PakLeaks: Did I miss the humour?

Published: December 21, 2010

The blog claimed to have leaked direct messages from members of Pakistan’s Twitterati.

I used to believe that blogs were a great way for people to express themselves. Old school bloggers have a way with words and express themselves in an interesting manner.

Unfortunately, a new generation of bloggers seems to think that the medium gives writers a license to go around making personal attacks just because it seems fun. I heard about a new blog called PakLeaks which seemed to be Pakistan’s equivalent of WikiLeaks.

The blog claimed to have 35,000 leaked direct messages or “DMs” from members of Pakistan’s Twitterati. It claimed that it is being hacked because of the nature of its work but will “prevail” – much like their namesake.

In a new twist the blog has apparently been “hacked.” It seems the trusty WordPress format was not able to ward off the Pakistan Cyber Army as the blog was defaced. To me, it doesn’t add up; why would hackers deface a blog when they could simply have locked the creators out or deleted the blog?

This “hacking” stunt could well be another poor attempt at humour or perhaps another way of gaining publicity.

PakLeaks is not funny

The “leaked DMs” are all fake (the PakLeaks editors seem to be inspired by fictitious cables about India) and are meant to be taken in fun. But I was not amused by the posts on this blog. Perhaps I don’t have a sense of humour or maybe I can’t fathom jokes made at the expense of others.

What were they thinking?

I get the feeling that the PakLeaks website just wanted to target the Twitterati. The editors of PakLeaks may think they are being provocative and “cool” by coming up with such horrible, twisted posts.  But the blog was getting too personal.

A few posts were downright insulting. There were a number of people who had been mentioned in these posts which, I feel, really hit below the belt.

If they had done this in the UK or US they would have been ripe targets for a lawsuit.

Insular insults

The blog shouldn’t even be called PakLeaks because it only targets people from Twitter. I have read satirical blogs on other newspapers and they poke fun at people but they never go beyond the limit. There is an art of making fun of people without making them look horrible. I don’ t think PakLeaks understood that.

Shoaib Taimur

Shoaib Taimur

An IT graduate from Middlesex University who has been blogging for the past 7 years. He is a big fan of tennis, house music and Bjork.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Farhan Virk

    Pak leaks was funny and a great addition to Pakistani twitter community! Although personal attacks especially the one against Mehreen Kasana was a bad thing. It should be condemned whole heartedly. But overall i feel sorry for them.
    As far as hacking attack by Pakistan Cyber Army is concerned it’s 100 percent true. Because Pakistan Cyber Army loves to hack websites and writes it’s own name to gain publicity.It’s their style.They don’t have personal enmity, they love to publicize themselves and become heroes.
    Pak leaks certainly was lacking humour at the final moments but it was one of those memories that one would remember! I missed Pak leaks and couldn’t spend a single day without them.
    If pak leaks would’ve said sorry to Kasana it’d have been better!
    Afterall they get the TURTH out not the real truth.Recommend

  • Babar Khan

    Not only was the site/blog in bad taste, it was terribly offensive. Humor does not mean you have the right to hurt the feelings of people. Good riddance.Recommend

  • Ali Hassan

    I would say, initially they were funny, but then they crossed the limits big time.Recommend

  • Rizwan

    Yes, I missed the humour because a renegade group known as PCA decided to hack the bloody website! What happened to freedom of speech, I ask you?Recommend

  • Mehreen Kasana


    Humor is legit and I’m saying this because I write about it whenever I get the chance but after PakLeaks put up my picture on the blog and cracked a rape-joke in another post about a popular writer Bina Shah, it got ugly. If we’re to do a mock-show of the Gadfly argument here, sure, freedom of speech works but the publication of private material like a girl’s picture is immoral and below the belt. Especially in our society.

    I was very much in favor of the first two posts by PakLeaks because I thought, “Hey, what the hell? It’s kinda funny.” But then things started getting nasty. You may or may not agree but that’s up to you.

    Thank you, Shoaib, for talking sense. Many of us from the Twitterati scene would agree with you wholeheartedly. Recommend