On The Side

How to win the 2018 elections

Updated Jan 25, 2018 03:13pm

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It is 2018, the much-awaited year of elections in Pakistan. Political leaders are scampering to gain the public’s trust. Luckily for them, I am here to help them garner people’s support. As a self-proclaimed speech writer, I will teach them how to write the perfect political speech to ensure their party clean sweeps the election like Younis Khan on a dry Multan pitch.

There is no need to mention any agenda; rock beats scissors and rhetoric beats agenda. It wouldn’t hurt to throw in an occasional ‘penn di siree’ or other ambivalent curses directed at your opponent’s sisters and mothers. Pakistan is our motherland after all — no one better to aim your insults at than the mother.

A leader must first be a jugatbaaz, in the fashion of Punjabi stage-show actors, then he must be charismatic and has to be sadiq and ameen — everything else is fluff. Shaikh Rasheed’s timely jugats are the only reason he still has a National Assembly seat. The reason Punjabis win the election is not their majority in the National Assembly but the power of their jugats.

Talking about any possible clothing is highly recommended including references to activities such as ‘pagri uchhalna’ and ‘shalwar utaarna’. Make sure to always augment your point by suggestively smiling throughout. Even better if you can manage to produce pictures of babies who look like other leaders and question them if they know the mother of the child. The Jerry Springer Show was highly rated for a reason.

If you are good for ratings, then television channels will love you. If television channels love you, then you will get maximum airtime. If you get maximum air time, you are basically the next Imran Khan. In which case you will need a fancy sidekick DJ buddy and a few slogans. That will make you better prepared for an election than the actual Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has ever been.

Illustration by Soonhal Khan
Illustration by Soonhal Khan

Do not worry about checking yourself. Fake News is the new news. As long as your supporters believe you, you might as well claim you invented nihari while trying to wrestle a cow in an oil field. Shakespeare said, if you can keep a straight face while you claim you are the chosen one then yours is the world and the prime ministership.

If television channels dare to show anything against you, threaten them with a few choice words. Even if the words you choose are a variation of penn di and siree. Curses and rumours in Pakistan are like fairies — if you say them enough times they become true.

Your opponents will be too embarrassed to mount a comeback. This is where you have the edge over old politicians. You should have left your adaabs back in Lucknow, old men — it is time for a new age and you have to speak to people in a language they understand.

If you tweet out “O penn di siree, my party is dabbing its way to the election without being extra. Snap me and DM me for mad retweets rad fam,” then you basically have the entire millennial vote locked. Everyone except Imaan Mazari will love you. However, you can give her a few lanats along with your traditional Malala bashing to gain brownie points with the rest of the electorate.

Do not even worry about making any promises. If you can ridicule the other party’s promises repeatedly then it will seem like you have an agenda. Better yet you can mask your political motives under a veneer of social causes. You are not burning down Islamabad to become the president, you are doing it to save Pakistan. Pakistan would have won every war ever if only there were more dharnas in Faizabad during 1965 and 1971.


This satire was published in the Herald's January 2018 issue. To read more subscribe to the Herald in print.