Crackdown on Internet cafés imminent
By Aayan Ali
LAHORE “Pornography is the worst drawback of Internet technology and the City Government is doing all it can to eradicate this menace.”
District Nazim Mian Amer Mahmood recently made the above comment while talking to Daily Times. He said he was working with local police to ensure that Internet cafés set up transparent cubicles.
Watching pornographic pictures, he added, was indecent. “Our religion and society disallow such activity.”
He said it was tedious for the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to filter websites displaying flesh, though the proposal was being considered by his government.
“Soon we will come up with a solution to this problem,” said the district nazim. “Till then the Internet cafés must have transparent cabins.”
Inspector General Police Saadat Ullah Khan has also ordered these cafés to put up glass windows to deter young people from visiting these websites.
According to District Naib Nazim Farooq Amjad Mir, the government is “trying its best to stamp out pornography and would not compromise on this issue”.
SHO Sabzazar Abid Hussain told Daily Times the orders of the IG police were being followed. “We have sent out warnings to every Internet café and soon they will all have transparent cubicles in place.”
According to psychiatrist Dr Mubasher Hassan, it is imperative to block Internet websites carrying pornographic pictures.
“Pornography is the reason why most of us believe women are nothing beyond a piece of flesh,” he said, adding that “those addicted to pornographic websites usually perform badly in life and lose their aesthetic sense”.
The Internet, he claimed, had become a huge distraction for the young generation, making them lose interest in their studies.
“On a larger level, pornography results in indecent behaviour, sometimes pushing people towards homosexuality.”
It is believed, however, that pornographic websites provide a commercial lifeline to Internet cafés.
“The government can’t regulate people’s sex lives,” said one owner of an Internet café, on condition of anonymity. “Besides, who’s going to visit my shop if it is turned into a library where only those students who want information for their research papers are allowed to surf the net?”
But the owner of the P4 Internet café, Maqbool Ahmed, did not sound so defiant. Said he: “We have even taken off the curtains at the entrance of our café. Police are warning us everyday, telling us to use transparent cubicles in our shops.”
A student of accounting, Faisal Pirzada, believes young people should “prefer sports to porn”, adding “cyber cafés must impost age restrictions for Internet users”.
Ravi Town Nazim Amir Muneer claims to have set up “a special squad” that will start raiding the Internet cafés soon. He says that computer experts will also form part of the squad.
“We have conducted several meetings regarding this matter,” said he. “Café owners who allow their customers to access obscene websites are responsible for damaging the value system of our entire society.”