Pakistan’s name means “Land of the Pure,” but some of its internet users appear to be decidedly “impure.” About four years ago, I was first introduced to Google Trends, a feature whereby Google monitors and publishes records of its internet searches. Any person can access this data. What had drawn my interest was a short article that appeared in the Pakistan Daily Times from May 17, 2006, which I reproduce here:
Pakistan most sex-starved
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Google, the world’s most popular Internet search engine, has found in a survey that mostly Muslim states seek access to sex-related websites and Pakistan tops the list. Google found that of the top 10 countries - searching for sex-related sites - six were Muslim, with Pakistan on the top. The other Muslim countries are Egypt at number 2, Iran at 4, Morocco at 5, Saudi Arabia at 7 and Turkey at 8. Non-Muslim states are Vietnam at 3, India at 6, Philippines at 9 and Poland at 10.
I began some research of my own. It was the nature of the pornography then being hunted within Muslim countries that was disturbing. Those searches showed then that Pakistan came top of the list of searches for a range of perverse interests.
Google Trends data has been gathered since 2004. A search of all data for those using Google to seek out “child sex” from the years 2004 until now places Pakistan far ahead of any other country. Narrowing down the parameters, a search specifically targeted for the current year (2010) again shows that Pakistan tops the list of countries where internet users have searched for the term “child sex”.
Google Trends can present data of searches carried out during every month and every year from April 2004 up until the present. Pakistan topped the list of Google’s internet searches for “child sex” in 2004, in 2005, in 2006, in 2007, in 2008, and in 2009.
Just in case anyone argues that the data could refer to innocent searches made by developmental psychology students, Google Trends shows that when the term “child f***ing” is examined, across all years from 2004 until now, the highest amount of searches for this term came from Pakistan. Similarly, of all global Google searches for “naked child” from 2004 till now, Pakistan still tops the list. Google Trends reveals that of all global Google searches, from 2006 to 2010, for the term “child sex video” Pakistan was second in the world, only being outdone by Bangladesh (a country that was once officially part of Pakistan).
Why should this be? Is this “cultural”, relating to Pakistan’s regional customs?
Traditionally Pakistan has allowed appalling abuse of children. Village councils (called “jirga” or “panchayat”, depending on the region) in remote areas have ordered that girl children be given away in marriage as “compensation” for social crimes carried out by their male relatives. This practice is usually called “vani” marriage while in Pashtun regions it is called “swara.” Swara was made illegal in Northwest Frontier Province in 2000, yet it continued. In 2004, after a three-year old girl was given away in marriage to a sixty-year old man, vani marriage was officially made illegal throughout the nation, but it carries on. In January 2004, before vani and swara were officially proscribed by national law, an Islamic judicial panel ruled that these customs were “pre-Islamic”. But is this so?
In 2004, when Pakistan topped the list for “child sex” searches, Iran came second. Ayatollah Khomeini authorized a book called Tahir-al-Vasyleh. In section 102.1 the book states:
"Having sex with the wife is illegal before reaching nine years, be it a permanent or a timed [mu’tah] marriage, but the rest of acts like foreplaying [touching for sexual pleasure], hugging and Tafkhid is legal even with a baby."
Some have disputed that the original Iranian book meant this, but Bahrain women’s rights activist Ghada Jamshir is in no doubt that Shiite clerics have authorized the sexual touching of infants.
In Islamic countries such as Afghanistan, child marriage frequently takes place, with pre-pubescent girls married to much older males. In Saudi Arabia, child marriage has never been illegal. The Saudi Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, argues that it is good to have underage girls married, because they will then avoid becoming spinsters later and will never be subject to extramarital temptations. Only after a case in February this year, where a 12 year old girl fought for the right to divorce her 80-year old husband, has there been any sign of the Saudi authorities banning such marriages. The girl was married to the elderly man, against her will, when she was eleven.
The prophet of Islam, according to the Hadiths of Bukhari (here, here and here) and Tabari (IX:131), engaged in sex with a child. He consummated his marriage to Aisha, his last wife, when she was only nine and still playing with dolls. With such an example to follow, is it possible that Pakistani website searches for child pornography could be informed by Islam? The nation takes its religion seriously, to a point of fanaticism, and the internet cannot escape such religious zeal.
Internet Censorship for “Blasphemy”
Pakistan has undergone political upheavals, but its politicians and judiciary consistently attempt to censor “blasphemous” material from entering their country. In 2007, YouTube was briefly banned in Pakistan because “blasphemous” caricatures of Islam’s prophet had appeared on certain videos. On May 19 this year, Facebook was banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) when it hosted sites celebrating “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”. A few hours later, YouTube was also blocked.
At the same time, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit announced that the issue of caricatures insulting Mohammed had already been brought up at the Council for Human Rights, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the United Nations General Council. Muhammad Azhar Siddique, chairman of the Judicial Activism Panel for blasphemy attempted to have Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, co-owners of Facebook, prosecuted under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws for denigrating the prophet of Islam. This can carry the death penalty. Most recently, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information announced on Friday that it would be monitoring major web sites and search engines for signs of “anti-Islamic content”. The sites are: Yahoo, Google, YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing. 17 other websites are to be blocked outright.
In May, after Pakistan had additionally banned Twitter and Blackberry services, Wahaj-us-Siraj,a spokesman for Pakistan’s leading ISPs, said: “We are bound to check child pornography websites, because it is something wrong and has nothing to do with the freedom of speech. Similarly, these caricatures are another example of absurdity.”
This may be the case, but it does not explain why – of all nations in the world - Pakistan has the highest amount of Google searches for “child sex.”
Pakistan’s Web Perverts
In Pakistan, child abuse is rarely reported. However, in 2009, there was a 9.5 per cent increase in sexual abuse cases against children. 2012 such cases were reported. More than half of the reported cases took place in Punjab. Until recently, Sahil.org was the only charity in Pakistan dedicated to monitoring and preventing the abuse of children. Its regional co-oordinator said in October last year that child abuse was rising rapidly, but the government had taken no steps to stop it happening. Another charity called Rozan also has a child abuse prevention scheme.
In March this year, during a trial of alleged gang-rape of a 13-year old girl, the defense counsel argued that child marriage was neither illegal nor invalid, and said that it would be impossible to pronounce it as invalid as “75 per cent of the families in the country would be affected.” The accused men were later acquitted.
In some parts of Pakistan child marriages, often of a young child to an adult male, continue without being viewed as wrong, even though they are officially illegal. While many parents in Pakistan force their children into marriage, while declaring such unions to be “arranged”, refusal by the daughter to comply with promises made as a child can lead to honor killings by families. Both males and females are frequently subjected to arranged marriages. For young males, brought up to be treated as more important than women but knowing that they will ultimately have little choice over their future sexual lives, it seems that in internet cafes many seek out pornography. I can understand people in a repressive society feeling sex starved, but the things that they seek to view are sick.
The nature of the pornography that is sought in Pakistan is bizarre. The most disturbing aspect is that child sex is sought on the internet more frequently in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world. Pakistan leads the world in Google searches for “baby sex”, for Heavens’ sake. It also leads the world in searches from 2004 to 2010 for “rape sex”, “rape video” and “rape pictures”.
What I found in 2006 was that Pakistan also topped the list of Google Trend’s searches for animal sex. Over all years and regions, Pakistan still has the highest number of people Googling for “animal sex”.
I broke this down into individual categories. In 2006, Pakistan led all nations who hunted for “dog sex”, and in all years and regions, it still tops the list. Pakistan leads the field in 2010 in hunts for web searches for “pig sex”, as it did in 2006 and in all hunts from 2004 to 2010. Both pigs and dogs are regarded as “unclean” in Islam, so such hunts may be seen as a rebellion against their upbringing. From the time period 2004 to 2010, Pakistan has consistently been far ahead of any other country in web hunts for “donkey sex”, and also “goat sex”, “horse sex” and “camel sex.”
Pakistan’s religious fanatics who try to force the United Nations to adopt rules against Islamic blasphemy should look at the unwholesome interests displayed by its web users. Before lecturing those brought up with Judeo-Christian traditions about our lack of morality, Pakistan’s leaders should firstly examine what has created such perverse obsessions in its internet users.
The morbid interest in child sex may possibly be connected to Islam or perhaps it could be influenced by rural traditions. I personally think that these bizarre interests arise from a culture that is in crisis, unsure if its identity should be looking forward or backwards, towards modernism or archaic traditionalism. Pakistan as a nation publicly reveres its prophet in a manner that is indistinguishable from idolatry. Such exaggerated public piety, when set against the perverse nature of the nation’s internet searches on Google and the poor treatment of its children, suggests that Pakistan is a deeply dysfunctional society.
FamilySecurityMatters.orgContributing Editor Adrian Morgan is a British based writer and artist. He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist, and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.
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In: Iran, Afghanistan, Other, Middle East
Tags: Pakistan, Pakistani, Child porn, internet, Facebook, islam, Blasphemy, censorship, Saudi Arabia, Arabic, Diplomat
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