Council volunteers from 20 countries were chosen to hold the torch and represent their country at a June 28 ceremony. The Olympic Games begins on July 27. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am very happy,” Zainab told reporters. “It is a great inspiration for all Pakistani youth and I will try to present a soft image of my country.”
Pakistan’s image worsened spectacularly after US troops killed Osama bin Laden northwest of Islamabad in May 2011. Documents released by the United States show that he lived in the same compound for six years. Distrusted by the United States, its semi-autonomous northwest has been a haven for Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants fighting US troops in Afghanistan and plotting terror attacks on the West.
It has also attracted international criticism for its human rights record and the reluctance of its elites to pay taxes when so many millions live in poverty and from handouts from foreign donors. “It’s unfortunate that a few people have tarnished our country’s image and it’s our duty to fight that out and don’t allow these people to create a bad name for Pakistan,” said Zainab.
Pakistan’s men’s field hockey team qualified, but otherwise Pakistan will field only wild card entries at the Games.