Sending indecent, provocative and 'ill-motivated' e-mails or SMS is now a punishable offence in Pakistan and violators can be jailed up to 14 years under the Cyber Crime Act, Gulf News has learnt.
Overseas Pakistanis will be liable to be deported to Pakistan in case they violate the new law, according to a senior official in the Ministry of Interior.
The Pakistan government has also entered into an agreement with the Interpol to identify e-mail addresses and websites registered abroad that are being used for malicious campaigns against the government.
Think about that for a second. What is a "malicious campaign against the government"? How is a "malicious campaign" to be distinguished from regular criticism? And most importantly, what business is it of the government -- and Interpol, for the love of God -- how indecent my emails are? Am I really going to go to jail for fourteen years because my friends and I chose to be involved in a long and detailed email chain on Megan Fox?
Anyway, aside from those concerns, I think it's a great law. I just wish everyone would follow both the letter and the spirit of the law. Including the government. For example, as this Dawn editorial states, "concocted stories" about the civilian leadership are a no-no under the new law. So what happens when the civilian leaders are the ones doing the concocting? Shouldn't Asif Zardari go to jail for fourteen years for claiming that Asif Zardari went to college? It's a concocted story, isn't it?
And since "indecent" stories are now punishable, isn't it fair that we, the citizens, get to decide what is indecent too? For instance, I think it's pretty indecent that, according to the latest budget, Asif Zardari and Yousuf Raza Gillani get half as much money to fly around the world as the allocation for the entire country's primary education system (in the federal budget, that is). Shouldn't the government apparatus responsible for the budget be thrown behind bars for fourteen years? It's indecent, no?
What's really funny about this law is that the government, quite naturally, has no way to enforce it. I could try to make their job easier by publishing lies about them openly to try to make them look stupid, but they seem to be doing a pretty good job of that on their own. As you were, people.