Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif being given guard of honour at the PM House. PHOTO: Twitter/PML-N

Political reformation and inclusivity without the red carpet

By eschewing this emblem of entitlement, the PM is articulating a compelling narrative about modesty, egalitarianism.

Syeda Amnah Batool April 03, 2024

In an unprecedented revolutionary move, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declares a red carpet ban at events in his favour, signalling a shift towards eradicating the VIP culture and encouraging a culture of humility within the realm of public service.

This move has been applauded by many as a significant step towards dismantling the VIP culture prevalent in the country and is seen as a departure from the usual pomp and grandeur associated with official ceremonies. The decision not only demonstrates the governments’ commitment to promoting a more inclusive and equitable society but also coincides with the worldwide trend of
diminishing lavishness in public gatherings of countries such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

In the broader context of human history, the concept of the red carpet dates back to ancient times, symbolising power, prestige, and royalty during grand ceremonies and events. Over time, this tradition has evolved and permeated into various aspects of modern society, particularly in the realm of politics and public events. Red carpets have become synonymous with glamour, prestige, and VIP treatment, often reserved for politicians, celebrities, and other high-profile individuals. This extravagant display of honour and recognition, while intended to celebrate achievements and milestones, has also inadvertently contributed to the perpetuation of an elitist culture and a sense of inequality among the general public.

In the grand tapestry of our history, Prime Minister Shehbaz's bold stance on banning red carpets at events involving him and his family members stands as a beacon of inclusive policy-making. This departure from the norm signifies a pivotal shift in perspective. By eschewing this emblem of elitism and entitlement, the premier is articulating a compelling narrative about the virtues of humility, modesty, and egalitarianism in governance. Such a decisive move not only challenges entrenched notions of power and privilege, but also serves as an invitation for introspection among citizens and leaders alike, urging a collective re-evaluation of entrenched VIP cultures.

Pakistan's VIP culture has faced constant criticism for perpetuating elitism and inequality. This bias and preferential treatment based on financial and social status breed feelings of inferiority, particularly among the underprivileged. Thus, the resulting sense of elitism and inequality fosters resentment and alienation within society. By banning red carpets at events, Prime Minister Shehbaz has set an example for other politicians and public figures to follow. This move signifies a shift in mindset, promoting the idea that everyone, regardless of their status, should be treated with equal respect and dignity.

For a developing country like ours, we cannot afford for our people, especially our already struggling youth, to feel discouraged and discriminated in the kind of treatment they receive due to their standing in terms of finances or social status. Such a shift would not only contribute to a more harmonious social fabric but also encourage a greater sense of civic responsibility and participation, ultimately benefiting the nation's development and progress.

PM Shehbaz's decision also signifies a commendable stride toward dismantling Pakistan's divisive VIP culture. This action not only reflects global trends but also inspires fellow politicians and public figures to follow suit. In our pursuit of a fairer and more equitable world, initiatives such as these play a pivotal role in nurturing unity and respect for all individuals, irrespective of their societal status. The premier's resolute of inclusive governance, not only inspires confidence in government institutions but also instils hope for a brighter future for Pakistan.

Syeda Amnah Batool

The writer is a member of National Assembly.

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


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