Upset Pakistanis debate nickname `Pornistan`

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.

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2010, 15:55 PM IST

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