Saturday Jun 26, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said if people wish to promote a soft image of Pakistan across the globe, then they should advocate "Pakistaniat."
The premier, speaking during the National Amateur Short Film Festival (NASFF) Awards Ceremony in Islamabad, said: "During the war on terror Pakistanis were termed as extremists. To counter this, they were asked to promote a soft image of Pakistan."
The premier said the countrymen thought that if they wore Western clothes and spoke English, it would project a soft image of Pakistan. "During this time I was termed as Taliban Khan."
Speaking English and wearing Western clothes does not project a soft image, it only speaks of an inferiority complex, he said, adding: "A soft image is projected through self-reliance [...] so first respect yourself and the world will respect you in turn."
The prime minister said the world valued original content and not imitation, as he criticised the films produced in Pakistan, which "copied" Bollywood.
"I have seen the inception of Pakistan's film industry [....] we started copying Indian films" after some years, he said regretfully.
The prime minister said Pakistan began adopting foreign cultures instead of promoting its own through the films. "Bring original ideas and don't be afraid of failure," he told budding filmmakers.
"The person who is afraid of failure will never become a good player," he added.
Young filmmakers who have tried to promote Pakistan's culture, will receive special allowances from the government so their morale is boosted, the premier said.
PM Khan said when he would take Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with him when he would go abroad, the singers in the US would love his music, and not that of the Pakistani pop singers — as they only imitated the West.
"The world values original ideas," he reiterated, adding that Pakistan's television industry in the past used to produce quality content that was liked in India as well.
Shedding light on the blessings that Pakistan has been bestowed with, he said that the country has 12 climatic zones, giving it the ease to grow anything that it wants.
"The past government did not pay attention to tourism for historical sites [....] Tourism in Pakistan has a lot of potential and we are taking focused steps to promote tourism in the country," he said.
The premier said the soft image of a country can only be promoted through ownership of one's identity. "If we want to project a soft image of Pakistan, then we need to promote [the country's true identity]."
Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar, addressing the event before the premier, had said Allah had blessed Pakistan with every blessing there is, and by making films via the National Amateur Film Festival, a positive image of the country can be projected.
Maj Gen Iftikhar hoped youngsters through the platform would produce short films and help renew Pakistan's image in the international community. "Prime Minister Imran Khan has boosted the spirits of the youth by participating in today's event," he added.
The DG ISPR said the film festival is a platform provided to young filmmakers, documentary producers, and directors to produce quality content.
"Thanks to the festival, Pakistani culture, and the true identity of Pakistan will now be highlighted across the world," he said.
"We have almost won the war against terror [...] the terrorists damaged Pakistan's identity," the military's spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the event, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said the media played a crucial role in disseminating the state's narrative.
The information minister said the state was not able to fully convey the events of the wars that Pakistan had fought over the years. "We are establishing a media technology university [....] and will open film schools in Karachi."
"We will start the path to Naya Pakistan under the prime minister's leadership," he said, adding that short films would create awareness among the people.