Pakistan has a poor image around the world due to Islamic extremists, terrorism and it’s political relationship with other countries. Though we cannot neglect the fact that there are legitimate problems on it’s soil, we can quite rightly assume that the media has over exaggerated and only demonstrated the outrageous side of the country, providing an incomplete image of Pakistan focused on the negative events while ignoring the amazing uniqueness within its variety of culture, customs, natural beauty and hospitality. Thus, foreigners do not get to see various progressive activities that are happening inside the country; the unpleasant events that the media has portrayed about Pakistan are all that is remembered.
Being an intern at SOC Films as a Sri Lankan student, I had a very different image of Pakistan before I arrived to Karachi, Pakistan. Now, I understand there is a negative perception that has been fed to foreigners. Unless and until someone visits Pakistan, his or her bad impression about the country persists. People should visit Pakistan to gain first hand knowledge and to discover a realistic picture of the country for themselves. I’m sure that the foreigners who visit the country will find reality much better than what they had initially expected. A German Journalist stated his experience as below,
“I have been swimming in the sea, I have been to Empress Market & to nice restaurants… hardly I have seen any country where people were so open. I never met anybody here who was unfriendly, somebody with a RPG or a bomb! I never could have imagined this because my image before I came here was totally different.”
Therefore, I think, it is the responsibility of media to focus on a variety of events that are taking place nationwide so that people around the world have the opportunity to change their negative mindset about Pakistan. Many outsiders are not aware, of numerous pleasant national and international events that take place in Pakistan. Recently, one of the colleges in Islamabad celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee however; these events are hardly focused and telecasted by the international media. Thus, people have lesser chance to see the strong bond that Pakistanis have towards the UK and other countries. If such events are broad casted worldwide, relations with other countries may improve and the perceptions of foreigners may change.
In spite of the bad image given by the media to Pakistan, Ho-Yakeen (Let’s believe) a six part documentary series by SOC Films is a galvanizing example where they focus on individuals who put their efforts to make Pakistan brighter. The first episode by Sabina Khatri is an amazing example, which reflects an individual’s struggle to make the community better in a violent place like Lyari where crimes take place often.
Ho-Yakeen is not only about individuals making change; it is about bringing a visible social influence to the country. The serial has the potential to inspire individuals, to bring a change in their attitudes and beliefs, and to ultimately make a difference on an individual and social level. For example, most of the time people are aware about the problems that exist within their communities, but in reality there are only a few individuals who take the initiative to bring a change in their society. The first episode shows the courage of a woman who took the initiative to work with underprivileged children in a low income area, in the field of education. Her willingness and enthusiasm in bringing changes to the social and political scenario, where human lives have staggeringly tumbled, should not only be inspiring to the compatriots, but also every individual around the world who wishes to bring changes in their society.
Written By: Thasomini Palaniyandy and Nazneen