Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Opinion: Is Pakistan Paindabad Website Really Pro-Pakistan?

[Text and picture by Jawad Zakariya; the picture shows the Pakistani flag flying high against the backdrop of Nanga Parbat]

A concerned Pakistani expresses disquiet about the intentions of Pakistan Paindabad.

After reading few articles in Pakistan Paindabad, I have to sincerely believe it is a great effort in the right direction. I whole heartedly agree with the creator of this website that more such efforts are required to understand the true sprit of Pakistan.

Yet, I seemed to get the feeling, while reading the opinions and features in the site, that it was slightly slanted towards the negative direction.

Of course, this may just be because there is so little good news coming out of the country at any time. There is a possibility that I may be finding negativity where none is intended. However, a case in point is the article on Pakistan cricketers – Playing Halaal Cricket in Pakistan. While the facts are all correct the tone of the article seems to be less so. From my point of view, the article’s author, Mayank Austen Soofi, could have examined some positive aspects, too.

In the referred article, he expresses anxiety about growing Islamisation in the world of Pakistani cricket and cites the conversion of the cricketer Yousuf Youhana - one of the few Christian players in the team - to Islam. Actually, I am quite averse to all things religious and was quite disappointed when Yousuf became Mohammad Yousuf, but at the end of the day it was his personal decision - something I should not comment on.

Interestingly, the author failed to mention that the cricketer, after his conversion, has become a far better batsman than he ever was!

Unfortunately, the rest of the article too has a similar tone. The author goes on to make some demeaning remarks about cricket star Shoaib Akhtar while completely ignoring his positive side. There were harsh observations reserved for other players, too.

My point is that this article, which was extremely critical of Pakistan, happens to be published in a site that claims to bring out the better side of this country. Isn’t that ironical?

Regrettably, other news features and op-ed pieces in Pakistan Paindabad carry the same slightly negative attitude – it seemed to me at least. For instance, the interview of the Pakistani Christian, incidentally with whose father Mr. Phillip Lall I have worked with, had that same pessimistic posture. Again, let me point out that the facts are all in accord but it is just the overall negative feeling one gets about the country from these articles that worries me.

I wish well for Pakistan Paindabad but I urge it to try to be more positive in its outlook. That is, if it really believes in its title.

[Mr. Zakariya is an accomplished photographer. He presently lives in Canada and can be reached on his website - Jawad Zakariya Blog.]


samir said...

Hello there. I think it is a very good site and while this Pakistani Canadian has some valid points I ask him if he cares for his country then why is he living in Canada. Why is not caring for his country by working in Pakistan?

Anonymous said...

I actually think the website does a good job of presenting a balanced view. Too often we are presented with the positive aspects of our country that we never want to improve.

Besides, if this is the way Mayank sees the country then it is good that he is presenting an honest view. We need to face reality and see how others see us and not only how we see ourselves.
We should not only be concerned about promoting our positive image but should try to eradicate the conditions in the country which give rise to the negative impressions.

Actually, I found the interview of Mr. Lall to be more positive than I would've expected from a pakistani christian considering what i've seen. Mr. Lall definitely is living in much better conditions than most of the people of his community.

Keep up the good work Mayank!
Jawad, if you are so concerned about promoting a positive image of Pakistan, come back here and start setting up your own blog to promote the positive Pakistan.

anonymous2 again.

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

anonymous2, thanks for the kind words and for encouraging me. However, I wish to add a comment: I can not speak for Mr. Jawad Zakariya and neither has he given me any authority to defend his patriotic sentiments for Pakistan. But I have to disagree with both you and Samir (the above commentator) concerning a suggestion offered to Mr. Zakariya of returning back to the fatherland in order to improve the nation’s image.

A country, I believe, is not merely a plot of land. It is a landscape etched inside one’s heart. There are no rules and theories on how to shower the most blessed form of love and service. Each does it in his own way. Be it to the beloved or to the country!

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Besides, while it may be interesting to observe how foreigners (like me) see Pakistan, it remains more interesting (and important) for foreigners to know how Pakistanis view their own country. The ideal purpose of Pakistan Paindabad is to present that side of Pakistan as is seen by Pakistanis (not just the professional journalists etc. but people like 'you and me') themselves.

Anu said...

Thanks and regarding your posting.