msnbc.com
updated 11/18/2011 5:20:34 AM ET 2011-11-18T10:20:34

Pakistan's telecommunications agency has issued a list of words that it considers obscene or offensive, telling mobile phone companies to block text messages that contain them.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) deemed 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words offensive or pornographic, according to reports in local media.

Some are expletives or sexual words while others are medical terms, but some entries have left many scratching their heads.

Pakistan's list of banned words met with ridicule

Included in the list are words such as "intercourse," "condom" and "breast," as well as seemingly ordinary words like "period," "hostage" and "flatulence."

Among the more bizarre are "monkey crotch," "wuutang" and "Jesus Christ."

Pakistan's Express Tribune published more of the words on its website.

Meant to control spam
The letter, dated Nov. 14, was leaked to Pakistani media and an unverified copy has been published on scribd.com.

The PTA instructed mobile phone companies to begin screening text messages by Nov. 21.

According to the letter, the PTA says blocking the texts is meant to control spamming, which it defines as "the transmission of harmful, fraudulent, misleading, illegal or unsolicited messages in bulk to any person without express permission of the recipient."

Mobile phone companies Telenor Pakistan and Ufone confirmed to BBC News that they had received the memo and the "dictionary."

A spokesman for the PTA, meanwhile, told The Guardian newspaper that the move was in response to complaints from customers who said they were receiving offensive text messages.

"Nobody would like this happening to their young boy or girl," Mohammad Younis said.

Pakistanis have been reacting to the news on Twitter, sometimes wondering what the words and expressions mean.

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