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Home Truths on the "Image Problem" of Pakistan

Reader comment on item: Musharraf's Historic Speech

Submitted by Vishnu Gupta (India), Nov 12, 2005 at 00:15

http://www.dawn.com/weekly/mazdak/20051029.htm

"...Pakistan does have an image problem. Although the poor victims and survivors of the killer quake can hardly be held responsible for it, the world sees Pakistan and Pakistanis in a negative light. General Musharraf is right in expressing his concern about this state of affairs, but he forgets that you cannot improve the image without improving the product.

For years, we were seen as drug peddlers to the world. Heroin and marijuana from these shores flooded western markets, and many fortunes were built on this illicit traffic. Indeed, proceeds from this destructive trade have financed many parliamentary elections, palatial houses and lavish parties. While we prefer to turn a blind eye to the provenance of such ill-gotten wealth, foreigners do not.

Our more recent claim to fame is our standing as the hub of religious extremism and terrorism. While we suffer more from this particular form of madness than any other people, outsiders do not want it exported to their countries. So every time a traveller with the dreaded green passport enters a foreign country (provided he can get a visa), he is subjected to suspicion and scrutiny. And we must not forget the flood of illegal immigrants that is our other major export to the rest of the world...."

Under these circumstances, it is not difficult to see why Pakistanis are not the flavour of the month with much of the world. Of course it is manifestly unjust that the poor Kashmiris should suffer by association. But life is often unfair."
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