In 2006 ,messages broadcasted from an illegally operated FM channel became the order of the day, haunting life in swat valley. Maulana Fazlullah popularly known as Maulana Radio constantly aired messages announcing death penalties and ban of Girl’s school in the area. On Jan 15, 2008 Maulana radio announced a complete ban on female education in the swat district. The announcement was soon supported by burning of over 100 schools , forcibly stopping over 80,000 girls from attending school. The infamous FM station was apparently too difficult to be traced or shut down.
This explains why when I heard about the e-crime bill, my initial reaction was a snort . The thought of Government planning to trace messages and arrest people seemed more like a sad attempt at making a practical joke. To my surprise the Government is actually serious about tackling the rather serious issue.
The news clipping from dawn states the Governments stance:
The Government announced on Sunday that sending indecent, provocative and ill-motivated stories and text messages through email, sms, was an offence under the (Cyber Crime Act) and its violators could be sent behind bars for 14 years.
Let me take a minute to register that, and comprehend what falls under the category of “indecent, provocative and specially ill-motivated stories”. Not only is this stance a bizarre attempt to snub freedom of speech or any form of civil opposition, but it also brings forth the democratic dictatorship. So let me bombard myself with a few questions, How is this Government in any way better than the openly criticized Musharraf regime. There has clearly been no change in foreign policy, a significant increase in drone attacks, failure to rehabilitate the deteriorating law and order situation and now a ban on sms,emails and ill-motivated stories. To me this is worse than Musharraf’s emergency and the complete ban on media.
This also goes out to show how ridiculously scared the Government is with regards to opposition or criticism. At the national blogger’s conference earlier this year the IT minister Sindh Raza Haroon assured that the bill “will not be used against the freedom of the speech of bloggers or online journalism, but a way to tackle increasing cyber crime. He then added that the blogging community should also act responsible and not spread rumors against state’. Its truly disappointing however to hear that this bill has been shaped up regardless and will be posed in front of the national assembly. Many have been told to keep their calm, since the bill hasn’t been passed as yet. Fortunately my worries are not about the consequences post approval , but the absurdity of its presence in the first place.
This makes one go back and rethink if the Government was really democratic. If the absence of NRO would have driven the same results. I have said this before and will say it again this isn’t democracy it is dynastic politics being dictated upon us. The Government Authorities and all those concerned should know and know it for good that this isn’t the end. Over 32 years of dictatorship has failed to uproot the seeds of democracy among our people. We continue to believe in the ideology that laid the very foundation of our state. The state should know better then implementing hogwash . It would be awfully constructive if the authorities would get over their immaturity and focus their energies by turning their super sonic detectors to ban what’s really provocative and indecent *hint* ( Maulana radio and his gang of sacred brothers).