“Pakistan’s Image Problem”

Today’s Dawn has published an interesting article of filmmaker, media consultant and journalist Hasan Zaidi. The article “Pakistan’s Image Problem” mentions how increasingly unpopular Pakistan has become in different countries of the world.  Based on the findings of the BBC World Service Country Rating Poll, the writer says:

“The countries where more than two-thirds of those surveyed held mainly negative feelings about Pakistan include the Philippines (79 per cent, obviously those tableeghi trips and employment opportunities for maids are not working out), France (77), Germany (76), the US (75), Brazil (75), Australia (74), Spain (72), Italy (70), India (68), UK (68) and Canada (67).”

After reading this article, I searched the net for the original report where I found some more disconcerting statistics.

“The worsening in views of Pakistan is particularly apparent in some key Western countries. Negative views of Pakistan jumped from 44 to 68 per cent in the United Kingdom, 58 to 75 per cent in the USA, 54 to 74 per cent in Australia, and 49 to 67 per cent in Canada.”

I liked the writer’s conclusion as well: “The problem lies not in our image but in ourselves. Fix that first and the image will take care of itself.”

Honestly, there is no need for the Pakistanis to get defensive about such surveys. We have reached at a point where it is almost insignificant for us to care as to what the rest of the world thinks about us. Who should we care about?

The Foreign tourists? When was the last time you saw one?

The Foreign Investors? Are there any foreign investors still left in Pakistan? Send the PTV team to interview them!

Foreign Journalists? Oh you mean journalists. Sorry. Actually we call them C.I.A agents.  Yes, they are all C.I.A agents! We are in the process of Raymond Davis-IZING all of them. Let the I.S.I computers reboot.

Pakistan’s battle isn’t with the rest of the world, nor is the world at war with the Islamic Republic. Pakistan is at war with itself and its people. Pakistan’s roots are being cut from within by the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism, rampant corruption and socio-economic inequality. Therefore, it is almost meaningless to  worry about our image internationally. What right now needs to be done is to to improve the image from within.No country would be loved abroad until its own people love it first. The people of the country, half of whom are all young boys and girls, should be given hope for a better, secure future, free education, equal rights and freedom of expression and movement.

This world is a global village. If you do well, as was seen in Brazil, in the fields of economy and democracy, then the world will immediately start forming a very “positive opinion” about you (something that we are now dying for as much as a child longing for ice cream). The world right now is no more interested in seeing a positive or a negative image of Pakistan. The biggest concern for  the world as well as Pakistan itself right now, particularly for its unemployed, illiterate and hopeless youth, is the very survival of a country that boats its nuclear capability but lacks clean drinking water or toilets in its remote schools and hospitals.


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