Friday, March 31, 2023

Role of Pakistani media in increasing Ethnic Tolerance in Pakistan


What is ethnic tolerance?

Ethnic tolerance means equal opportunities and treatment for all human beings regardless of their race, nationality, color, ethnicity, language, and culture. This involves equal opportunities for facilities for every individual on the state’s policy level. On an individual level, it includes acceptance of the differences in cultures and differences of opinions. Now, ethnic tolerance does not mean to change one’s beliefs and philosophies, it simply means to accept the differences without involving in any form of mistreatment towards any group.

Pakistan’s Ethnic History

In a country like Pakistan that has a history of ethnic diversity even before the inception, ethnic tolerance is a big debate. The geographical area – now marked as Pakistan on the world’s map – has been subject to many ethnic and civilization changes. Back in 2500 BC, present-day Sindh and Punjab were home to the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamian Civilization, respectively. Since the beginning, Pakistani soil has been an advent to many changes from Hindu rulers to the Muslim Mughal Empire. Later, it was under the rule of the British rulers in the Sub-continent. After seeing years of changes, the land was divided into two countries; India and Pakistan in 1947. Even independence could not minimize ethnic diversity in the region. Currently, Pakistan is the land of different ethnic groups residing as the citizens of Pakistan.

Ethnic Groups of Pakistan

The main ethnic groups residing in Pakistan are Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Saraikis, Balochis, Muhajirs, and Kashmiris. Apart from these major groups, the smaller groups that are less in number as compared to others are Hazara, Shina, Baltis, and Kalash people. These groups are further divided into many sub-groups knowns as castes i.e. Jatts, Gujar, Wazir, Mughals, Mirza, Abbasi, etc. The division of ethnicity in sub-groups shows the ethnic diversity that is present in Pakistan. Additionally, the arrival of 1.4 million Afghani immigrants in Pakistan due to regional politics adds more to ethnic and national diversity. This blend of ethnic diversity in a country of population 22 crore/220 million can be called a blessing – if used wisely – and can become a curse in the absence of proper guidance and training.

Other than ethnic diversity, there is religious diversity as well. Pakistan is a land of Muslim majority; however, there are other non-Muslims such as Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Even in the Muslim majority population, there are sectarian groups in Pakistan having somewhat different practices and beliefs that differentiate them from others.

Pakistans’s Situation Over Ethnic Tolerance

On her inception, Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on various occasions highlighted the role of unity in nations’ development. He spoke about the rights ad equal opportunities of every Pakistani regardless of their color, race, religion, and ethnicity. But is the values set by Jinnah followed in Pakistan anymore? Let’s review the state of politics in Pakistan. All the big political parties are representing a certain ethnicity and culture, whereas, some are taking the aid of religion to promote their stance. One thing that is suffering among all political point-scoring is the nation’s unity. Be it the hate crimes against minorities in Pakistan, benefits given to a certain ethnicity, or taking the shield of ethnicity and religion for personal gains; it has harmed Pakistan on a bigger scale.

In the recent decade, Pakistanis have seen a wave of hate crimes and terror attacks that have destroyed Pakistan’s infrastructure and economy on a mass level. The situation came under control after military operations against terrorism because of the wave of decreased terrorism around the globe. However, recent events in Pakistan point out the potential uprising wave of hate toward minorties or various ethnicities. This alarming ethnic intolerance in Pakistan must be rooted out before it sets its roots stronger in the soil. For this purpose, many institutions must work together to root out the upcoming (or already persisting ethnic conflicts) i.e. media, policymakers, politicians, educational institutes, and religious scholars.

Media Role and Ethnic Tolerance in Pakistan

Pakistani media with all of its forums has a responsibility to play a positive role in society. Though different fragments of Pakistani media have different responsibilities; the aim should be the same – promote positivity and tolerance. While looking at the dramas from the Pakistani drama industry, the are very few dramas that portray ethnic diversity in their dramas. Moreover, these dramas are not adding any negative connotation to ethnic conflicts or intolerance. So, the drama industry is neither promoting ethnic intolerance nor tolerance.

            Print media’s role in curbing ethnic conflicts is also minimal. More so, articles of hate speech and airing the video broadcast ignites the fire of hatered and intolerance. Hate speech and rude remarks politicians say about their competitor party on-air, during live shows is a reinforcement for laymen following their respective party. This culture of using offensive words towards the opponent to show one’s power is midievel but still practiced. On the contrary, many media outlets and digital spaces have taken it upon themselves to talk about prevailing issues. However, that too can be only possible when the team is sensible enough to know the repercussions of an article on the youth and their upbringing. It is easy to spread sensationalism, as it sells easily. But to sell positivity, one must be persistent against all odds.

            Pakistani media’s current rising fame due to globalization and technological advancement, over the years, has widened the scope of media in Pakistan. This gives a bigger responsibility on its shoulder to spread informative, positive, and peaceful content. This includes being extremely careful about the content media shares with its viewers. Whatever the personal beliefs one holds, they should reflect in their work that can, later, contribute to ethnic intolerance of the country who is already vulnerable to such emotions. It is time for the drama industry to incorporate ethnic diversity in their fils and dramas in a positive light to familiarize people with diversity. As it is said that people become what they consume. If media start feeding people what they should become like, instead of what are already like, it can make a big difference.


Religions and Ethnicity – Pakistan

What you have read?
  1. What is ethnic tolerance?
  2. Pakistan’s Ethnic History
  3. Ethnic Groups of Pakistan
  4. Pakistans’s Situation Over Ethnic Tolerance
  5. Media Role and Ethnic Tolerance in Pakistan

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