Downhill on the road of morality, Pakistanis don’t even know what’s wrong with them
I find it astonishing that the only thing which sells in Pakistan is politics. People do not respond to literature, art, or personal development so much. The reason for this is obvious. There are no literature and art enthusiasts on the top. Decline in book reading is responsible for increase in intolerance. The negative effects of lack of art and culture are very eminent in Pakistani society; we are failing our people at personal level. They do not have answers for the challenges modern life is posing.
For instance, social media can be a source of empowerment and knowledge. However, I notice public response is only on political blogs or posts and that too negative one. It is creating a polarised society.
My concern is also that all major political parties fail to engage and educate public on tolerance, equality, morality or social norms, activities and trends. Social media users in Pakistan harass and abuse people into silence. People are afraid to voice their general opinion or to show themselves. Many women cannot have Facebook account in Pakistan because they face harassment on social media.
Topics live personal well-being, abuse, depression are off TV screens
I see no posts on the real life problems, like emotional help or support for mental health, depression, prevention from suicide, drug problems. Topics like personal well-being, office life, how to deal with abuse, how to get a work and personal life balance. Comedy, art, and literature are completely missing. These issues are not missing from social media but from Television discussions.
The question is why so. It is very obvious. Number one, the political opposition tries to silence people through harassment, disgraceful and bullying comments, abusive language is used for whoever tries to speak up for gender equality, equality in general and human rights. Absence of all this is creating a vacuum. Every Pakistani feels they have to protect Pakistan from other Pakistanis.
Outrage as soon as you voice a differing opinion
As soon as someone has an opinion or something different, social media immediately comes into action for condemnation. A parallel counter narrative is formed and people instead of being educated on the issues start following the posts and comments of the people and the whole thing is reduced to nothing. It is extremely unhealthy for public, we still are unsure about our personal and national values. Criticism should have a counter and positive response, a dialogue in society is very important. Right and wrong should be decided by the people.
We stop people from developing their intellectual capacity
Astonishingly, we are not very mature in politics either, although there are so many channels, which are solely dedicated to political commentaries. The basic question which lacks is what do we demand of the political parties? What kind of changes we want to see and who is bringing them?
We stop people from doing anything; we are actually stopping them from developing in their intellectual capacity. As per my understanding, a well-informed public has never damaged its country.
Not sure why we need so many army accounts, with flags and official monograms
If we want to raise the living standards and opportunities for Pakistani people, we must allow them first to be able to think for themselves. We must allow healthy and positive debates. So far I have not seen any major political party engaged in real politics, like women rights, human rights, freedom of expression, education, health and jobs. The tolerance has to begin from the top. Political parties should stop personal attacks and stick to political agendas. Not sure as well, why we need so many army accounts, with flags and official monograms.
Allow people to be themselves
If we want to see the change in Pakistan, it will come from encouragement of freedom of expression, where people are allowed to be themselves and silence is broken. Instead of concentrating on personal development or the challenges, we are always on the defensive or protecting religion and country from its own people.
We as Pakistanis are responsible for the national brain drain
The power of any country is its people. The more informed and mature they are in their political and social views and values, the stronger their country would be. So far, media and political parties have failed people. I would not say journalists, writers or educationists because so many of them have been gunned down and have paid personal price. We as Pakistanis are responsible for brain drain as well. The damage to Pakistan is huge; we as a nation are not ready for the challenges we are facing, be it political, social or economic.
We cannot exist in isolation
We are a small country and should not be difficult to govern. We should not be afraid to give personal freedoms and draw lines as well. These lines should be drawn by the public. Today’s world is a global village, we cannot exist in isolation, we should be bold, open and encouraging. Only than we can progress and face the challenges of current times or else we’ll continue lagging behind.
The author is based in UK.