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article imagePakistani president Asif Zardari bans jokes ridiculing him

By Andrew Moran     Jul 22, 2009 in World
In a law that would fall under the Cyber Crimes Act, anyone who is caught making a joke about President Asif Zardari will be arrested.
As of now, anyone who is caught sending a joke about Pakistani President Asif Zardari by text, e-mail or blog will be arrested and possibly sentenced to prison for up to 14 years. This law comes under the recent legislation Cyber Crimes Act.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media the Federal Investigation Agency had been asked to monitor any future situations that harbor jokes about Zardari.
Mr. Malik said, “This move would punish the authors of ill motivated and concocted stories through emails and text messages against the civilian leadership.”
This piece of legislation has been called Draconian and authoritarian and critics of Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party, believe that the agenda of Mr. Zardari and his alliances are going lower than that of the country’s former military leader Pervez Musharraf, who won power through a coup d’état.
Zardari has a long list of controversial moves; during his wife’s tenure as leader of Pakistan, he accepted bribes and kickbacks for government contracts, thus giving him the name “Mr. 10 per cent.”
Such jokes about Pres. Zardari include:
• "Terrorists have kidnapped our beloved Zardari and are demanding $5,000,000 or they will burn him with petrol. Please donate what you can. I have donated five liters."
• “To commemorate the ascension to the Presidency, Pakistan Post has officially launched a new stamp. But the people of Pakistan are confused which side on the stamp to spit on.”
• “Robber: "Give me all your money!" Zardari: "Don't you know who I am? I am Asif Ali Zardari." Robber: "OK. Give me all my money!”
Prior to the jokes being sent to the President’s official e-mail, Pres. Zardari wanted to introduce a new tax on all text messages. This obviously inflamed many constituents, therefore causing increased hatred within the country.
The government has vehemently defended this new legislation by declaring it is for counter-terrorism all the way to women’s rights.
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