The new era of Pakistan foreign diplomacy through social media

It is notorious that social media has been of good practice among developed countries, while the developing countries do struggle to adapt to  innovation but they are slowly adhering to the social media platforms in diplomatic and cultural affairs in order to establish their presence to influence foreign public.

The struggle to adopt contemporary practices is much challenging to the nations where bureaucracy has deep root into the system. It’s not the dilemma of developing countries only we can have the example of european countries such as Germany where people are not much perceptible to the change and still lack in the advancement due to the reason society is reluctant to accept rapid changes.

The reason to develop new tools or reach foreign/broader audiences  comes with different circumstances, some nation require to have soft power over their neighbours and some develop such strategic public diplomacy to counter the foreign agenda.  Hence one of the main objective of public diplomacy is to influence foreign public and it’s always driven by designed agenda. As far Pakistan’s public diplomatic communication practices, we observe the nature of strategy is very defensive due its history and geostrategic location. Most of the time Pakistan exert its energy to counter narrative.

Innovation always come with dire need to address certain issue or purposes to achieve, hence those innovation of diffusion has traces in history as most probably it starts from west to east. We do have the example of international broadcast media which was dominated by the two western countries only such as CNN – United States and BBC – Great Britain.  Moreover after 911 when world started to multipolar, then started to mushroom various divergent international broadcast media such as France 24, Al Jazeera English, DW, RT and CCTV ( China Central Television) and not only media but also various cultural institutes to get emerge on the horizon.

Social media accessibility is much adaptable and user-friendly and have the capacity to reach the desired targeted audiences for the purposes of public diplomacy. The basics of  public diplomacy consist of following key elements; message, target audience and strategy. Online social media networks have facilitated the process of engaging foreign publics and process of dialogue to have both network and sentiment analysis of the content to measure its effectiveness.

Pakistan’s digital diplomacy is thriving and setting its foothold in the era of digital diplomacy, reflecting the state’s new foreign policy developments. Ministry of foreign affairs is developing new strategy to design strategic aspect of public diplomacy while engaging its professional, academic diaspora and overseas Pakistani community to initiate digital diplomacy to strengthen ties with various nations through cultural, educational and socio-economic diplomacy.  Pakistan is rapidly adopting to the innovation and audiences are having much perceptibility towards use of social media for the purpose of political communication. Understanding the dire need to  incorporate digital tools for communication, institutes are striving to establish their presence at social media to engage stakeholders for public awareness and state affairs, so as foreign ministry is also actively using these digital media tools for public diplomacy.



Abu Bakar Ahmad is a graduate fellow at the Institute of Media and Communication Science, at Technische Universität Ilmenau, Germany. His research focus on political communication comprising the domains of strategic diplomatic communication, strategic communication, strategic crisis communication and political communication public relations. He has been working with European Academy of diplomacy, Casimir Pulaski Foundation as a member organizing committee Warsaw security Forum 2016.

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