Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomeOpinionImran Khan’s final match as seen through internet memes from Pakistan

Imran Khan’s final match as seen through internet memes from Pakistan

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Imran Khan can win this match because, his critics say, the field has been left open for him

It’s election day in Pakistan, and Imran Khan may be the king waiting to be crowned

As this meme has Imran Khan saying, “Mujhay khali maidan do, main tumhay jeet ke dikhaonga. (Give me an empty field and I’ll show you how I win).” The suggestion is that Imran Khan will win only because the field has been vacated for him – others are practically not being allowed to play.

This cricketing analogy has been doing the rounds for years. It could soon become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The meme below has a sketch of the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan with a PTI flag on it. The Urdu reads, “Markazi daftar (central office), PTI.” The apex court has been accused of helping the PTI this election by going hard on its rival, the PML(N) led by Nawaz Sharif.

The cartoon below shows democracy in Pakistan about to be devoured by the army, which has the seat of government in its jaws.


But it’s not all about match-fixing. Some think the PML(N)’s lion can’t be trusted.

A lot of young people see the PTI as cool. In response, the PML(N) has put out ads like this one as part of a campaign called #MeraVoteMeriMarzi – my vote, my choice. In this ad, the pro-PTI wife gets a defence of dynastic politics from her pro-PML(N) husband. The Gandhi dynasty in India is among the examples he cites.

This anti-PML(N) poster says in Urdu, “Chor ko izzat do/ Manshiat ko aam kero/ corruption ka ehtram kero / mulk ko badnam kero (Give honour to the thief, make drugs commonplace, respect corruption and defame the country).” The first point is a pun on the PML(N)’s slogan this election, “Vote do, izzat lo” – asking people to vote for the PML(N) as a matter of honour given the biased judicial action against Nawaz and his family.

This is what Imran and his friends in the establishment and judiciary have reduced Nawaz to.

Having completely discredited Nawaz, Immy (or Imran) asks in the meme below, “Mian saab, hor koi sadey layak? (Is there anything else I can do for you, Mian saab?)”

Many “electables” have joined the PTI – that’s a term for politicians who drift towards the party considered likely to make them win. The Punjabi behind this autorickshaw says, “Jeda jeetay, odhey naal (I’m with whoever wins).” That’s the spirit of the electables too.

The joke is that Nawaz could follow the electables and join the PTI and his legal troubles would be over.

Apart from “electables”, there are “lotas”, named after the bathroom lota. They are turncoats who change parties frequently. In India, they are called “Aaya Ram Gaya Ram”. Lotas have rushed to Imran’s party and he’s doing a precarious balancing act with them:

Here’s an example of a lota. Omar Ayub Khan, grandson of General Ayub Khan, the first military dictator of Pakistan, has jumped from the PML-Quaid to the PML(N) to the PTI in three election cycles.

Imran Khan’s impatience to become prime minister one way or another is well-known.

But, he’s not apologetic about it.

Immy faced problems of his own. His ex-wife has tried her best to prevent him from winning. Reham Khan’s first name means mercy. As her book made a multitude of damaging accusations about Imran, this meme shows Imran asking Allah for ‘reham’, or mercy.

The most famous resident of the Bani Gala area of Islamabad is Imran. This meme with the Playboy logo is a pun on Bani Gala.

The playboy image may even be helping him. In the meme below, a journalist close to him asks him, “Who did you tell Reham it was on the phone?”

In this obviously photoshopped image, Salman Khan is supporting Insafians, as PTI members call themselves.

Salman is not the only Bollywood actor being used by PTI supporters. Here’s Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit at work for an Insafian:

Among the things going for Imran Khan are his cricketing achievements – for his supporters, he never stopped batting.

He’s laughing all the way to the PM’s chair.

The moon on Eid is often sighted in Peshawar a day before the rest of Pakistan. Peshawar and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are Imran’s home turf and the PTI’s stronghold. The cartoon below foresees Imran Khan becoming the PM. It reads, “Peshawar mein waziray azam nazar aa gaye (The prime minister has been seen in Peshawar).”

What will Imran be like if he finally shines across Pakistan like Eid ka Chand? Here’s what some think will happen.

Imran promises a new or ‘Naya Pakistan’. In this old cartoon, Pakistan’s best known cartoonist Sabir Nazar shows the difference between old Pakistan and the promised new Pakistan. As militants participate in elections this time, the old cartoon is being circulated again.

The religion bogey is used against democracy.

Aamir Liaquat, a controversial televangelist, looks comical copying Jinnah’s attire as he campaigns on a PTI ticket.

One religious politician, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, has uttered the words pehn di siri during protests. It’s a reference to the sister abuse. Siri is the goat’s head and pehn is sister. As a religious party refuses to publicise the woman candidate’s face, thanks to religious conservatism, someone jokes, Pehn di no siri.

Here are some religious politicians singing to Bollywood tunes:

Liberal activist Jibran Nasir is contesting as an Independent candidate from a Karachi seat. He is certain to lose badly, but his candidature is trying to make a point against extremism.

When he was attacked by religious fundamentalists, Jibran asked his supporters to not abuse them. This Gandhigiri is making him the Munnabhai of the minuscule minority of liberals.

Another Independent candidate in Karachi has found innovative ways to attract attention to civic issues – and to himself.

His name is Ayaz Memon Motiwala.

As for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), this is the practice election for young Bilawal Bhutto. Only 29, he’s coming into his own, being appreciated for ‘maturity’, acting with civility in a dirty election. But he still has his critics. That accent, for one …

He’s doing much better than his father Asif Ali Zardari, whose image as a corrupt leader hasn’t changed. This meme asks if Imran’s Naya Pakistan has been established, should Zardari go ahead and sell the old Pakistan.

This funny anti-PPP video shows the party’s symbol, arrow, destroying a man’s life.

The PPP may look like a marginal player this election but it is likely to do well in its stronghold of Sindh. It is the party with the most famous anthem song, “Jiye Bhutto”. Here, the anthem is set to a Shakira music video.

Meanwhile, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement or the MQM has split into two factions. The motorcycle can’t speed through Karachi anymore.

London-based MQM founder Altaf Hussain has a major problem – millennial voters who don’t understand what he’s meant to Muhajirs. Altaf bhai wants Karachi millennials to listen to him.

Results should be out by tomorrow morning, and there’s a good chance they may look like this:

Indian journalists have not been given visa to cover the elections. We’ll watch from the outside, like our old friend Pervez:


And, there’s the famous Chand Nawab messing up his piece-to-camera as usual.

Until the results…

This is the second part in a two-part series on Pakistan elections. 

Read the first part here.

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  1. Indians are always narrow minded regarding Pakistan. Probably Chanakya have taught them nothing else!

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