While power is the capacity to direct the behaviour of others through any means necessary, ‘soft power’, a term first coined by Joseph Nye in 1990, is essentially power without the use of coercion or force.
When it comes to countries’ soft power, Nye believed that it “rests primarily on three resources: its culture in places where it is attractive to others; its political value when it lives up to them at home and abroad; and its foreign politics when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority”.
Soft power can translate into effective public diplomacy ie the process whereby a country seeks to build trust and understanding by engaging with a broader foreign public beyond governmental relations.
Pakistan appears to have very little soft power globally, which is usually achieved through public diplomacy efforts. This is due to a variety of reasons, disregarding the political imbroglios the country has found itself in over the years, including a lack of a clear national brand and missing market-able public diplomacy assets. This is despite the existence of sizeable Pakistani diasporas, the world’s lingua franca being Pakistan’s ‘official’ language and a population of over 200 million diverse people from a plethora of cultures — all really potent ingredients for a powerful punch of soft power.