A conversation with Mohammad Iqbal Ghori — finance magnate
Mohammad Iqbal Ghori, FCMA, Director of Finance & Strategic Planning at Sadaqat Limited – Pakistan’s most prominent home textile exporter, has established a corporate culture of formulating and analyzing business strategies. His presence has led to the transformation of a family-owned business into a corporate organization with incomparable compliance. Iqbal Ghori is a visionary, finance magnate, and a benefactor of technological innovation in the textile sector.
With over 30 years of experience in finance, investment and management, and an extensive background in high-profile financial positions in the public and private sectors, Iqbal has shown unparalleled genius in financial management and power sector regulatory affairs.
- Former President, Institute of Cost and Management Accountant of Pakistan
- Former Chairman, SAFA Committee on Government and Public Sector Enterprises Accounting (PPSEA);
- Former Board Member of Auditor General of Pakistan, Government of Pakistan;
- Former Chairman of Committee on Tax Affairs of PPSE, Ministry of Water and Power, Government of Pakistan
- Former Chairman of Corporate Governance Advisory Board [CGAB], ICMA Pakistan;
- An active member in the articulation and calling of stakeholders regarding the Companies Act 2017 and the Code of Corporate Governance
- Former Chairman of Corporate Governance Advisory Board [CGAB], ICMA Pakistan;
- Former Chairman of Cost Accounting Standards Board [CASB], ICMA Pakistan;
- Former Chairman Research & Publication Committee, ICMA Pakistan;
- Former Chairman Editorial Board of ICMA Pakistan’s Research Journal
- Nominated Member Panel of Experts, Pakistan Stock Exchange Guaranteed Limited, Government of Pakistan
- Ex-Member Tariff Committee of the Government of Pakistan
- Member Board of Studies of National University of Modern Language (NUML), Islamabad, Pakistan;
- Member Board of Studies of HEC accredited Isra University, Hyderabad, Pakistan
PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST had an exclusive conversation with Mohammad Iqbal Ghori about social media. Excerpts of the conversation are as follows:
Are social activists keyboard warriors, or are keyboard warriors social activists? Can we address the notion that the two might be the same?
Words are said to be a powerful tool, and when used correctly, they can rearrange the future of an entire country. However, when we look at the Venn Diagram of social activists and keyboard warriors, we find that the overlapping space includes many boons and ills. On the one hand, if used properly, these same people can contribute towards appraising a country and its image. On the downside, if left unchecked, they are left in a dystopian reality where rather than looking into the reality of the world and checking their own privilege, they end up taking part in performative and non-productive activism.
Performative activism can be described as people using social justice movements to make themselves appear good on social media, however, they never truly engage in real-life discussions with their peers about those matters nor do they take any actions to support their words. A literary example of performative activism would be found in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, in which, when an innocent black man is accused of rape, the white man, instead of focusing on his ordeals, uses the narrative to make us worship him and feel as though he was the savior that society needed, hence coining the term white savior.
We must acknowledge that social media has turned activism into a competition where it is about who is the morally pure person rather than promoting genuine actual change in the country. We can talk about the refugee crises in Syria or the famine in Yemen, but our generation also must look inwards and address the issues that ail our people. While Kashmir bleeds, Balochistan is meant to be unapproachable, where Sindh drowns every monsoon, we are not left with a country but just mere pieces of it. Instead of being banded together in performative shows of Internet activism, let us use our voices in the same manner as we did with the cases of Zainab, or Noor Muqaddam. This country didn’t sleep during the Zainab case, for example, and in those moments, we truly saw how capable the use of social media can allow the prevention of more children from becoming victims of such heinous acts.
Social media is truly the reason why the powerful present in Pakistan was brought into the era of accountability. Movements such as hashtags, and me-too are all thanks to the courage of multiple brave women and accessibility to the Internet, the existence of multiple misogynistic and incel groups is also an example of social media being used for all sorts of purposes. Such group follows these ideals with such conviction they end up creating an environment of peer pressure, turning more and more young kids into followers. We must acknowledge that this parasocial reality is always or perhaps majorly used to influence others.
The older generation can sometimes find it hard to believe that social media can be used for the economic benefit of an entire country, however, if we truly look for instances of such a reality, we will never fall short. Promoting tourism in the country and producing music worthy of being acknowledged at prestigious events such as Grammys. The youth of this country utilize social media to its full potential. However, on the other side of this picture are the keyboard warriors.
Today’s age is full of technological advances that were supposed to unify and bring knowledge to the masses and instead are being used to manipulate people into believing their narrative.
Our culture has now been reduced to something that does not value life or humanity. Everything we do is meant to provide fuel to the machine that chews up our society and spits humanity out to its liking. We live in a superficial social structure that prefers likes, comments and shares to actual human interaction and relationships.
Neil Postman writes in ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death,’ public discourse in the age of show business “in Huxley’s Brave New World vision, no big brother is required for autonomy, maturity and history. That people would come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their ability to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism.” So, before the social media users of this country in their quest to become social media vigilantes do something irreversible to the outlook of this country, let us steer them toward a more economical direction.
We have been bought to a point where we look down on real personal connections and idolize the photoshopped lives of our favorites. Our political structure has evolved into something that praises corruption and punishes accountability and honesty. Every fool who has a keyboard to type his opinions is allowed to relay such opinions to many severely affected by them, sometimes even jeopardizing the mental and emotional health of other individuals.
Most of our population is ignorant of significant issues in our country as our days are spent on social media passing and publishing our opinions on inflammatory issues that have little or no substance. The media of our country has successfully warped our idea of reality and has presented us with a polarized worldview trying to take our attention away from the fact that most media houses are majorly controlled by corporate giants for their economic gain.
If we delve into the structure of our public education system we face many obstacles, the significant one being their absolute need for more funds and reliance on archaic norms. Our private education system is predatory and deceptive, pushes people into debt, and only allows social mobility for those who are willing to submit to the capitalist class structure present in the country. Erosion of our rights is occurring right in front of us as we look on as helpless passersby and do not even indulge in the fantasy of being free from a totalitarian state that presents only an image of freedom. It is so debt-ridden that no matter how much we work on it and how many different politicians are brought on, most of us will never see our country counted among the ones who looted us and deprived us of our own resources.
The enormous upsurge of mental illnesses in this country and the continuity of them remaining undiagnosed and untreated has created a destructive cycle of shame. If we prolong this attitude of don’t look, don’t tell and associate shame with it we’ll never provide a safe space for our youth. If the students don’t feel safe in the spaces provided for them, we’ll have many recurrences of teenage bullying and suicide. The aftereffects of such consequences generally leak into online spaces and are the reasons why many end up becoming victims of online harassment and bullying.
Under the right leadership and mentorship, the youth of our country, our keyboard warriors, and our social media activists can be used to cater promotion of the country, thereby bolstering its economy.
However, the right leadership can only be brought on if we as subjects of the state hold the people, we elected accountable, ask them of their unfulfilled promises, call them out, and become so loud collectively that they are unable to ignore us. Let us stop looking towards politicians and other influential people to bring change for us and become that driver of change ourselves.
The people of this country must have intellectual freedom for themselves, denounce this slavery and acknowledge themselves as free citizens of a free country who will not be misled. We must use our voice, and our opinion and reach for the greater good, be it individual or collective.