PRESS RELEASE October 28, 2021
ISLAMABAD: A National Conference on Identification and Actualization of National Narrative of Pakistan was held on Thursday under the auspicious of Islamabad Policy Research Institute. It was an earnest attempt to initiate a dialogue between various stakeholders in identifying a narrative that reflects the cultural and sociological ethos of Pakistan
The Acting President IPRI Raashid Wali Janjua highlighted that the present era that has succeeded post-modern era is the one where the machine learning and algorithms were driving the narratives It was an era where our new generations like Millennials, Generation Z, and Alpha were grappling with identity crisis. The pearl of high price therefore in narrative making was the answer to questions like who we are? and Where do we intend going?
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf was the keynote speaker on the occasion. The conference was also addressed by Chairman of Senate’s Defence Committee Mushahid Hussain Syed, Former foreign minister Hina Rabbai Khar, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr Qibla Ayaz, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan and Senator Javed Jabbar.
Moeed Yusuf said that there is a need to improve our communication strategy to project our story to the world without being apologetic as we had a very impressive story to tell. He rued the fact that Pakistan had been a victim of a negative narrative in the past that projected an image quite apart from the actual reality.
Senator Mushahid Hussain observed that Pakistan has contributed immensely to the world in terms of culture, peace-building and sense of togetherness; and said that narrative is in need of being reinvented. He said there are three tectonic shifts that Pakistan was undergoing i.e. such as confronting a Hindutva-driven India, fallout of United States exit from Afghanistan and the social media revolution. He called for building a narrative based on ground realities, and it has to be people-driven and not state-centric.
Hina Rabbani Khar highlighted the need for calibrating our foreign policy in accordance with our national values and interests which are based on a human security centered paradigm.
Qibla Ayaz said that religion is the foundational basis of our narrative and we need to celebrate the fact that divergent sects of Muslims have evolved a 22-point consensus called Istekham-e-Pakistan charter. The use of religion as a cementing force based on principles of equity and justice should be template worthy of propagation through a national narrative.
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, held forth on the need for discovering the true roots of our identity upon which should be based on our national narrative. According to him our national predilection for seeking extra territorial identity needs to be replaced by a celebration of indigenous culture. He regarded Quaid-e-Azam’s 11th August 1947 speech as the Grundnorm of our national narrative. He decried the adoption of foreign cultural and linguistic symbols as part of our cultural and linguistic identity. He reminded the audience of the falsification of history due to which the real indigenous heroes like Raja Porus and Dulla Bhatti were forgotten and invaders celebrated. He stressed on the need for a tolerant, inclusive and pluralist narrative that celebrated diversity and pluralism.
Senator Javed Jabbar said the identity of Pakistan has, in fact, been actualized and there is no need to worry for it. He said Pakistan has survived all odds and has overcome adversities to emerge stronger. He reminded the audience that nation state was a recent concept in large historical continuum of mankind and we were a young nation that has a long way to go. He identified 30 elements of identity including with positives eclipsing the negatives. The panacea to most of our problems as per him is high quality education that is universally available to all segments of society.