Credit: UK TIMES LONDON:
This time Mr Mazhar Javed, Acting Ambassador of Pakistan in Germany, accompanied by Mr Ghulam Haider, Press Counselor Pak Embassy Berlin, who briefed the German Journalist group intend visiting Pakistan from end March to start of April-2012. Every year one or two such groups representing, German Journalists Centre, visit the Pakistan. The aim of visit, how participants are selected and what outcomes such visits bring, was taboo not to be disclosed. Visits are mainly sponsored by Embassy of Pakistan with some share by participants and before the departure, group is introduced history, culture, ongoing developments, serious challenges being confronted by the Pakistan and ways and means to face these challenges. As it happens in such formal meetings, a documentary was displayed on beamer containing details about area, population and political system of Pakistan. Relations with Germany, bilateral trade activities and high profile visits between both the countries were highlighted. To guard against terrorism, it was told that 150,000 soldiers man the Western Border of Pakistan with 900 military post relative to 112 post manned by NATO comprising of 42 countries. With lot of pride it was told that up till now 17742 terrorists either have been killed or arrested. Pakistan so for lost 6600 soldiers with 19919 seriously wounded. Acting Ambassador told that since 9/11 3500 bomb blasts rocked Pakistan including 300 suicidal attacks. He also informed that 10720 police personnel so far killed and wounded in fight against terror. He was honest enough to accept fearful fabric of society and worsened international image of Pakistan due to terrorism.
Group Photo of German Journalists intend visiting Pakistan
After having finished with presentation acting Ambassador was confronted with few burning questions. The questions included, why Embassy does not update the German press with latest efforts. Why Pakistan Army and ISI supporting specific factions of Taliban. How women are treated in Pakistan and worsening human right situation of minorities in Pakistan. A very interesting question came as to how much freedom the visiting journalists will have to make their own assessment of real situation of Pakistan. Program depicting schedule of visits to various places indicated that it is a Pakistani Government sponsored program with the likely hood the journalists will be taken only to those chosen places which can feed them only with good image of Pakistan. Replies to raised questions were shaky and based on circular reasoning. In each reply argument was given the negative image of Pakistan is only the opinion of writers having no bearing with the facts on ground. Later, on dining table, many German Journalists showed their dissatisfaction for not accepting the truth by the diplomatic chief representing Pakistan. From the briefing it appeared that diplomatic chief was either not fully prepared for the event or lacked the latest knowledge about the country. On such occasions better option should have been full analysis of existing situation coupled with efforts being done to face such challenges. Data, comprising efforts done by Pakistan to combat terrorism was impressive. However presentation could have been much better if it had contained analysis and solutions to the problems. Though it is a very good effort of Pakistan Embassy to sponsor Journalists of Germany to visit Pakistan and examine on spot the realities prevailing in Pakistan, but at the same time one cannot ignore the negative aspects which have worsened the international image of the country. Later Mr Shamsul Haq Qudoos, the only recognized Pakistani Origin Journalist by the German Journalists Organization, also the head of South Asian Desk in Germany and main force behind this project, tried to do justice by playing two videos containing positive and negative aspects of the country. Similarly on dining table efforts were made by Pakistani origin journalists, Mr Qamar Ata, Sh Muzaffar and Mr Irfan Khan to brief the group with more details. One has now to wait for the visit and its outcome.
One aspect which needs immediate attention is the proper working of Pakistani diplomatic missions abroad. Germany is an extremely important European country. In my opinion Pakistani diplomats should have stayed for the whole duration of this briefing event. But it appeared that Pakistani diplomatic officials coming from Berlin were more eager to accompany the Consul General of Frankfurt rather than giving company to German Journalists. It is a tragic fact that personal agenda gets priority relative to nation building agenda, an unfortunate phenomenon, which has engulfed the whole governing machinery of Pakistan. One could easily feel the same attitude in Pakistani diplomatic officials of Germany. Being a loyal and faithful Pakistani it is our duty to point out the weaknesses with the hope that instead of getting angry some improvement from Pakistani diplomats will be shown in future assignments.