Angry MPA: If you block ‘Jesus Christ’ how will we text over Christmas?

Published: November 22, 2011

PPP MPA Salim Khursheed Khokhar sat down in front of Speaker Nisar Khuhro to protest against the PTA’s alleged ban on the words ‘Jesus Christ’. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: If we are barred from using the words ‘Jesus Christ’ in text messages, how will we celebrate Christmas and other religious events, protested a Christian MPA on Monday.

The ruling party’s Salim Khursheed Khokhar tried to lodge his point with a sit-in protest once he was denied permission to move a resolution. “When the American priest desecrated the Holy Quran, we [the Christian community] condemned it and criticised those who used derogatory language against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),” he said. “What about the fact that we are deprived of our religious rights and face discrimination in Pakistan.” The MPA requested the speaker to take up the resolution because if he didn’t how would Christians celebrate Christmas and other religious events.

On Monday, Pakistan’s mobile operators deferred implementing a ban on nearly 1,700 “obscene” words from text messages, saying they were seeking further clarification from the telecom authority.

In a harsh voice, Speaker Nisar Khuhro asked the MPA to settle down and gave him permission to move the resolution later. Khokhar responded by saying that the issue was an important one, so if the speaker could bend the rules for other resolutions, then why not this one. Khokhar then started to shout and threw the assembly agenda aside as he went to sit in front of the speaker’s chair in protest. “I am being deprived of my religious rights and will not move till the resolution is taken seriously,” he said. “I do not care if anyone votes for it or not.”

Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro and Sindh Local Bodies Minister Agha Siraj Durrani rushed to reassure Khokhar and took him back to his seat. They said that the matter would be resolved. The speaker said that he was not opposing the resolution, but the MPA should have informed him earlier. Khokhar responded and said that he had submitted a copy of the resolution to the speaker and the law minister. Soomro said that he would contact the chairman of the PTA and discuss the issue with him.

The MPA also said that people who faced blasphemy charges were awarded capital punishment but no action was taken against those who used derogatory words for Jesus Christ and attacked the minorities. Sindh Archives Minister Rafique Engineer, Sindh Power Minister Shazia Marri, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza and Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Faisal Sabzwari condemned the PTA decision.

The Hindu community

The Shikarpur murder was brought up in the session when Hindu MPA Pitanbar Sewani said that the police had failed to arrest the main suspect. Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan assured Sewani that the police had arrested relatives of the suspect and would arrest him soon.

PPP MPA Ghalib Domki said that some criminal gangs from Balochistan were causing trouble in Kashmore. “They have attacked in our areas with rockets and have destroyed three to four million acres of crops,” he said. “No police official is cooperating with us.” He added that these people were also involved in causing unrest in Baluchistan.

MQM MPA Khalid Ahmed said that load shedding was causing problems in different areas of the city. Marri said that the Karachi Electric Supply Company was not giving the issue the attention it needed.

Pricey paddy

PPP MPA Haji Munwar Ali Abbasi said that they should support farmers and increase the price of paddy by Rs400.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (64)

  • WoW
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:18PM

    Insanity at its highest.. Next word to be banned is ‘Pakistan’.Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:21PM

    PTA sms ban = fascism

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  • abdul jabbar
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:29PM

    this list reflects the religiously bigoted and hateful mindset of our society.not only jesus was banned but the severely homophobic mentality of our govt. was revealed when this hitlist included ‘gay’ & ‘homosexual’ to be banned also as obscene.what is obscene is the caveman mentality of the people in power making decisions for our lives.

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  • MUNIB
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:50PM

    No Fatwaz by MULLAH on this ?
    why ?

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  • Acorn Guts
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:57PM

    In the view of some orthodox Christians, name of Christ taken in vain is not acceptable but that doesn’t give PTA the right to absolutely ban the word ‘Jesus Christ’. When decisions are made without consultation such absurd outcomes are expected. Hope this issue will see the light of common-sense.

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  • Fajja
    Nov 21, 2011 - 7:58PM

    How would this ban do any good to our nation?

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  • Nov 21, 2011 - 8:00PM

    @abdul jabbar: You obviously haven’t heard. The list of banned words is American in origin. It was downloaded from the web! Dawn news has already touched on this matter. So if you want blame the PTA for something blame them for being lazy. If they weren’t so lazy they would have come up with their own localized list of banned words.

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  • Saba
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:10PM

    This is outrageous.Completely insane and also a complete violation of the constitution which allows ‘freedom of speech’.Speech here can be referred to all forms of communications.But apparently PTA doesn’t understand that.
    Also,Jesus Christ(pbuh) is our prophet too.And you call this a democratic government? Recommend

  • goggi
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:16PM

    A prohibition can be even more inducing! Had God not strictly forbidden Adam and Eva to keep away from the tree of knowledge, it would have remained a tree like thousand others. But what an intoxicating kick for the couple to commit a sin by biting in that forbidden apple!
    Why should the children of Adam and Eva behave differently?

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  • Truth From Pakistan
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:26PM

    Is their any limit of absurdity and insanity? Just by banning some words, do they hope to reform our generations or what? All these words are FACTS OF LIFE. I wish instead of banning them we could learn how to deal within our own value system. As far as word “Jesus” is concerned, my faith as a Muslim is so incomplete without believing in this one of the mightiest Prophets in Islam. We have become sadists as a nation, otherwise their is no point of banning the word Jesus and hurting our fellow Christian citizens. What a shame!Recommend

  • Kalim Khan
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:27PM

    Anti Democratic!! This leadership should stop claiming to be a democracy. Jesus Christ (pbuh) is a prophet of the muslims too!! Hippocracy is oozing out from every angle . . . .Facism is on the rise!

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  • ali
    Nov 21, 2011 - 8:55PM

    Muslims also believe in Jesus..so why ban it…totally dumb idea…This govt has nothing better to do.

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  • Abdullah
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:05PM

    @Munib, do you even know the meaning of fatwa ?

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  • et
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:08PM

    when wud they realize that any action like this that they take brings in a lot of bad press abroad!!Recommend

  • gk
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:13PM

    @ali:

    Muslims also believe in Jesus..so why
    ban it

    why ban it? cuz Muslims also believe in Jesus

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  • hedgefunder
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:27PM

    Next they will claim that Pakistan is at the centre of the Earth!!!
    Height of absurdity in this so called confused democracy !!!
    What is wrong with this country and its people ????Recommend

  • Gulmeenay
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:34PM

    Some of the comments here are pretty confusing. So if Muslim’s didn’t believe in Jesus would it be okay to ban using his name?

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  • Malik
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:36PM

    Ban late night packages not the words, leaders can not change the mind of the people but they could change the way people live.

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  • Ris
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:56PM

    This is just bad reporting to be honest. No investigation has been done what so ever. For example: do we know which legal entity authorised the ban? Do we know what features classify a word or a set there of as ‘banned’.

    Secondly, one could also assume that the reason PTA would have banned Jesus Christ would be to stop messages that would antognise minorties but by that definition they would also would’ve covered the other religions as well perhaps even Islam and Muhammad.

    Thirdly, if this is the governments approach to curb religious crimes than this is extremely poor. Freedom of speech should never be sacrificed at the cost of control. Perhaps a better approach would’ve been to educate people, because that is where the problem lies, IF that is the problem that they’re trying to address.

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  • Not me
    Nov 21, 2011 - 9:57PM

    This is crazy,this is insane. PTA is living in dark ages. PTA is making a laughing stock of Pakistan. This should be stopped by the President,PM or Hussain Haqqani

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  • commentator
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:00PM

    hi guys..!
    have you read the complete list of banned words…?
    if not , than please don’t try to read.. :P

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  • Ali
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:03PM

    PTA is not a representation of Islam or anyone. So stop putting that it has anything to do with Islam. They are a bunch of corrupt ppl. Thats all!

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  • R.A
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:23PM

    This will go on untill the day when
    the governament and the religion
    stop interfering each other.
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  • Ali
    Nov 21, 2011 - 10:45PM

    This list of words is the exact same words they ban on NFL (National Football League) custom jerseys!!!!!

    http://outsports.com/nfl/2005/0301nflshopnaughtywords.htmRecommend

  • Jameel
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:09PM

    @abdussamad:

    You obviously haven’t heard. The list
    of banned words is American in origin.

    Are you serious? Is Jesus Christ banned in US?

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  • Straight_Talk
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:12PM

    I am unable to understand why would this suddenly happen? The incident is so silly and self defeating that i find it suspicious. Almost all the comments suggest that people are in disbelief and do not understand at all what’s going on. The way i see this is those who did this wanted this reaction. They wanted this act to be THE news. They wanted people to talk about this all over. Now who can do that ? Anybody who is opposing the present govt will have nothing to do with this. That is because they have the hot potato of MEMOGATE.

    The only people who can benefit from this is the ruling party PPP. They desperately want the next news, aren’t they ? The MEMOGATE should die as a news as early as possible. There lies the essence of all this. Is it a coincidence that an MPA of the PPP is making news as the most vigorous protester ?

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  • Muhammad
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:28PM

    sarcasmStart Of all the major issues in our country this was the most critical issue that awaited resolution. Thank you democracy for banning all these words. I am sure Pakistan will have less poverty, more education, better medical services after this great decision sarcasmEnd

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  • Jehanzeb Khan
    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:32PM

    Surely PTA has better things to be concentrating on, rather than coming up with a pathetic LIST? Are we back in the Stone Age? Who are these people? Cavemen!? Which educational institutions did they go to(if any)? Only one word comes to mind: Bigots.

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  • Khalid
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Lawyers should know better, but I think that by including the name of Jesus Christ, PTA has committed basphemy against a personality who is considered Prophet by Christians as well as Muslims. So Police should lodge FIR against PTA and punish them under the blasphemy law.

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  • Nov 22, 2011 - 12:23AM

    It has become difficult to tell the difference between pro-Pakistani and anti-Pakistani propaganda.

    In its last years the Soviet Union had much the same problem.

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  • MG
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:34AM

    @Solomon2:
    It is funny you mentioning J.C. Not exactly a nice person as per your mullahs!

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  • Sidra
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:44AM

    PTA has deeply offended my religious views in the sense that I cannot freely write the name of my prophet Jesus (P.B.U.H). What if I want to quote Jesus in an SMS? -.-

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  • Domlurian
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:06AM

    Wake me up when Krishna and Rama are also banned.

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  • rehmat
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:14AM

    @abdussamad:
    “You obviously haven’t heard. The list of banned words is American in origin. It was downloaded from the web”

    Not true. There is no such American list. And with the exception of gay marriage which is under discussion. Homosexuality per se is not illegal in USA. So there is no WAY that words like lesbian, gap, queer would be banned in USA.

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  • Babloo
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:30AM

    Pakistan seems to be the funniest country in thre world. Its like a big circus full of jokers that provide non-stop entertainment to the international audience.

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  • saif
    Nov 22, 2011 - 1:51AM

    @Ali: Thanks for the link. It seems some bureaucrat at PTA found this list and just copied it wholesale. Total chaappa. It’s still very different though, for a private enterprise like NFL banning the words vs the Pakistan government banning them. With this technology in place, they will keep adding words to the list quitely when they need to. For e.g. imagine if they banned the word “CJP” when the Chief Justice was sacked. Right now, we can make a fuss, but if this system is in place, it can be very dangerous.

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  • MarkH
    Nov 22, 2011 - 2:09AM

    @Straight_Talk:
    You’re trying too hard to make this complicated. This is not as sudden as you make it out to be. Groups like PTA receive complaints about such things so often it’s far from news worthy and them acting on it is anything but abrupt. It’s news worthy because now it actually is of some form of importance as their actions, when they finally do take them, effect the majority of the people.
    Nobody with a straight face can say nobody was calling for such closed minded action or will not continue to do so in the future no matter how many things get censored. Those people are always around and nothing is ever enough for them. In fact, it rarely takes a large group to set such things in motion. It just takes one persistent person thinking they know what is best for the people convincingly enough. Convincingly also applies to threats of legal action for getting their itty bitty feelings hurt or threats of other drama they make sound even worse than if they did comply that doesn’t need to be true, just conceivably successful.
    That’s how censorship always works when it is brought into place in any country. The location is mainly only the factor in what brand of censorship it is they’re forcing on people from an imagined moral high ground.

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  • M
    Nov 22, 2011 - 2:28AM

    What can i say…. Jesus christ!!

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  • Pappo Piplia
    Nov 22, 2011 - 2:56AM

    This is a good decision by PTA. This will prevent people from insulting our great president, Zardari who has done so much for Pakistan.

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  • karachi ka larka
    Nov 22, 2011 - 3:05AM

    PTA dont block words ok

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  • Rafiq Durrani
    Nov 22, 2011 - 3:13AM

    Someone should put some sense into PTA, god knows what kind of people are running this organization.

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  • Somy
    Nov 22, 2011 - 3:15AM

    @Babloo:
    only thing is that these jokers also harbours terrorist’s and can kill you under blasphemy law. there is a method in madness.

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  • Cheddar Man
    Nov 22, 2011 - 3:29AM

    Had some European country banned the word Mohammed, Muslims around the world would have gone berserk!

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  • Arindom
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:23AM

    @Babloo:
    hahah!! I agree!! I get my daily laughter fix from the news here!!!

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  • Nov 22, 2011 - 4:41AM

    Pakistan ka Allah Hafiz—lit-ra-lee.

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  • MG
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:05AM

    Sindh Minister for Archives Muhammad Rafiq Engineer reminded Khokhar that Muslims also believe in the prophethood of Jesus Christ (Pbuh) and deeply respect him. He also assured him of getting this matter resolved.

    People .give it a rest!

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  • gp65
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:42AM

    @abdussamad: “You obviously haven’t heard. The list of banned words is American in origin. It was downloaded from the web! Dawn news has already touched on this matter. So if you want blame the PTA for something blame them for being lazy. If they weren’t so lazy they would have come up with their own localized list of banned words”.
    1. PTA did in fact also come up with a list of local words in Urdu but your statement seems to imply that you are not aware of that list.

    The notion that the English list was downloaded from US is really weird. A large majority in the country is Christian. Why would they ban the word Jesus Christ? Homosexuality is legal in US – why would they ban words like gay, queer, lesbian? Lots of young kids in US have cellphones precisely to co-ordinate logistics with their parents. {Please pick me up at xyz time” would be a very common message from a child who is on a play date or in some after school activity. Such a message would be banned as per this list. Anyway in US this kind of a ban would never stand the test of 1st Amendment whereby the Freedom of Speech is enshrined in the constitution.

    @Acorn Guts : “In the view of some orthodox Christians, name of Christ taken in vain is not acceptable ” I don’t think PTA’s software would be in a position to determine whether the name was taken in vain or with a legitimate purpose. Do you agree?

    @Ali : “Muslims also believe in Jesus..so why ban it” Muslims don’t however believe in Lakshmi Mata or Durga mata. Does that mean that tomorrow PTA could ban those words? Are you saying that the only aspects of free speech worth defending are those related to the Islamic faith?

    One final point. implying that the words ” Jesus Christ” is somehow obscene, is the PTA not blaspheming against the Christian faith or is is it only the Muslims whose faith deserves protection in Pakistan – a country who claims that people of all religions have freedom to follow their faith.

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  • powerball
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:25AM

    All I want to know is the reasoning behind the ban.. Jesus Christ isn’t a offensive or obscene word! Muslims believe in Jesus Christ also and respect him so what is the point. It’s absolutely crazy. Pakistani govt has alot of other things they should be worried about. Muslims can get mad if something is said about Prophet Muhammad but we are expecting the Christians to be ok with BANNING their Prophet’s name!! What’s wrong with this society!

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  • Ali Imran
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:04AM

    no wonder the list was not final and was prepared by copying a website. the whole drama got exposed here: http://propakistani.pk/2011/11/21/exclusive-original-source-of-banned-sms-lists-revealed/

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  • Spud
    Nov 22, 2011 - 9:24AM

    He/she is an idiot if they believe that the list of banned obscene words comes from US do not know that the US is not undemocratic like some countries are. In US there is complete freedon to use any words in a person to person communication. Pakistan’s Director General says that words are banned under the “Protection from Spam, Unsolicited, Fraudulent and Obnoxious Communication Regulations, 2009″. Does he and the Pakistanis consider the name of a god of another religion is obscene or obnoxious? Such thinking shows that today’s Islam only considers its path to God as correct and everyone else is wrong. Shows that Islam has become intolerant of other religions which goes totally against the prophet’s instructions. Shame on those public servants and all Pakistanis who thought up the lists of banned words.

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  • rk
    Nov 22, 2011 - 11:01AM

    who said you can?

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  • Immortal
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:00PM

    If Muslims also believe in Jesus Christ. Why can’t i see Mullahs protesting against it. Why the matter is raised by a Christian leader only. Why such an important issue was taking so lightly. Why did PTA put the word “Jesus Christ” in the list at first.
    @ Khalid i totally agree with you. PTA should be brought into trial of Blasphemy. This is an outrage. Putting any Prophet’s name with such flithy words is not acceptable by any religion.

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  • Abu Marva
    Nov 22, 2011 - 12:03PM

    Why does not the PTA ban the names of all politicians in the SMS. Recommend

  • Word Life
    Nov 22, 2011 - 3:01PM
  • Pragmatist
    Nov 22, 2011 - 4:09PM

    This is getting beyond crazy !! Looks like the whole nation is intoxicated with religion and stumbling from one crisis to another.

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  • Natasha
    Nov 22, 2011 - 5:13PM

    Am saddened and ashamed to live in Pakistan when things like this happen – we may as well cut the white out of our flag.

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  • hallaj
    Nov 22, 2011 - 5:28PM

    being muslim and a Pakistani, i feel my head down in shame.

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  • Tony Singh
    Nov 22, 2011 - 5:45PM

    Enjoy the ban man! Jesus Christ this country has gone beserk. They even banned “420″!!!

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  • Naseer
    Nov 22, 2011 - 6:18PM

    Ok enuf with the “equality and Pakistan not supporting other religions” comments… the words were from this link from 2005—> http://outsports.com/nfl/2005/0301nflshopnaughtywords.htm <— the PTA just copy Pasted all the words without reading the list itself. Now this link has words which weren’t allowed to be put on Jersey Shirts, makes sense not putting God’s name on Shirts , Hence Jesus being on the list… It was nothing personal to Christians after all HE ( Jesus Christ) is our messenger

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  • kamran
    Nov 22, 2011 - 7:35PM

    Let the mullans know that this is also a case of 295C. Why they are quite??????????????????
    You can ban it from sms but our hearts and lips will always confess HIs glorious name until last moment of our life. Youth of our nation rise up in the Love of Jesus Christ

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  • Nov 22, 2011 - 7:56PM

    Oh, father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Nov 23, 2011 - 1:27AM

    Its remind me american muslim Kenneth Ellison cried in senate commitee hearing few months ago i dont know man why minorities every where in the wolrd cry for there rights.
    what a shame.

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  • Azhar
    Nov 24, 2011 - 6:23AM

    Thankyou PTA for giving another reason to fight within Muslims and Christians, since all the Muslims are beleiver of Jesus as well so how come the Government banned the JESUS CHRIST words. I have a request to the Higher Authorities to please stop this and allow Christians people to live save in Pakistan. As we all love Pakistan.

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  • Shoaib
    Nov 28, 2011 - 3:36PM

    The list comes from the US National Football League. Its the list they issued for banning the names that players could print on their playing jerseys. For e.g. Neon Deon. Deon Sanders was a player in the 90s and one of the things he called himself was Neon Deon because he considered himself flashy. They don’t want the tag repeated for other players now.

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