Misrepresentation and the UN General Assembly


Nawaz Sharif at UN General AssemblyPrime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the United Nations General Assembly and satisfied critics who threatened the government would fall if the he did not make Kashmir a front and centre pillar of his speech. The PM dutifully read his script and newspaper headlines boldly quoted him as terming India a threat to world peace and demanding a plebiscite in Indian-held Kashmir. Well, our newspapers did. As for the rest of the world? Nobody seems to have paid the least attention.This is not the first time that Nawaz has made Kashmir the centre of his diplomatic efforts at the UN. He gave nearly the same speech just one year ago. And once again, he was speaking to a home audience despite the international forum. While media at home has run countless stories on the diplomatic presence there, the real effect appears to be zero. Look for reports in the international media and you will be hard pressed to find anything, even a small report in the back page news briefs. The reality is that nothing was accomplished by the PM’s speech other than some feel-good reports at home.

This seemed to be a theme for the Pakistan delegation this year. Our Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi Tweeted about the 2015 Peacekeeping Summit which she said that ‘Pakistan is hosting with the US’ and other countries…

This makes it sound like Pakistan co-hosted with the US and played a major role that it did not. Actually the even was ‘hosted’ by dozens of countries. Compare Ambassador’s Tweet with this photo of world leaders from the Summit. Peacekeeping Summit photoLet us pause for a moment to make a joke about Modi stuck in the back row, half his face obscured by someone else’s hand. Now, let us find “co-host” Nawaz Sharif. Don’t worry, I’ll wait… Don’t worry, he was present even if he didn’t make it in the photo. Pakistan’s Photographer Ambassador to UN made sure to Tweet out a pic.

There he is! Hosting, I guess?

Once again we have put more importance on appearances at home than actual accomplishments. This has always been a problem, but now it is becoming an ideology. Good feeling headlines and positive sounding Tweets are not the basis of any reasonable policy. We cannot say what we want to hear only and hope that reality will conform itself to our wishes. That is not how the world works. Misrepresenting our role and our accomplishments not only doesn’t make our wishes come true, it erodes the faith of the people as they watch what they are told is reality fall apart before their eyes.


Author: Mahmood Adeel