Out With The Old, In With The New (A Study on Intikhabi Nishaans)
The first elections I witnessed in Pakistan were the ones held in 1993 and won by the People’s Party. I was far more fascinated by the various ‘intikhabi nishaan’ (poll symbols) of the parties than any of the actual going-ons. Purely from the intikhabi nishaan perspective I supported the Jamaat because they had a car as a symbol (and because Qazi was the closest thing to a Pakistani Santa lookalike).
Live and learn.
Many of our parties have held on to the same symbol for decades now. Fair enough, I say, brand loyalty etc etc. At the same time, I think it might make sense to update their symbols to reflect what they truly represent today.
1) Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)
Current Poll Symbol: Arrow
The arrow signifies a certain straightness, which would be translated into Urdu as “seedhapan”. Not really their defining quality these days.
New Poll Symbol: Moustache
Recent PPP discourse has centered around the “We will never leave Zardari” and “Without him we cannot do anything” conceit. In honour of this political direction, I bestow upon them the moustache as an intikhabi nishan. As they’d say in the vernacular, “Moochh nahin tau kuchh nahin.”
2) Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N)
Current Poll Symbol: Tiger
The tiger as a poll symbol feeds into Nawaz Sharif’s self-styled ‘Sher-e-Punjab’ narrative. Couple of objections though: 1) there are no tigers in the wild in Pakistan, 2) tigers are frequently mentioned as being ‘awesome’. The only awe Nawaz Sharif inspires is among the paya valaas.
New Poll Symbol: Chaudhry Nisar
1) Chaudhry Nisar does, in fact, exist in the wild in Pakistan.
2) Chaudhry Nisar is not particularly awesome.
3) He’s the kind of batshit everyone loves these days.
A winning combination truly.
3) Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal / Assorted Mullahs (MMA / JI)
Current Poll Symbol: Book
Ah. The book. A symbol representing education, rationality, intelligence, and of course, not judging something by its cover. Nope. This ain’t right.
New Poll Symbol: Boot
It’s your lucky charm my bearded friends!
4) Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)
Current Poll Symbol: Kite
The kite. Soaring above the rest of us, yet still attached by a thread to us lowly beings on the ground. Much like Altaf Bhai. Good start MQM, goood start.
New Poll Symbol: Telephone
But, really, if one object could sum your party today it’s the telephone. (Should look into changing the symbol to Skype a few years down the road.)
5) Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q)
Current Poll Symbol: Cycle
The cycle. A means of transport used so that we may go from one place to another. Progress of sorts. Rather slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Kind of like how Pervez Elahi wanted a Parha Likha Punjab, but not really.
New Poll Symbol: Cycle
Perfect. Anyone can take them for a ride.
6) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)
Current Poll Symbol: Cricket Bat
Fitting in some ways, seeing as how the PTI’s political luck is very similar to Pakistan cricket’s current batting performance. But even our lackluster batting manages to eke out brilliance from time to time (Thank you Razzaq.)
New Poll Symbol: Duck
If we’re going to go with cricket references, might as well go for the right one.
7) Pak Fauj
Current Poll Symbol: GEO
Wait, what? They’re not a political party?
EDIT: I had earlier referred to Chaudhry Shujaat’s mumbling in this post. I’ve since removed it because it was a very cheap shot over something that is not really within his power to rectify.