We Don’t Need A Soft Image – Syed Moazzam Hai

‘Soft image’’ is one of the many abundantly used and abused clichés in Pakistan. Media intellectuals relentlessly enlighten us, the commoners of the land, on the inescapable necessity of movies, dramas, catwalks, kathak dance, cricket matches; trade shows etc in creating the much needed ‘soft image’ for us.

But do we need a soft image?

Before deciding on the type of image we need we first have to fully fathom the depth of the lows of an image we carry these days.

According to IntelCenter’s list of ‘Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries’, as of March 2015 Pakistan ranked as the eighth most dangerous country in the world. And according to a 2014 report by Minority Rights Group International (MRG), Pakistan was marked as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for religious minorities.

Pakistan was also found to be the most dangerous country for journalists in the world by the International Federation of Journalists in 2014. Furthermore Pakistan came in second to last in terms of gender equality worldwide in the annual Global Gender Gap report published by the World Economic Forum in October 2014.

Back in 2010 during the golden era of reconciliation and corruption Pakistan slipped to the ignominy of being ranked as the 10th most failed state in the world according to a survey released on June 21, 2010 by the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine and Fund for Peace.

In 2011 Pakistan was ranked among the bottom five countries on income and wellbeing by the 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index released by the London-based research organisation, Legatum Institute, on November 1, 2011. It’s no wonder that the Pakistani passport is ranked as the third worst for international travel according to an index prepared by Henley & Partners in cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released in 2015.

Following are some glimpses of how we ourselves contribute to this hardcore image.

Saad Aziz, a BBA graduate from IBA Karachi, and Muhammad Azhar Ishrat – an electronics engineer from SSUET – apparently are the ones who massacred innocent Ismailis in a bus in Karachi.

A security guard of Abdul Qadir Gilani kills Tahir a motorcycle riding common Pakistani youth for the ‘affront’ of overtaking the vehicles of his master – the son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Sufiyan, a child of 14 months, dies at NICH amid the strike and boycott of the medical staff.

Political parties join hands to deprive women of their right to vote in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Policemen kill lawyers and lawyers beat policemen and common people besides burning and ransacking private and public property on live camera.

Police commandos torture journalists in front of high courts.

After stealing the land, money and peace of Karachi the city’s corruption mafia steals chlorine from water and then steals water in Karachi. Donkey carcass is ‘crafted’ into goats’ carcass and sold by butchers in Pakistan.

And here we have moe of how we contribute to our portrayal of an image outside Pakistan.

Chester Ludlow, a dog in the United States gets an MBA degree – courtesy Axact. Baron Qurban Hussain, a Pakistani-British Liberal Democrat, admits he illegally smuggled a two-year-old boy into the UK by claiming he was his son.

Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, Pakistan born-naturalised US citizens plead guilty in a terrorist plot to detonate a bomb in New York City.

A gang of British Pakistani men run the Rochdale sex trafficking gang, exploiting and abusing around 50 underage girls in UK.

And above all, the organised corruption and crime syndicates operating in the garb of political parties in Pakistan blatantly demand uninterrupted freedom and impunity to loot this country. Some media intellectuals, instead of supporting action against economic terrorism, advocate compromise with these corruption terrorists.

There is something seriously wrong with us.

A nation’s collective character defines its image. We seem to have a national character that is actually devoid of character.

This characterless character is the eventual product of a society where there’s no law for the powerful and no justice for the weak for ages now. This decayed society of ours has been producing generations that are distinctively bereft of any respect or regard for any ethical values.

We need not a soft but a tough image – an image of a nation that is resolutely tough on upholding the supremacy of law and justice over all. A nation that is tough on criminals regardless of their position, power and pelf.

For this we will have to support efforts being taken by whosoever in this country to get the mighty corrupt and criminal elements to face law and justice.