‘I came, I saw and then I got confused’

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Hasnain Kazim, a German journalist of Pakistani origin working in Islamabad for the last four years, believes that coming and seeing Pakistan with one’s own eyes is the best way to understand this country which has a negative image in the world, particularly in Germany.
Despite having spent some four years in Pakistan as a correspondent of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, Kazim admitted that he could not find answers to some very complex questions relating to, what he says, Pakistan’s “foundational issues”.
Sharing his multi-scopic view of Pakistan, with journalists at the Karachi Press Club, the German-born Kazim expressed his inability to understand what this ideological country and the people herein wanted to be.
“My view of this country is general. I have been wondering what exactly this country is and what constitutes this country,” he said. “I have failed, I admit, in finding answers to these very important questions,” he added.
Kazim, whose Pakistani origin had cost him his posting in New Delhi, India in 2009 in the wake of Mumbai attacks, said Pakistanis since 1947 had been unable to answer very fundamental questions, including if Pakistan was an Islamic state and if the people of Pakistan wanted to be a democracy, a theocracy, a dictatorship, than what course would the country take?
Pakistan, he said, was a country with low income tax compliance where the government was relying for its revenues more on indirect taxes including sales tax.
About the public view in Germany of Pakistan, Kazim said the country’s image there was “rather very negative”. And this image, he said, had developed because of alleged blasphemy-related incidents that led to the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and a lawmaker Shahbaz Bhatti. “I was shocked to see people sprinkling rose petals on Qadri, even some of my friends said Qadri did well but it was difficult for me to tell the same to my readers back in Germany who thought that a killer could not be right,” said Kazim, who won the CNN Journalist Award in 2009.
Furthermore, the journalist said that nuclear security was another major concern for the people of Germany who feared that the worst if Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, which Kazim believed were present in safe hands, ever fall in the hands of anti-state forces.
Urging the need for Pakistan’s embassy in Berlin to promote people-to-people contact between the two countries, he said whoever had visited Pakistan, had got back with a positive view of the country where some very positive values like that of hospitality were deeply prevalent in the tribal belt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.
However, he said, the people of Pakistan should take to the streets to protest why they were not allowed to freely travel to areas like Miramshah and Bannu which had been otherwise marked as no-go areas.
Dwelling on the fault-lines, he said the failure of constitutionalism and the resulted weakening of the civil society and political institutions in Pakistan had made it difficult for forging consensus on the resolution of some very foundational issues.
About his failed posting in India, Kazim recalled that New Delhi in 2009 had denied his posting in the country. “I was never given a reason as to why I was denied to work in India. But the decision must have come about probably because of my Pakistani roots,” he said.
Earlier, German Consul General Dr Tilo Klinner said it was important for the two countries to discuss their culture to get acquainted with each other’s views. For this, he said, Kazim was someone very special who knew about the two worlds namely Pakistan and Germany. He said Germany wanted to see a successful Pakistan which was on the crossroads of socio-political and religious development.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Hasnain Kazim, you are not alone who were denied entry to India. I also applied to Indian Embassy in Frankfurt, to issue me visa, just for a visit. My application was also denied with out any reason, probably I also had Pakistani origins. How ever Indians were happy to keep my 50 Euros as application fee, which they never returned back. Very good way of fleecing people.

  2. He is confused and so are the rest of us.

    Look at what rules us. A more concise recipe for disaster would be harder to imagine

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