SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)
Pakistan is an epic tale of not only a monumental tragedy but also of a unique, resilient and dynamic nation bustling withimmense potential and promise in terms of man and material resources. It is a riveting saga of a society that continues to survive and thrive in the face of many geo,political, socio-economic, ethno-lingual and communal tumors and tremors.Moreover, the nation remains an easy prey to the vagaries ofgeo-political faultines and hostage to predatory local ruling elite with medieval mindset resisting the national urge to break out of the toxic colonial legacies of the British Raj.
Unfortunately, it is a grossly misunderstood country in the comity of nations. No country on the planet earth has been conferred on so many notorious and negative nicknames as Pakistan. It is conveniently dismissed and labeled as a terrorist state, rogue state, crisis state, security state, dysfunctional state,ungovernable state, failed state or a falling state to put it mildly.Admittedly, the country has been a captive victim to vicious cycle of internal and external crises which have caused immense damage to the socio-economic and political fabric of the country in addition to earning bad name to the country across the world.But out-of-the-proportion negative media depiction of Pakistan reeks of both-maliciousness and utter ignorance about brightside of the nation of around 200 million souls. There is more than what meet the eyes about Pakistan.
The ruling elite’s wrong foreign policies and posture or acts of terrorism by a tiny and misguided segment of society, do not qualify as the yardstick to judge a complex and diverse country that Pakistan is by all measures. The consistent and concerted vilification of Pakistan has overshadowed the inspiring and promising version of the same country. Pakistan’s international image is so tarnished and tainted that even its vibrant, diverse and dynamic society, its rich cultural and civilizational heritage or international world records ranging from education to sports are able to draw no or scant attention and appreciation in the media. The World attention grabbed by the youngest noble laureate Malala Yusafzai is an exception not a norm. Usually, the nation is only viewed from the lens of negativity which prevents the world community from seeing the unsung but bright and promising aspect of the country.
Interestingly, it is pertinent to note that in-depth and objective evaluation of the ill-fated nation reveal the rosy pictureof Pakistan quite different from the monotonous and simplisticand stereotypical portrayal of Pakistan in international media. The other side of the country suggests that it is a complex and diverse land geographically, culturally, ethno-linguistically,religiously, economically and even politically.
Therefore, the media needs to remove the goggles of negativity and prejudice to tell the world that the country is also home to the amazing Indus valley civilization, one of the most advanced and earliest human civilizations on the planet. Dr Abdus Salam, Malala Yusafzai, the two noble laureates are also Pakistani nationals. The former was a world renowned scientist and the latter is a young iconic education activist. The country has also an Oscar award to its credit. Abdul Sattar Edhi, thefounder of the world’s largest philanthropic ambulance service, also belongs to Pakistan. Besides, the country is one of the top contributors of peace keeping troops to conflict-ridden hotspots of the world. Back in 1972, it was the Pakistan’s foreign policy master stroke that led to diplomatic rapprochement between America and China. In the world of games and sports, the country’s commendable contributions and enviable achievements in the field of cricket, hockey, squash and snooker remain unique and unrivalled.
The exceptional achievements of Abdul Sattar Edhi, Dr AbdusSalam, Malala Yusafzai , Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, SharmeenObaid Chinoy, Naseem Hameed, Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa,and Ali Moeen Nawazish, symbolize the unexplored but inspiring and promising version of a dynamic, vibrant and resilient Pakistan. In addition, the list of fabulous facts about the country’s potentialities and capabilities is long enough. For instance, the country is one of the world’s largest producers of agriculture products notably apricot (6th largest), cotton (4th largest), milk (5th largest), date palm (5th largest), sugarcane (5th largest), onion (7th largest), kinnow, mandarin oranges,clementine (6th largest), mango (4th largest) wheat (7th largest)and rice (14th largest).
Thus, the country is not all about terrorism, extremism, political turmoil or governance chaos. Pakistan is not an epicenter of terrorism but itself a victim to monster of terrorism;it is a battered country not the beaten; it is not a poor country but a poorly governed; it is not only going through challenges but also change and it is not a failed or failing country but it’s an evolving nation. The state may be weak and moribund but society remains strong and dynamic in Pakistan. Last but not the least, failure of a microscopic power-and-pelf-hungry ruling elite is in no way the failure of a resilient and evolving nation as a whole.
Undoubtedly, the nation is under the suffocating siege of multi-faceted challenges but the challenges also give birth to change. Clearly, the realization and aspiration for change and betterment is more formidable and greater than ever. The first ever democratic transition of power in the wake of the landmark general elections in 2013 proved the point that Pakistanis do aspire to evolve and change through a soft revolution in form ofcontinuous democratic evolution. Despite many tumors and tremors, Pakistan is here to stay. The nation would never fade into the annals of history so long as there are millions patriotic, progressive, peace-loving, resilient, and moderate Pakistanis who are the real proverbial dark energy, moving spirit, or driving force that has been keeping this country afloat and alive despite all the mess and mayhem inflicted by the dishonest, incompetent and power-and-pelf hungry, elected and non-electedruling class. The international community needs to rectify its lopsided and unbalanced perception of Pakistan, looking beyond the narrow confines of negativity to explore and appreciate the abundance of the positive energy and drive in the nation.Undeniably, the Pakistan’s own rating-hungry media is equally culpable for projection of the country in negative light apart from providing fodder to western media always waiting in wings to smear Pakistan’s image. Ironically, local media tends to waste more airtime on sensational and spicy stories and news items like wedding ceremony of actress Vena Malik and political madness in form of sit-ins than highlighting the unknown and positive aspects of Pakistan. It is a national responsibility of local media and Pakistani diplomatic missions abroad to take solid and substantial corrective measures to repair the badly bruised image of the country. For image building and projection, both the above mentioned institutions are supposed to highlight the soft aspects the country.
In sum, the nation’s proven and inexhaustible reserves ofresilience, dynamism and ongoing democratic evolution suggest that Pakistan is on the path to evolve into a truly democratic, peaceful and prosperous country with a respectable role and reputation in the comity of nations.