PTA bans ‘vulgar’ tariffs

22 Nov 2012

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has added to its growing list of prohibitions, banning wireless operators from offering late night packages, which offer cheaper call rates at off-peak times, on the grounds that such deals run counter to the social values of the country. Pro Pakistani cites PTA Chairman Farooq Awan as saying: ‘We have received a number of complaints from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Standing Committee of the Parliament, senators, MNAs [Members of the National Assembly] and subscribers regarding the promotion of vulgarity through such advertisements and have therefore asked CMOs to immediately discontinue such packages.’ Representatives from operators reportedly admitted that the advertisements for the deals were not in keeping with the moral values of Pakistani society and have been issued warnings to cease providing the cheap late-night tariffs.

The ban follows a string of recent security-driven prohibitions – including the sale of SIMs through sales channels currently in place and mobile number portability (MNP) – but is far from the first ban based on moral policing. Last year, the PTA proposed a scheme banning over a thousand English and Urdu words from SMS messages, though the plan was later dropped in the face of a mixture of fierce criticism and ridicule.