“Pakistan faces an image problem. There is a need to bridge the gap between: ‘What Pakistan is’ and ‘How Pakistan is perceived’. Negative image perceptions about Pakistan emanate out of the reason that the World views Pakistan mainly through the prisms of terrorism and nuclear weapons. Pakistan is one of the seven countries of the world that has demonstrated its nuclear weapons capability; safety and security of it nuclear assets is often acknowledged by all professional institutions like the IAEA. Pakistan is also a major battleground where terrorism and extremist violence are being countered by the state. Pakistan is continuously making significant contributions toward international efforts to counter terrorism and WMD proliferation. Pakistan Focus is of the view that on both these counts, treatment meted out to Pakistan is unfair. Foremost threat to global peace and security is terrorism. Hardly any country is safe from terrorism and or its effects. Terrorism is not specific to any religion, culture, country and civilization; however, after 9/11 it has become a trend to stereotype Muslims as terrorists and extremists because most of contemporary acts of violence have been perpetrated by and linked to a radicalized minority which proclaims that it professes Islam.
History is replete with the narrations indicating that followers of every religion and off springs of every ethnic linkage have, at some time and some place, indulged in the activities which we today term as terrorism. In an indecent haste and oversimplification, Islam’s doctrinaire stress on tolerance peace and harmony is ignored, even though Muslims themselves are among the major victims of terrorism and are in the forefront in the fight against this menace.
In this context, Pakistan Focus advocates the urgency for Muslim academics and strategists to pinpoint the apparent and underlying causes leading to violent behaviour, so that there can be genuine reform in line with modern concepts within the effected societies; and urges upon the international community to understand Islam’s ideological emphasis on rationalism and tranquility, leading to its harmony oriented worldview. Islam is much more than a mere personal faith; it has a much wider perspective comprising a will to political expression in the form of laws, judicial principles, polity management, economics, education, social advancement, human rights especially those of women and minorities, culture, science and technology, environmental issues, diplomacy etc.
Periodic hypes regarding insecurity of Pakistani nukes are drummed up by the vested interests and lobbyists to pressurize Pakistan to change its principled positions on issues like fissile materials related negotiations and right to peaceful usage of nuclear technologies. Pakistan is signatory to and compliant to all UN resolutions of terrorism and other international instruments related to non-proliferation. Despite not being a member of NPT, Pakistan has voluntarily chosen to abide by the spirit of NPT. Pakistan Focus advocates Pakistan’s accession to NPT as a Nuclear Weapon State. For the safety of our planet and mankind, Pakistan Focus subscribes to universal non-discriminatory and verifiable destruction of all nuclear weapons through a UN underwritten Convention on the pattern of CWC and BWC. We profess criterion based membership to strategic trade cartels, and oppose country specific exceptions.
While underscoring the necessity of periodic policy reviews, Pakistan Focus is of the view that country is not short on good policies and laws; however, devil lies in their implementation. Therefore, governance and its associated structures need major attention alongside encouraging the culture of respect for law, equality before law, right to information and right to fair trial. Pakistan Focus aims at mitigating the challenges being faced by the country in this regard; and encourages inputs in this context. We are of the views that successful evolution of a state model by Pakistan shall provide a prototype for a viable Islamic state while failure will strengthen the forces of extremism.
Pakistan Focus subscribes to the universal principles of Human Rights, equity, justice and fair play. While supporting fair play in interstate relations, it advocates meaningful reform of international institutions like the UN so that these entities become truly democratic in character, and reflective of aspirations of the majority of mankind.
Pakistan Focus has identified Pakistan Affairs and International Relations as its major areas of interest. Per se it is not a current affairs’ intensive entity; however, major attention is towards analytic work based on current happenings with an objective to float option. A humble beginning is expected to attract interested individuals and institutions leading to gradual and sustainable growth through an evolutionary process. As support base expands through cooperative arrangements, so would the functions, role and task as well as the organization.
Pakistan Focus operates on voluntary basis and believes that it takes vision, hard work and planning to attain sustainability. Pakistan Focus aims at pacing its growth in a way that it never has to compromise on its autonomy. Though major bulk of the contents is likely to be Pakistan specific, this by no means restricts the participation to any country or any set of people. Pakistan Focus promotes freedom of expression and sharing pluralistic opinions, the world over”.
Air Commodore (R) Khalid Iqbal TI (M)
Founding Chairman, Pakistan Focus