We gathered at the Prime Minister’s Bani Gala home with bated breath, excited to be recognized for such a prestigious opportunity. The PM had invited me, and many other Pakistani bloggers for an intimate gathering to discuss Pakistan’s budding digital media industry.

He started the meeting by candidly sharing his views about the current state of digital media and how he hopes to see it grow and attain an even larger influence in revolutionizing Pakistan’s future and economy. He plainly discussed that our current economy is struggling due to a lack of industrialization and innovation, and shared his plans to rejuvenate the economy by building infrastructure for basic needs such as healthcare, and placing more focus on industrializing Pakistan. 

After facing years of criticism about my business and being told that I was wasting my time with something that would never be considered a formal job, this event helped prove my critics wrong. To be part of such an important conversation for our country is an extraordinary experience in itself, however, having my hard work and business recognized is what made this meeting truly a moment to be proud of. 

I appreciated the PM’s candour and was pleased to find that where politicians are usually notorious for avoiding all questions, he allowed us ask a few that were important to us. `

We asked about issues like Cyber Crime, and improving the Cyber Crime Unit’s responsiveness and effectiveness. Furthermore, we asked about the issues directly related to expanding our business such as services like PayPal not being available in Pakistan yet, which he answered by saying that he had held an e-commerce meeting and discussed this at length and was hoping to address this issue promptly.

Aside from these important issues, the most important topics we discussed were the state of Kashmir and the rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia.

The PM pointed out that the digital revolution in Pakistan has a vital role to play in bringing the spotlight onto important human rights issues such as the unjust treatment of the people of Kashmir. This issue is very close to my heart and I appreciated that the PM highlighted that digital media is an increasingly important tool for average citizens to start human rights revolutions around the world.

Additionally, combating issues of xenophobia and Islamophobia through digital media is also something that each Pakistani can easily do. By connecting with people and businesses across the globe we can draw attention to the many wonderful aspects of our culture and religion that traditional media frequently fail to show. 

The digital world is the perfect platform for bridging gaps between people that would never normally have the opportunity to collaborate. These bridged gaps mean more awareness, more learning opportunities, more employment opportunities, and simply more of a chance to become a community. 

The digital industry in Pakistan is currently valued at USD 400 million, it has created over 500,000 jobs in the past decade and is estimated to create 15,000 new jobs every year. This is an extremely valuable asset for Pakistan’s youth and economy and it is fundamental for us to invest in this sector and encourage the digital influencers that have lead the charge over these past few years.

Opportunities like this meeting not only validate our hard work, but they also give a chance for us to directly represent the average youth of Pakistan to the highest offices of our government. It allows the voice of the youth to be heard, and as we all know: the youth is the future.

–The writer is a Digital Creator @hirableeh