Abdullah, 15, works against porn material flood on Internet -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Abdullah, 15, works against porn material flood on Internet

Usman Manzoor

ISLAMABAD: Generally it is hard to be a teen that is more known for its perils and pitfalls than anything else. But here we have a 15 years old Abdullah Ghazi from Karachi, who has emerged as a symbol of struggle against a fast spreading modern day social evil – unchecked influx of pornographic material through Internet rattling the very foundations of the society.

At his age the teenagers are mostly involved in fun, fight and fair but this young boy has opted for a much serious fight. His fight is with the system, the state institutions, the indifferent society, the western snobs and the confused liberals. While everyone else including the government, the Parliament, the civil society and the media are unmoved towards the unchecked influx of pornographic material through web in Pakistan, this O-Level student from Karachi is having sleepless nights.

He took the task to fight this evil, is knocking every door that matters, has already approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Information Technology Ministry and even the Chief Justice of Pakistan to check the free inflow of pornographic and objectionable sites through Internet. In a country that is known for the maximum number of porn site searchers, this young man is the lone fighter to check this evil.

It may sound impossible but he has already reported some 760000 web links containing such objectionable material to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. But instead of being appreciated, a hate campaign has been launched against the teenager by confused liberals and westernised snobs. He also did not get encouraging response from the authorities concerned as yet but still remains firm to continue his fight for a cause with the support of a team of his friends.

Last year Abdullah Ghazi had written to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of objectionable material being aired on media in the name of advertisement and entertainment and the pornography on the Internet.

The Human Rights Cell of the apex court entertained his letter and the PTA and Ministry of IT were asked to submit their replies. Earlier PTA and Ministry of Information Technology had given a cold shoulder to letters written by the same youth as a result of which Abdullah had approached the CJP.

Abdullah says in 2010 he saw a motivational video on www.youtube.com which was uploaded by one ‘Pukaray Pakistan’ and got impressed from the content of video and thus made up his mind to do something for his country. He contacted Pukaray Pakistan and soon was a member of that group. The members of Pukaray Pakistan were from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and a few other cities, all charged up and ready to do something for their country.

Meanwhile in July-August 2010, Fox News ran a story that Pakistan ranked number one in the world in searching for porn material on the Internet, however, latter that news turned out to be fake, but it moved Abdullah. He had made up his mind then to get the porn websites blocked in Pakistan. First he and his friends tried to approach the Supreme Court but latter someone told him to adopt the standard procedure through Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. He said that after talking to many youths in Pukaray Pakistan, no one was ready to write to PTA, he himself decided to communicate with PTA. As expected, the PTA referred the matter to IT Ministry and they never responded to his letters.

Then Abdullah’s team approached media and upon a column written in Daily Jang the Supreme Court took notice of the issue. Contrary to the ground realities where Pakistan is considered one of the countries accessing most porno sites, the PTA in its response to the complainant and to the Supreme Court as well had claimed that it was already vigilant over the control of circulation of explicit content on the Internet.

The response added that the PTA, as the telecom sector regulator, has been directing the country’s Internet service providers to block several hundreds of websites showing offensive anti-Islamic material and in this regard PTA is committed to achieving the desired objectives. Pretending as if the things are perfect, the PTA asked the complainant to provide the addresses of the selected sites that need to be blocked.

“If there is any specific website that you wish to bring into the knowledge of the PTA, it is requested that PTA may be informed of the same accordingly for further necessary action at our end”, PTA’s Director General (Law & Regulations) wrote to the youth from Karachi on July 8, 2011.

The PTA letter added, “Reference Supreme Court of Pakistan order June 22, 2011, HRC No. 16138-S/2011 on the application of Ghazi Muhammad Abdullah, Ministry of Information Technology (IT & Telecom Division), Government of Pakistan, vide notification No. 5-1/2005-DFU dated 29th August, 2006 and F No. 5-1/2005-DFU dated October 7, 2010 has also constituted a Sub-Committee of the Inter-Ministerial Committee which has been given the specific mandate to evaluate/examine all such requests for blocking of offensive and objectionable/obnoxious websites (URLs) forwarded by agencies, ministries, or individuals and the sub-committee sends its recommendations to the Ministry of Information Technologist for issuance of necessary directives after scrutiny for filtrating/blocking by PTA accordingly. Thus a formal mechanism has been put in place to ensure blocking of all such un-Islamic content over the Internet.”

Abdullah says he also contacted the expert users of Internet, who were very popular on web and it was decided that beside Kashmir and Palestine issue, a campaign again porn sites would also be launched and the Chief Justice would be requested to take stern action. One of the hackers from Islamabad, upon intercepting their communication, hacked the website of Supreme Court but he didn’t use his name. Latter the same hacker hacked the website of PTA, Abdullah adds.

The objectionable websites remained blocked for one or two months and latter were reopened while PTA being the watchdog. The youth says in the past few months, the porn sites have been blocked but no proper mechanism has ever been evolved. Whenever any news was published, the PTA officials would tell him that websites have been blocked but were never officially declared.

He said even a signing campaign was also launched, and from Karachi he did it, from Quetta Zaiban Younis, from Islamabad one Atif, from Gujranwala Khakan and from Lahore one Hamid did it and those signs were sent to the Chief Justice of Pakistan that youth wanted to block porn websites.

He also told PTA about 760000 web links that contain porn material and latter newspapers started writing against him that how come he know about so many websites. He says a software expert named Ali helped him through web and told him about the websites, which he then forwarded to the PTA and latter got negative campaign running against him on the media. He also mentioned that one Fahad Ahmed Siddiqui, a Lahore based lawyer had also filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against porn websites which is still pending.

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