Pakistan Needs to Tell the Story Right

Pakistan Needs to Tell the Story Right

It is a battle for ideas, narratives and tales.



Get your story straight. Get your story right. Even if halfway through you realize that you have chosen the wrong side or perhaps the less profitable one, don’t panic. All is not lost. Get up, brush yourself off and get your act together. Be better prepared and equipped to make a come-back that flashes through the dust of time. Present a story that sticks, a narrative that gels well with the stakeholders, and a tale that grapples the audience. Anything ranging from a heart wrenching confession from the past to an optimistic commitment for the future would work to excuse your behavior. The trick is to make it convincing to a level that the audience is completely and utterly drunk on the idea. And boom! You work is done. You’re back in the game.



The problem with Pakistan is that it has never been able to define a narrative for itself and even when it has; it never stuck with it long enough so that it settled with the public or with the international community. Case in point: Failure of project Jinnah which aimed at creating a positive image of Jinnah and ended up sparking an infuriating debate about the difference between Jinnah’s ideologies and actions.



We as a nation have been marred with a benign disease: the curse of confusion. A confusion that has deadened our spirits, scared our ideology, paralyzed our thinking, crippled our state machinery and blinded our public. From the question of the reason for the creation of Pakistan to its current status on terrorism to its future goals, we have been confused about everything. We don’t have to look far for examples; our frequent experiments with religion throughout our history provide a glaring testimony to that.



The only good thing out of this manifested confusion is that it provides a lot of grey area for our political leaders to move around. They secretly guard their loyalties and never openly declare who their friends or foes are. This provides them with ample room to get cozy with one, sleep with another and all along, flirt with all the available partners. It is a good gameplay for as long as it works but we have worn out our cards and exhausted this strategy. We have shifted our sides’ one too many times and there is a limit to how many times you can go back to your old partner without butchering your soul and completely diminishing your self-esteem. There comes a time, when those around you figure out your game and refuse to mingle with you anymore. Pakistan is at that stage of abandonment.



What changed?



The magnetic surge of internet and the subsequent boom of social networks have changed the way politics is done in the country. It has disposed immense amount of power at the disposal of the public. Anyone with a strong argument is immediately bought forward in the spot light and is made a stakeholder in the political arena. The already existing players are more vocal than ever and their differences are highlighted, magnified, and painted in the color of controversy by the rating (read profit) starved media. Couple up this entire mixture of variables with a heightened civic sense of the community and you’ll get the current state of affairs of Pakistan. The government is facing exuberant amount of pressure from all sides to clearly define its stance on issues of national and international importance. Pakistan has to realize the dangers of continuing with the war on terror in its narrative-less state. This is not a sustainable policy and if not rectified, it will backlash soon.



We have to make a decision, pick a side and then stick with it. We can’t continue to harbor the enemies while simultaneously condemn attacks on girls like Malala Yousafzai. We can’t make under table agreements to support drone attacks yet spread anti-American sentiments on the public front. We can’t let statements like that of Munawar Hassan discredit the efforts of hundreds and thousands of people who have lost their lives in this battle. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The sooner Pakistan realizes this better it will be otherwise, it is only a matter of time till the catastrophic consequences of sharing the bed with both the enemy and the friend will take a toll on the health of the nation.

Shaheera Syed

A Public Administration graduate student from NUST School of Social Sciences and Humanities

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  • M.Saeed

    On a normal concourse, our system is predicated on ultimate civilian control of the armed forces. But counting on the calibre and performances of our civility norms in the legislative houses, the control harps and dwells for our misfortune, on whimsical predisposition and intravasation of the mafiatic bad-blood of our political dons. It is not even thinkable for them to comprehend the intricate demands of the military, not to speak of proverbial “have walked in any combat soldiers shoes”. They in fact lack the capability even to think about issues involved, not to talk about questioning the decisions or judgement of the military officers.

    What Changed? Obviously, we are yet to be made for any change.

  • M.Saeed

    Pakistan needs to know the “real stories” first but, are we sane enough for that?
    Don’t we remember our so called “Security Risk” Prime Minister who crumpled and dumbed top secret briefs in a hotel dustbin during foreign visit that made the headlines in the international press?
    Secondly, are we capable of knowing the real stories and analysing them to decide how, where and how much to react?
    It is unfortunate that, we are relying on people who are not reliable even to their own selves.

  • M.Saeed

    Shaheera you say:
    “The problem with Pakistan is that it has never been able to define a narrative for itself.”

    It is good that our youth is trying to find way out of our ever increasing bedevilling problems and looking for right direction. But unfortunately, there is no one to tell the youth that the direction there right below the nose. The father-of-nation lived long enough with his child named ‘Pakistan” to give clear and well defined directions to make Pakistan a model in progress. It needs to be appreciated that the first 4 “Five Years Development Plans” gave the country a mind-boggling annual development progress rate (average) of 23% !
    It is no secret that S.Korea and Malaysia borrowed our development plans to start their own efforts in 60′s and are now on top of the world while we are continuously drifting down back to the stone-age, thanks to our scavenging politicians who effectively for selfish reasons eroded the vision and guidance of our great guide we call without meaning, “Quaid e-Azam” which literally means the Greatest Guide.

  • Anonymous

    Generals desirous of running social and foreign policies, retired generals and air marshalls feeling their analysis and conclusion of legal matters (and not tge courts and judges) IS the only valid one, Judges decalring market prices, alleged journalists cum analysts becoming experts of morality, lawyers playing politics in courts and on media (instead of practicing law) and businessmen playing politicians, and so on and on and on…Can the story be told right without correcting these major flaws?!

    Would be hilarious to hear the likes of Air Marshall Shahid Latif, Dr Danish and Mr Qasuri lecturing the masses about what the Constitution, law and order etc is if it was not so serious a matter. Then they have temerity to challenge the Taliban interpretation of Islam…..apne apne garebaan mein jhanko!!!!!