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Out With The Old, In With The New (A Study on Intikhabi Nishaans)

November 3, 2010

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.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2010 12:15 pm

    there was a joke that the pml-q should be represented by a used condom… but i suppose the bike makes for a more PG retelling of the same point.

    also, ch. nisar FTW

  2. November 3, 2010 12:23 pm

    Hahahaha!! Excellent

  3. November 3, 2010 12:35 pm

    Hahhahahah! This is brilliant! I love the Pak Fauj one!

  4. November 3, 2010 12:35 pm

    Paya walas hahaha

  5. November 3, 2010 1:08 pm

    MiaN / Bibi, kuch chhaa sey/si gaey/gayee haiN aap. Dil khush kita si — yet again. 😀

  6. Ugly Shoelace permalink
    November 3, 2010 1:15 pm

    “Or as Chaudhry Shujaat would say it “oiaehgsehdegsedioughisdhgl;ksdjg.” <— Funny! Heh. Not entirely his fault though. The poor guy has parkinson's :p.

    • November 3, 2010 1:20 pm

      Fair enough. That was a cheap shot on my part. Not terribly proud of it.

  7. Faraz permalink
    November 3, 2010 1:22 pm

    For PTI, a lame duck is even more appropriate…..wait, is that the reason why your duck does not have any legs?

  8. November 3, 2010 1:52 pm


  9. November 3, 2010 1:54 pm

    Hahaha, highly agreed with PPP and MQM symbols 😀

  10. November 3, 2010 5:12 pm


    ANP is missing? R U trying 2 say they’re not a political force? 😀

    • November 3, 2010 5:29 pm

      Haha. No. I just couldn’t come up with anything for the ANP. Otherwise my research on their lantern intikhabi nishaan was complete.

      • November 8, 2010 4:15 pm

        Loved the PTI and Pak Fauj nishaans :D.
        Absolute brilliance!

        As for the ANP nishaan, how about the one at

        Should there be any brownies for guessing the reasons? 😉

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 23, 2013 3:52 pm

      u should not joke with molvi. very bad u should change ur nick and next be care.

  11. November 3, 2010 6:14 pm

    😀 Loved it

  12. November 4, 2010 8:59 am

    Arrow should be replaced with cards i.e Sindh Card, Pakthoon, balochistan card etc etc. Agree with pmln, mqm, ji though. Pak fauj make sense, i guess NO, keeping in mind musharraf eradication campaign in past. *LIKES IT*

  13. November 5, 2010 7:25 am

    Considering this very funny post, this Geo news report on a Pakistan Army team winning gold in the Cambrian Patrols seemed strangely appropriate:

    Pakistan Army Team Wins Gold in Cambrian Patrol

    Boots running towards the camera maybe?

  14. Abdul Moiz Jaferii permalink
    November 7, 2010 6:26 pm

    this is brilliant. absolutely brilliant.

    an absolute joy to read.

    thank you for writing it.

  15. November 8, 2010 6:40 am

    My favourite was Pak fauj

  16. January 6, 2012 4:39 pm


  17. April 12, 2012 7:21 am

    love is pakistan army

  18. irshad ali permalink
    August 29, 2012 6:34 pm


  19. awais permalink
    December 8, 2012 5:37 am

    thats gud idea for humer discussion but you need to do more work to improve your concept.these are initial thoughts
    you must have to improve it before u shaerd.

  20. awais permalink
    December 8, 2012 5:39 am

    intekhabi nishan for Pak fouj representing geo tv not Pak fouj

  21. February 16, 2013 5:58 am

    hahahah… nice new symbols

  22. Anonymous permalink
    April 6, 2013 7:52 am

    very baad

  23. Anonymous permalink
    April 6, 2013 10:24 am

    kala kawa

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