We Pakistanis hardly think about our current and future realities or try to access authentic data about what’s happening around us – now and for the future.
In a ranking of the top 45 economies in the world, Pakistanis came last in the Future Orientation Index (FOI, The Guardian 2013).
In the Long Term Orientation (LTO) dimension of Geert-Hofstede Culture Index, Pakistan’s score in 2013 was zero (0); yes, zero.
Our favourite and only media consumption is a false narrative based on conspiracy theories carefully built by a coordinated media mix of dubious TV channels, disinformation through print and social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and plethora of bogus local and international-sounding blog domains.
Add to this list the mass SMS and WhatsApp messages titled ‘forwarded as received’ and an uninterrupted supply of photoshopped images and fake videos.
Case in point: I have started to receive Whatsapp messages that the journalist Cyril Almeida who broke the story in Dawn about civil-military relations is PMLN member. Nothing could be far from the truth. – 13 October 2016
Dawn: Exclusive: Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military https://t.co/6fOZypto6T
— cyril almeida (@cyalm) October 6, 2016
During my 25-year teaching and training career, I have come across all sections of population in large numbers – from MBA students to corporate executives to civil servants to military officers to high court judges.
None of them – yes, none of them – had authentic data about what’s happening and what is the future forecast for this amazing country. It’s not just the elite audiences. I also attended a few dinner and wedding conversations of the common citizens considering themselves insider and aware.
And it’s not just the present and the future view which is skewed. There is also a completely false view of the country’s history and its main characters. In a careful orchestra, the heroes have been turned into villains and the villains into heroes through a controlled narrative over monopolized channels.
I will hasten to add that this project is not aimed at correcting the historical falsification as this is the job of historians once the lid on ‘unseen narrative control’ is removed in a couple of years; say, by year 2020.
So, what’s in store for you?
Project Ignorance, run through volunteers, who care about this gifted and amazing country and its future, will bring you a big-picture view of the strengths that Allah has gifted us in comparisons with other countries.
It will also expose stereotypical change agendas of various stakeholders which are used to arouse our emotion – of the elite as well as of the illiterate types – but may not have correlation with real change this country needs.
It is through fresh perspectives provided by Project Ignorance that you will be able to decide where to put your weight next on occasions as big as ballot box or as minor as sharing the next video on Facebook or forwarding a WhatsApp message as received.
What will Project Ignorance achieve?
Project Ignorance may not put a dent in the universe as it is run by a small, dedicated team of people who volunteer their time without any assistance. But it will do sufficient for those who seek what’s really on the horizon.
— The Rojak Pot (@RojakPot) December 6, 2015
Case in point: This photo is making Whatsapp and Facebook rounds as a case of child kidnapping in Pakistan. August 2016
Next time you are at a dinner conversation and are offered a dozen conspiracy theories, you would have authentic data to offer an informed opinion.
Project Ignorance could be your best ally in a prospering Pakistan.
What Pakistan needs is not education but a Project Ignorance.
Project Ignorance is led by Wali Zahid, President, Tehreek-e-Adl.
This Independence month, declare Photoshop as national art and Whatsapp as national medium. Sign the petition & RT if you are a patriot 😛
— Wali Zahid (@walizahid) August 2, 2016
Wali tweets: This Independence month, declare Photoshop as national art and Whatsapp as national medium
As CEO of SkillCity, he coaches several Fortune-500 CEOs on leadership.
He’s founder of a global movement for humanizing medical education and practice.
He can be reached on Twitter @walizahid
Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series