KARACHI: Something which perplexes me no end is why majority of Pakistanis do not stand up for their country and defend it when foreign or local media focuses only on the negatives of our society and nation?
Yes, we have problems, probably a lion’s share of them which I do not need to highlight as we all know the issues and challenges. But that still does not give anybody the right to lambast our country without presenting a proper and balanced picture.
In many recent articles, I have seen the authors criticising Pakistan as the most dangerous place to live, naming Karachi as the most dramatic symbol of instability, and many more such one-sided and unbalanced coverage of Pakistan and its people.
We all know many prosperous cities are faced with unrest, mugging and killing. Which mega city in the world is free from poverty and gang wars? In most nations and cities, there are good things to report as well, but to sensationalise the article many writers do not address the positive side. This regrettably prejudices global view of the country and its citizens.
Many would be surprised to hear that Karachi is the “Philanthropic Capital of the World”, with the highest per capita donation and charity. Pakistan has Edhi, the largest social charity organisation in the world.
Most recently, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre in Karachi has obtained a $4.5 million Cyber Knife technology through private donation to treat cancer and tumours, which will be the only facility in the world to offer this treatment free of charge to the poor. But rarely one sees articles on such positive efforts.
We have amazing stories of NGOs doing innovative social development work in the area of education, health services, nutrition, eye and kidney care, deaf education, cancer research and treatment and the list goes on. The kind of response and volunteerism that was seen in the recent floods and earthquake reaffirms my belief that we are indeed a very great nation.
Pakistan also has a budding list of educational institutions. We have a population which shows perseverance, is brave and continues to help the poor and live on with their lives despite such challenging circumstances. It is our responsibility to highlight these aspects also while highlighting all the negative aspects.
It is unfair when one reads such damaging articles which will not only hurt the reputation of our country, but also impact investments coming to our country. Don’t get me wrong, we have issues, serious issues but people must also write about issues that will help our nation, something positive, something balanced.
I see our fellow Pakistanis busy on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc, sharing ideas, thoughts, giving opinion on issues and spending hours doing it. But when it comes to upholding your country’s reputation on media, majority of them remain silent or uninterested.
I strongly urge everyone to find the time to stand up against one-sided negative publicity of our nation. We need to take a bold stance, be upfront and not just pay lip service or remain silent. I urge our citizens to get on the internet and fight against unfair and unwarranted publicity. We need to help portray the true reality on the ground and try to pass the right perspective of our country to the world.
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have,” said US cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead.
The writer works in the corporate sector and is active on various business forums and trade bodies.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012
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