In terms of optics | By Haya Fatima Sehgal


In terms of optics

Recent events in the past week have once again divided opinion especially in terms of things said by higher echelons publicly.

Reactions were pretty much all over the place as netizenswereeither extremely incensed orsimply scrambledaway in the face of blaring issues.

This is not a criticism of Pakistanor anyone in particular. This remains a constructive critique that perhaps there is much work to be done on all fronts in terms of optics and a question of much needed preparation in things to say.

The case of the prominent cleric, caught on video, molesting his student was shocking. The cleric, now arrested, himself confessed amidst explanations that were given for him. This led upto much discussion beforehand and was highly publicized.

Then came the aforementioned set of interviews, public opinions amidst much chaos in the news last week, andof which answers were so blatantly off the beaten track that there seemed no turning back from the now failing optics.

This for some clarity;Sexual violence and rape is a criminal offence. It is not the fault of the victim/ survivor in any senseand certainly not about what they wear. That things said were taken out of context or edited–the fact is the unedited answer still remained incorrectly worded.

The lengthy lectures can be shelved as they provide no solutions for the population, nor do they answer the world now wondering how this country addresses basic human rights issues especially gender-based violence.

On another note, OBL remains listed as a terrorist according to the world and Pakistan’s policy. This stance is pretty clear. No Skip or pause on that one.

Italso must be agreed upon that speaking about the basic human rights of all communities should matter, and no matter how one intends to take it on overtly or ‘behind closed doors’ – they are of great concern.

In defense of my homeland, Pakistan is not a bad place. It is home towarm, hospitable, and generouspeople – and it must project this somehow.

This is a crucial moment in history when there are about to be many changes taking place in this region. This is that point of time we must invite all kinds of social interactions and cultural exchanges with open minds, making it a hub of ideas and flourishing culture.

Lockingitself in what it perceives as loyalty to those with economic ties or to please future political allies,or even to portray a particular religious outlook- all whilstsidestepping human rights issues,would not be projecting this country as progressive.

We must portray the nation in progress as a strong unit- upholding global and humane values; simultaneously upgrading, amending laws and policies to safeguard vulnerable communities living within.

We have seen some good changes that have taken place. Perhaps what we need is an amended optics strategy.

I agree that there has been an immense amount of good brought into our systems in the recent years.Pakistan has done brilliantly well in the face of much opposition from all kinds of miscreant elements trying to smear its reputation.

However, as a casual observer where leads are taken from things worded in media and the perceptions currently being given, the nationmay need a restructured policy on addressingworldly matters.

This, if only to get us back in a better position presented, in terms of optics, supporting basic human rights issues,global sensitivities and most of all a careful consideration of wording onthe many complex issues that surround us.

The writer is known for her articles on cultural impact.

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