad news. In fact Terrible Terrible news for artists in Pakistan. The government is bringing in measures that will greatly hamper the movement of artists and students from Pakistan in the international arena. Not only will this bring in unnecessary delays, financial expenditures and other inconveniences, it is also in direct violation of the 13th amendment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! This follows soon after I posted news of the Effing NCA hullabaloo.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said “Under the new mechanism, which will be introduced within a few days, there will be a proper check on foreign scholarships offered to Pakistani students, while Pakistani artistes visiting other countries will also have to seek a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the Interior Ministry.

This stupid sham of a democratic government is no better than a police state setup. And of course, while they are ‘helpless’ in the face of the terrorism they export all year round, it is the artists and students that they need to keep a check on. Only a miracle can save this country which is being dragged back towards the dark ages. No thanks to the psuedo-liberal government our image in front of the world is bleak.

Please read more about it here in Pakistan Today and here in Dawn and take some action.

Blog it, tweet it, facebook it. Make some noise. Write to newspapers. And make sure you write to Rehman Malik and express your objection. Start by addressing him on twitter at @SenRehmanMalik. Because if you don’t do it now, it will be too late too soon.

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13 Comments

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  1. the s.a. project / Feb 26 2011 12:49 am

    Also read HRCP’s press release:
    http://www.hrcp-web.org/showprel.asp?id=201

    Press release
    HRCP assails foolish curbs on rights

    Lahore, February 25: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed disgust and alarm at the introduction of restrictions by Islamabad for Pakistanis traveling to India, coming into effect from March 15, and called the move contrary to basic human rights and a bid to put the clock back.

    A statement issued by HRCP on Friday said: “According to an official statement, the government has made the decision to regulate visits abroad of public servants, artists and journalists ‘in the interest of Pakistan’s security and to safeguard the country’s prestige’. The government has also said that the rule will apply to students going abroad on scholarship. Ridiculous decisions such as this are precisely why the security and prestige of the country are where they are. Not only is the decision bound to be counterproductive in a region where the people have long suffered because of the iron curtain that regional borders have become, but the mandatory requirement to obtain no-objection certificate from the Interior Ministry before being allowed to travel abroad also violates basic human rights, particularly provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    While a good many other measures may be in order to restore the prestige of the country, the curbs on international travel are bound to further dent it. HRCP urges the government to reconsider the move instead of misinterpreting any single incident to put the clock back.”

    Dr Mehdi Hasan
    Chairperson

  2. Afia / Feb 26 2011 2:55 pm

    BOO, Rehman Malik!!!!

  3. Urooj Saeed / Feb 26 2011 4:20 pm

    Oh i couldnt agree more with the author. Now its the students and artists that they need to keep an eye upon….sigh…its such a shame…..my husband is a foreign student and i can very well connect to the pain and trouble that this decision would cause to students like us. Also considering the “efficient and quick” system and “optimized” chain of command in pakistan, i can only hope that NoC is issued “on time”, creating no further inconvenience to students!

    • the s.a. project / Feb 26 2011 8:00 pm

      I sincerely hope you and your husband dont become victims to this ridiculous decision.fingers crossed.make sure you write to newspapers & tweet to rehman Malik to mark your objection!

  4. sarah / Feb 26 2011 7:39 pm

    Well, you are right – Pakistani netizens top the list as porn-sites visitors and hence you can see what are we turning into….(simply put-morons!)

  5. SMI / Feb 27 2011 5:04 pm

    “” In fact Pakistan tops the list of porn-watching audience in the world (according to Google trends. Try it. it’s shocking). Isn’t it time we were known for something better?!””

    Oh phuleeezz!

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=porn

    Pakistan aint there even in the top 10…

    You actually want to feed to my brain that the largest producer of p0rn (US of A) doesnt even consume it…?

    • the s.a. project / Feb 28 2011 12:59 am

      wellll reallly SMI! I’m not feeding your brain anything. neither is it mandatory for you to read this. its a blog. and the controversy is about porn! it not school curriculum! plus if you’re having a bitter day, welcome to life.

      I actually read this report online almost a year ago. and then googled it recently to check what it was again. the stats have changed or probably change everytime a keyword is changed.I’m not going to verify it now. I’m too busy being bitter in my own world!

      point being the one gazillion internet cafes in lahore had to be monitored through law because of the porn watching and booth-sex-couples being taped there… so emm.. amreekan kertay rahien jo kertay hain, i’m more bothered about what we’re up to.

      please dont be mad. and have a nice strawberry sundae at hotspot to cool off!

    • Sascha / Mar 24 2011 2:25 am

      well, i just checked google trends and the first thing that came to my mind is that in pakistan they would not be searching for “porn” but for “porns” and lo and behold:

      with pakistan smack at the top.

      so in some way saira (or the article was referencing) were right! in some other way it just goes to show, that you shouldn’t believe any statistics you didn’t make up yourself 😉

  6. Kanwal / Feb 28 2011 2:13 am

    Interesting to hear about the result of the bloggers meetup. I was invited too but since I am not in the country I couldn’t attend it. Thanks for sharing… Also, this new rule is plain stupid. As if things were not already difficult for Pakistani students. Trust the government to do screwed up things like these.

  7. artkapakistan / Feb 28 2011 11:42 pm

    Do you know that if you teach in a Government institution, you need an NOC to go outside the country even for recreation or tourism. Strange isn’t it? Why should anyone object to something as mundane as that? Besides, being an artist (and a normal human being), I’m always interested in travelling. I need the input to survive. Why should anyone object, really?
    It’s insane.

    • the s.a. project / Mar 1 2011 2:00 am

      well thats just brilliant isn’t it. no wonder they never really filter out and catch the real problem-makers. oh well. Rehman Malik likes to know where you get that brilliant tan from! 😉

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