Burn after reading: The spymaster's guide to election symbols

Published: March 31, 2013
We have as directed by your directorship, compiled a list of new players on the political horizon.

We have as directed by your directorship, compiled a list of new players on the political horizon.

ATTENTION: TO THE DG —– As we have reported in the past the —— civilians are getting out of hand. The democratic experiment we have thus far allowed to run, largely for —– and —– seems to have now gone beyond our control.

This is of course part of our hallowed ——– tradition, given that we have in the past nurtured and then lost control of the —– -e———— , the ——- -e- ———- Pakistan, and a host of assorted groups {details and names included in the 666 page appendix J}. However, in keeping with our motto: “you can’t teach an old — new tricks,” we have as directed by your directorship, compiled a list of the new players on the political horizon. We hope that at least some of these groups may prove to be amenable partners in our glorious enterprise of finally turning Pakistan into a ——- of —–.

Report complied by special agent; Shaheryar Mirza


Baby cot International Liberation Army (ILA)

This party advocates the controversial yet wildly popular Mothering Doctrine: never leave the coddling bosom of your benefactors — the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.


Balloons — The Partaaay Party (PP)


The party that represents a party. It’s been far too long since nightclubs have been banned in Pakistan and the Balloon Party hopes to re-establish this forgotten cultural practice. We do, however, fear that this group is simply the political face of the seditious breakaway republic of Cliftonia. See also: Cliftonian Liberation Army, (Appendix J, page 420).


Fashionistas Against Talibanization (FAT)


Fashion is the answer to Pakistan’s problems. We are not yet sure that this party will be contesting elections because of the possibility that elections may take place in the heat of the summer, but we suspect it is a political party masquerading as a civil rights group. The western press has actively promoted FAT as being responsible for defeating the Taliban in countless battles and this makes them a threat to strategic depth policies. Their soft image cannot be taken lightly as Pakistanis are suckers for a pretty face. (See Sarah Palin – Zardari meeting).


Bangles — The Traditional Liberal Party (TLP)

TLP believes the fundamentalists are taking over Pakistan and that they want to eradicate individual freedoms. But, as opposed to the FAT the Bangles avoid Western fashion and put their faith in ghararas, saris and churidaar pajamas as the most effective anti-radicalisation platforms. We believe the PML-Q mujra was also planned by this group


Cannon — Bombs Over Oratory Machinations Party (BOOM)

The breakaway militant faction of the Traditional Liberal Party which believes that fashion is much too serious to be dealt with only through bangles. We have linked this group to the arson attacks on several Birkin handbags, which has brought them into conflict with FAT militants.


Crocodile — The Tears Party (TP)


This party represents those in the country who shed tears when minorities are being massacred, but won’t allow a minority to marry into their family.


Dish Antenna — Technocratic Party of Pakistan (TPP)

Having failed in finding any actual technocrats, this party has adopted the next best thing: technology. Unfortunately for them, they never actually leave their houses after the inauguration of the party due to the complimentary satellite dishes awarded to founding party members.


Fort — The Security State Party (TSSP)

Strong advocates of arming oneself because the state has failed to provide security to its citizens. They envision a Pakistan where everyone can live behind high barb-wired walls and can travel freely in Moving Forts that intimidate less-secure travelers on the streets. This movement has already gained a lot of steam in urban areas and received an unexpected PR coup from President Zardari’s many Bilawal Houses. We also believe that they are responsible for the disappearance of Tahirul Qadri’s bulletproof container.


The Glorious Bustards party (GBP)

A splinter group of the Huma Huma Kar Bhaiya party, which spent its time rubbing halwa on members’ head in the hopes of attracting the legendary bird of blessings, this party has given up on humanity entirely. Thus, they intend to reverse evolution and turn back into birds. Of course, their scientifically incorrect stance would bring them into conflict with The Education Party (TEP). On another note, this could be a great segue into the Outrage Party which, with Twitter as its only platform, is naturally inclined towards birds and bird brains. Perhaps the Crocodile Tears Party (TP) could also be a possible ally, since birds are in fact evolved reptiles


The Puff Party-Habibi (TPP-H)

This party envisions Pakistan as a future member of the Arabian Union (AU). This party believes that Pakistan has always had more in common with the Glorious Arabs then it has with the dirty Hindus, and for Pakistan to succeed, it must break free from its Hindu shackles. TPP-H and the Glorious Bustards Party are often at odds with each other over the issuing of licenses to the Glorious Arabs to hunt endangered fowl in the country. The GBP cries foul that it is a conspiracy to wipe its party off the map.


Human Eye — Media Walas of Pakistan (MWP)


The MWP serves as a mirror to Pakistani society but when you stare into it, it just blankly stares back, leaving you utterly confused as to exactly what you are looking at. The MWP believes in accountability of the state, politicians, and of the private individual in his/her bedroom/massage parlour/park. Criticizing advertisers or any major corporate entity is grounds for immediate termination from the Party.


The Human Hand — The Hand Party (TPH)

TPH goes by one simple rule: The Right To Bare Arms. The party gets its inspiration from French Secularism and advocates the banning of burqas and niqab’s and is, henceforth logically, a strong ally of FAT. We also believe that donation boxes at Lawn exhibitions are a major source of their funding.


Key With Lock — The Latchkey Party (LP)

This party believes in rarely addressing the nation, and spending most of its time away from Pakistan. The party’s philosophy and it’s No Statements-No Gaffes-Policy comes as a reaction to public relations disasters made famous by the Purple-Haired Man of Many Ties.


Knife — Khanjar Party (KP)


This is the party that believes in leaving sharp objects lodged in the backs of its allies. It is rumored that this party is backed by The Establishment but this is untrue because so many state and non-state actors have made this tactic a part of their political arsenal. We just get blamed for everything.


Khyber Pass — The You Will Not Pass Khyber Pass Party (KPP)

An isolationist party with the slogan: ‘NO FOREIGNERS BEYOND THIS POINT’. Chechen, Uzbek and Arab tourists are, however, welcome.


Pressure Cooker — Pressure Cooker Party (PCP)

Rumored to be clandestinely run by Tahir ul Qadri mainly because of his rhetorical style. This party says that their symbol portrays the state of the country and has nothing to do with Tahir ul Qadri, despite the Canadian Surgeon General’s statement that categorically states that PCP is responsible for TuQ’s frequent outbursts.


Birkin School Bag — The Elitia Education Party (EEP)

This party firmly believes that there is an Education Emergency and that the only way to solve it is through English medium private education. They have had serious communication issues with the general public, and their plank of registering party members before they are born has proven to be a hitch. Membership fees are also extremely high and the rigorous interview process is a huge turn-off.  But the possibility of a coalition with the Fort (TSSP) is open, leading to barb-wired school buildings.


Tortoise — Party of the Tortoise (PoT)

This party believes that slow and steady wins the race and aims to keep Pakistan’s economic growth at the same rate as it has been for the past five years. Their favorite rhetorical question: is Pakistan unstable because of its economic stagnancy, or is Pakistan economically stagnant because it is unstable?


Toothbrush — Toothbrush Party (TBP)


Out with the miswak and in with the new. Personal hygiene is at the top of their agenda because with greater cleanliness comes greater godliness. Initially went with the deodorant for a symbol but felt that would alienate too many potential voters. Campaign slogan for change: “Stop stinking, start thinking.”


Expected alliances: 

In the interest of good, clean fun; The Balloons, the Hands, FAT and the Toothbrush are expected to strike an alliance leaving the Bangles isolated, a move that could push more Bangles members towards the radical BOOM party. The Fort could also be an unexpected partner if they end up in opposition and have to have all their fun behind high barb-wired walls. That move could result in bringing the Cannon (BOOM) into the mix, which would make it a formidable, and well protected coalition to contend with.

The School Bag and the Cot are natural partners for an alliance. Despite their limited constituency, one can expect foreign assistance to bolster their chances. It’s rumored that the recent influx of foreign cash will build enough English medium schools to bridge the communication gap.

The Crocodile and the Human Eye would both like to implement a Mandate of Hypocrisy and could end up joining forces, but there is doubt over how long they can stay together given their inclination to scratch all backs at all times. The Knife is hoping the two can be united under one banner so as to make an easier target.

The Puff Party-Habibi (TPP-H) and the Tortoise could kill two birds with one stone. The Tortoise can ensure that Pakistan spends most of its time sleeping and the TPP-H will then have the perfect reason as to why Pakistan should be a member of the Arabian Union.

The Pressure Cooker, the Khyber Pass, the Key with Lock and the Dish Antenna will not be making any alliances because they believe that politicians are the worst kind of people. We hope that the irony of their stance is lost on them as they are, in fact, our natural allies.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, March 31st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Willy Wonka
    Mar 31, 2013 - 2:04PM

    Dear Tribune Team,

    Please post content that shows you as a mature and legit newspaper and not as a kid’s magazine. Else you’d lose readers too quick!

    A Loyal Tribune Reader


  • Tee
    Mar 31, 2013 - 2:14PM

    what.did.i.just.read o_O


  • Welltro
    Mar 31, 2013 - 2:48PM

    That was a terrible article


  • khan
    Mar 31, 2013 - 2:53PM

    seriously :-DRecommend

  • Fanta
    Mar 31, 2013 - 3:30PM

    this article gave me cancer!


  • Ducky
    Mar 31, 2013 - 4:14PM

    I just waited 10 seconds of my life scrolling down to the end of the article…


  • MH
    Mar 31, 2013 - 4:24PM

    My vote for the Human Eye party. Like the illustrations.

    @Haters: have a sense of humour, no? What were you expecting when you saw the teeny picture and the caption?


  • Stranger
    Apr 2, 2013 - 8:36PM

    Author sir – what is the ideal party then – according to you?


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