Let’s be real – the image of Pakistan hasn’t exactly been great in the international circle.
Whether it be the law and order situation of the country or our economic standing against the world, previously, the world had only heard of Pakistan under the lens of violence, injustice, and poverty.
In the past few years, things have considerably changed for the better. Now, with the law and order situation somewhat under control and with the influx of tourists, the image of Pakistan has improved.
According to Gallup Pakistan, between 2014 and 2018, tourist traffic increased by 317 percent!
Another element that has been working in favor of the country are overseas Pakistanis.
How Overseas Pakistanis play a pivotal role in changing Pakistan’s image?
Image refers to the perception of foreigners and the world, in general, have about Pakistan, its people, and its culture. Here are ways overseas Pakistan’s help in improving the country’s image.
Unofficial ambassadors of the country
While foreign ambassadors dispatched to different countries help in maintaining cordial ties between two countries, the real representation of Pakistan comes from the overseas Pakistanis.
Since they are approachable and are a part of the structure of the foreign country, they are much better able to carry and represent their ancestry and culture with them.
Generally, the information about Pakistan and its positive attributes are quite limited in the outside world. Instead, post 9/11, only negative aspects have been highlighted in the media channels of the West. This has led people to stereotype Pakistanis as being hostile, prejudiced, apathetic, ignorant, and extremists.
However, the experience of an average Pakistani is much different than this image. A significant portion of those who go abroad have lived in megacities with freedom, facilities, and education. By relaying these positive experiences of living in Pakistan, overseas Pakistanis can help break stereotypes.
Apart from clearing the image of the country with respect to its culture and attribute, overseas Pakistanis also help showcase the potential of the people of Pakistan. Rather than viewing the country as home to poorly educated people, the outside world can see the intellectuals that the country has.
Apart from being a major contributing factor to the economy via remittances, the success stories of the various Pakistani-born individuals in different fields have put Pakistan on the map for a positive reason.
3 Overseas Pakistanis worth mentioning
Here are some of the overseas Pakistanis that are changing the image of the country for the better and making a difference.
1. Mustansar Iqbal
The car buying and selling platform allow people to purchase vehicles online. The solution may seem ordinary at first. However, what sets it apart is the integration of cryptocurrency in it. Rather than fiat payments, the platform allows people to use their digital currencies for purchasing cars.
While cryptocurrency hasn’t yet gained momentum in Pakistan, it is slowly becoming mainstream in other parts of the world. The fact that Pakistan is now being associated with a startup that has the power to revolutionize the car purchasing process is doing wonders for the country’s image.
2. Sophie Lechner
The Pakistani-French entrepreneur is the founder of Global Commerce Education, a company that helps different foreign and US-based firms in expanding to different countries by providing cross-cultural training as well as capacity building.
The business model is a great way for people living within a given country to learn about other cultures. This helps in creating understanding and tolerance, not just for Pakistan but all the different countries that have previously been misunderstood.
3. Tariq Farid
Farid was born in Pakistan in 1969. Today, he is the owner of Edible Arrangement – A US-based franchising business that specializes in fresh fruit arrangement. His company has worth over 500 million US dollars. Moreover, it currently operates over 1200 stores across the world.
What sets his story apart is the fact that he didn’t rely on venture capitalists or investments to start his business. Instead, he came from humble beginnings and made it big eventually through his hard work and dedication.
Apart from being a great case study from a business perspective, his life story helps put forward a softer image of Pakistan in front of the world.
Pakistan still has a long way to go to become a model country in the eyes of the world. However, with the help of the increasingly talented representation abroad and the right policies within the country, slowly, we are making this transition.
Let’s hope that with time, our country is able to disentangle itself with all the negative attributes and perceptions!