Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi survived an assassination attempt in March that killed his driver. He and other liberals have been targeted for criticizing Islamist militancy and a blasphemy law.
Last week, Pakistani bloggers met at a conference to discuss social media, politics, and strategies for using technology to strengthen democracy and open governance in their country. The event, Network! Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit was sponsored by PC World Pakistan and CIO Pakistan, both leading publications in the field of information technology.
Also at the event was US Consul General William Martin who opened the conference with words of praise for Pakistan’s bloggers and other social media activists.
The summit started off with a welcome note by the US Consul General, William Martin talked about how the bold and active approach assumed by Pakistan’s blogging community ‘validated and energized his vision for Pakistan.’ There are a number of ways in which Pakistanis interact with Information Technology, and the online social media is just one of those. The Consul General praised the efforts made by Pakistan’s social media activists and said, “People here take extraordinary risks to try and inform the world about the happenings around them, and we must work with them and support the whole idea of freedom of press. We all have a responsibility to try and use this powerful tool, the social media, to try and bring about a positive change in the world around us.”
Pakistan has a vibrant social media where bloggers like Raza Rumi, Sana Saleem and group blogs like Pak Tea House are driving a progressive pro-democracy political discussion in Pakistan. By supporting these efforts, the US can help empower more Pakistanis to have a greater voice and create a positive future for their nation.