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Pakistanis debate whether `Pornistan` nickname is accurate

Islamabad: Most Pakistanis may be crying foul over their country being nicknamed "Pornistan" following media reports that it topped the list of porn searches on Google but a few admit to watching porn.

"Yes. I have watched (and accessed) porn websites," an old bearded man confessed to DawnNews, which did a special report on Internet search trends in Pakistan.

Even as the others grinned at the old man`s admission, he said: "Perhaps they (Google) may be right. What`s wrong with it? If I have watched it, then people like you may definitely have done much more... If people make porn websites, they make them to be watched".

According to a FoxNews report that quoted Google Trends and Google Insights, Pakistan tops searches per-person for various forms of sex.

After speaking to people in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta, DawnNews concluded that there may be "inaccuracies in Google Trends" and yet the trends are not altogether inaccurate.

While most Internet surfers denied surfing cyberspace for porn or sex on camera, they were quite vocal once the camera was switched off.

"Surprisingly some of those who denied ever having searched for sex or searched for a porn website, admitted to their preference for internet browsing once the camera was switched off," the channel`s reporter noted.

The Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan has contested the findings of Google Trends, saying not a single porn site features in the list of the top 40 Pakistani and international websites visited most often by residents of the country.

"There are 1.5 to 1.8 billion Internet users worldwide and Pakistan has only five to eight million Internet users, or less than 0.5 per cent of global users, and Internet penetration is less than five per cent of total population," said Wahaj-us-Siraj, spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association.

While some Pakistanis are in denial mode, others have reconciled with the findings.

"Why should Pakistanis in Pakistan feel ashamed of these findings, and try to deny them? By all reasoning, they are quite likely to be true, since the Pakistani society is definitely sexually suppressed, and people`s curiosity will lead them to Google searches," wrote a Pakistani blogger.

"There is very little education there, so they are unlikely to do scholarly searches. We should learn to face up to our shortcomings, and reality," the blogger added.

An overseas Pakistani blogger wrote that she was "disgusted (and horrified) that we (Pakistanis) are prominent on yet another negative list".

The blogger said: "I`m not that surprised... we have perverts, just like every other country in the world... There`s a reason why Internet cafes in Pakistan are filled to the brim with seedy characters, and it`s not because they`re just checking e-mail...".

Another blogger concluded that the "Pornistan play up" in newspapers was yet another way to come up with more profitable and viable business models in the face of a changing business and technological landscape.

Asked by DawnNews about Pakistanis watching porn, parliamentarian Palwasha Khan said she had bigger issues to tackle.

"The parliament is a floor where much bigger issues take dominance," she said.

PTI

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