Every year on 5th February Pakistan officially celebrates “Kashmir Day”, to raise Kashmir issue, by announcing a nationwide Holiday. To highlight Kashmir dispute, official ceremonies are held across the nation in government buildings, offices and schools. But is it really paying off ?
In reality, the Kashmir issue has gone into vanity on global level. India is continuously killing Kashmiris in return of their peaceful protests but yet the world seems not to care anymore. So what has gone wrong? Kashmir issue was among the main global issues until recently that once US President Bill Clinton termed it as “Nuclear Flashpoint”. But today no US leader, European leader or even our closes allies i.e Saudia Arabia, United Arab Emirates or Even China give an statement in our favor.
The answer is, It is the failure of our Public Relations on global level !
If you consider Pakistan as a business entity, India as our business competitor and outer world as audience, then it becomes clearer how we totally failed in the last two decades, in our Public Relations with the outer world.
like any business entity, there are two types of factors who affect your Public Relations. Once is internal factors and other is external approach. Below is the list of factors who are affecting our PR performance.
1. Political Instability
Pakistan is in political instability since 1989. strictly talking in the sense that the investor knew there will be a certain type of government for a certain period of time, be it democracy or dictatorship. the whole 90’s was unstable as two government of Benazir Bhutto and two governments of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were sacked eventually resulting in marshal law by President Pervez musharraf which lasted till 2008. In 2008, PPP government came into power but with the same government-establishment feud over many issues. In 2013, Mian Nawaz Sharif assumed power. His government also saw strong opposition by Imran Khan.
No PR campaign can make your outlook positive while you have so many internal rifts. Consider a company where every manager is in active war with other manager, even during his rightful tenure, and this fight is making headlines in papers and news bulletin. How can this business expect foreign delegates for new orders when the third party is not sure of the sustainability of the management? In these situation other rival business entity benefit. Hence India and Bangladesh fully benefited from our internal political crises. And World started to ignore us. With this ignorance was also ignored our point of view on Kashmir issue and our dream of issue solution is still a dream.
2. Economic Decline
Pakistan was in a better economic condition from 2001 to onward 2008. Many give credit for this economic growth to the monitory support from US and Europe. International economy was also on the rise in that period. Pakistan was also much aligned with international powers due to Afghan war. After PPP government assumed power in 2008, international economic slowdown, high oil prices, political instability, electricity shortage and law and order situation badly hit the economic sectors in Pakistan. In Nawaz Sharif tenure from 2013 to 2018 economic uplift was seen. GDP rose to all time high in the last 10 years. CPEC was initiated. But CPEC came with it the US and Europe outrage and alienation.
Just like any business, if the books are not good no one will do business with you. If there is no financial dependence then no one cares about your issues and agendas. and same happened with Kashmir issue. Outer world almost forgot Kashmir Conflict.
3. Law and Order Situation
Years from 2001 to 2014 were one of the most tense in Pakistan’s history. Suicide attacks, drone attacks, target killing, sectarian killings all brought bad name to Pakistan. Almost all wealthy nations issued advisories to their nationals about travel to Pakistan. Business delegate, players, tourists and political leaders avoided travelling to Pakistan in those years. and still Pakistan is struggling to bring players and businesses to Pakistan.
Foreign players, businesses, tourists and political leaders are brand ambassadors for a country. audiences of their respective countries listen and word of mouth is generated. unfortunately the recess in these activities resulted our less promotion in respective countries. This impacted our overall say in the world.
In these times of terrorism, extremism and white collar crimes, many countries have taken strong actions against financial corruption. Unfortunately Pakistan is marred by financial corruption both in government level and private level. Our economy is not documented. Government doesn’t know the trail of most of the transaction. There are not many people who pay taxes.
One can easily understand who in the world will do business with a company famous for corruption and tax evasion. If Pakistan were a company then you can imagine how seriously this corruption is damaging our reputation.
5. Media & Press and Kashmir Issue
What Pakistan lacks badly is a vocal, modern, technologically advanced and impartial media & Press. Pakistan as a nation has not developed a single TV channel and publication which has a reach of international level. The situation is, there is only one English language news channel run by government of Pakistan. If you dont have an international level TV channel, print publication or online Publication then how will you be heard ? How will you propagate your version or Kashmir issue? How will you inch towards Kashmir issue solution?
Pakistan also lacks penetration in international media. Philosophy is, if you have not international level TV channels or Publications so at least benefit from already existing international medium. This will not only take our message to international masses but also will prove beneficial in preventing negative news about Pakistan.
Having a weak press at home means having a weak communication department in a business. A weak communication department means it is not able to present company’s version in an effective and convincing way. Therefore all the negative propaganda prevails with addition to already so much mismanagement internally.
6. Lack of Active Campaigning
For the last 20 years it has been the norm to appoint non career based ambassadors to the key countries. Most of the appointments were political. This may prove, sometimes, strategically positive decision but in principle and theoretically only careered diplomats should be promoted to these coveted positions which require knowledge and experience.
Like any other business if you appoint an engineer on the post of communication officer then you can understand how result oriented this posting may be. This is one of the main reason that our foreign missions have failed in conveying our version of Kashmir issue to the world.
Above mentioned facts are few of the key factors why Pakistan as a nation loosing its worth in international community. And why our voice is not heard in all matters including Kashmir Issue.
Topline PR is a leading public relations & digital marketing company in Pakistan. We provide advocacy, media relations and crises management services.