‘Exports depend on country’s image abroad’

Ministry official says negative propaganda has tarnished Pakistan’s image

Imran Rana January 02, 2020

FAISALABAD: The business community must play a proactive role in promoting a soft image of Pakistan at the international level because it is directly linked with the country’s exports, said Ministry of Human Rights Joint Secretary Malik Kamran Azam.

Addressing businessmen at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), he highlighted the salient features of a new programme titled “National Action Plan for Businesses and Human Rights” launched by his ministry.

He added that the basic idea behind the programme was to further improve the human rights situation in Pakistan in order to counter the negative and politically motivated propaganda, which was proving fatal for the country’s global economic interests.

“In this connection, a draft of the National Action Plan regarding human rights is being prepared to collect baseline data in consultation with the relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Talking about the role of his ministry, he stressed that its aims and objectives were directly and indirectly linked with many other ministries.

“We have to defend Pakistan on various forums and organisations internationally and hence this ministry has to take care of human rights issues,” he told the business community. “Our economic rivals are continuously hatching conspiracies to tarnish the soft image of Pakistan which will, in turn, inflict a colossal loss to our economy and exports.”

He was of the view that Pakistan’s performance was fair keeping in view the human rights situation in the country, however, due to negative propaganda, country officials had to provide clarifications at the international forums.

He pointed out that Pakistan had sufficient laws to protect basic human rights in addition to the institutional forums for their implementation.

“Being a signatory of 27 international treaties, agreements and protocols, we must be compliant with all these laws,” he stressed.

He revealed that the ministry was presently preparing a comprehensive study to dispel the negative impact of propaganda against the country in addition to protecting legitimate interests of the business community.

He elaborated that under the National Action Plan for Businesses and Human Rights, data was being compiled so that anomalies could be removed and a strong response could be given to the country’s archrivals.

He added that first draft of the National Action Plan would be presented to the federal and provincial governments within three months.

“Later, suggestions from the business community can also be included in it,” he said and added that a national-level debate would be held prior to seeking final approval for the plan from the federal cabinet.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2020.

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