After repeated attempts to project the soft image of his Naya Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan advises the youth of his country: “There is nothing called soft image”, instead they should promote “Pakistaniyat”.
"I repeatedly hear that we need to present a soft image of Pakistan. What does a soft image mean? Why do we say this and if this soft image is established will the world consider us very good?” Pakistani Channel Geo TV quoted Khan as saying.
Questioning the whole concept of soft power and terming it a sign of “inferiority”, Khan, in one fell swoop, took the wind out of the sails of scores of young Pakistani filmmakers, writers and poets who have been trying hard to build a softer image of their country which is known as the “nerve” centre of Terrorism.
Addressing the National Amateur Short Film Festival, Khan told young filmmakers, “when Pakistanis were called extremists and fundamentalists, a defensive mindset arose in them that they should promote their soft image.”
He asked the filmmakers not to copy Bollywood films.“ Only the original thing sells in the world, not copying,” thundered the former cricketer.
Last year, his own government had failed to defend renowned director Sarmad Khoosat’s thought-provoking feature film, Zindagi Tamasha (Circus of Life), and stopped its release following the threats of violent protests from the far-right Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
Prime Minister Khan said Pakistanis only had to promote one image: that of an independent nation standing on its feet which believes in itself, doesn't rely on anyone and doesn't take loans or beg anyone.
There was buzz on Pakistani social media when the spokesperson of Pakistani army claimed that, “Pakistan has almost won the war against terror, the terrorists damaged Pakistan's identity. It is time that we strive to improve our perception [in the world.”
One Pakistani journalist wrote on Twitter, “From making the Taliban guardians, violating the constitution, seizing power at gunpoint, imposing puppets, assassinating political leaders, imprisoning them, picking up and disappearing those who raise their voices against atrocities. The image is greatly improved by the strangulation of the media!”
طالبان کو گارڈینز بنانے، آئین کو پامال کر نے، اقتدار پر بندوق کے زور سے قبضہ کرنے سے، کٹھ پتلیوں کو مسلط کر نے سے ،سیاسی رہنماؤں کو قتل کرنے، جیل میں ڈالنے، مظالم پر آواز اٹھانے والوں کو اٹھانے اور غائب کرنے سے، میڈیا کا گلہ گھوٹنے سے امیج بہت بہتر ہوتا ہے! https://t.co/OfDVme5mXV
— Talimand Khan (@MirSwat) June 26, 2021
It's a well-known fact that Pakistan is the nerve center of terrorism. Pakistan is home to the largest no. of listed terrorists, internationally designated terrorist entities and individuals, including Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Lashkar-e-Taiba, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen. Like it or not, that’s the image of Imran Khan’s Pakistan.