It doesn’t take much nowadays for something to go viral on the internet. Share a funny picture/video on either Facebook/Twitter, and watch as the country comes together to voice an opinion about the said viral graphic, or “meme.”
From Awais Lovely, to the “Angelical” Taher Shah, to the “Axcuze Me, Aap Bhi” advertisement, there have been plenty of stories for the online Pakistanis to debate about. But that was back then. What were the social media trends that caught the nation by the digital hook in 2016? Let’s find out:
1. ARSHAD KHAN AKA CHAI WALA
While out on the streets for inspiration, newly turned professional photographer Jiyah Ali took a picture of Mr. Khan pouring chai at a dhabba while looking into the camera with those steel blue eyes. Jiyah uploaded the picture on her social media accounts, but it was Arshad who woke up the next to find his life turned upside down. From having to only serve tea, Arshad was offered a modelling contract from Fitin.pk as well as international coverage from the likes of CNN and BBC.
2. MOMINA MUSTEHSAN
On August 19th of this year, a girl with the sweetest of smiles and the softest of voices sat next to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan as she went to sing her way into the hearts of the nation. 24-year-old Momina Mustehsan rose to fame this year as she recreated Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s classic “Afreen, Afreen” on Coke Studio. The mathematician and engineer by profession’s cover with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan now has over 30 million views on Youtube.
3. SHEIKH RASHEED AT COMMITTEE CHOWK
On Friday, October 28, Sheikh Rasheed joined the PTI and AML protestors at Committee Chowk, Rawalpindi, making an entrance that would make Salman Khan question his career choices and an exit that the producers of Fast & Furious could definitely use for their next film. Trespassing barriers and dodging police officers, he entered Committee Chowk on a motor-bike and announced his arrival by lighting a cigar. He then went on to make his great escape by first getting past police officers on foot and then making his way on a motorbike once again.
4. THE ‘SULTRY’ NARGIS FAKHRI MOBILINK AD AND UFONE’S HILARIOUS RESPONSE TO IT
Ah, Mobilink. Want to promote a new cell phone? Use a picture of Nargis Fakhri lying down in a red dress, spread across an Urdu newspaper. Boom. The picture went viral like wildfire and also managed the right amount of negative publicity as many considered it to be comical, but some saw it as an objectification of women and considered it to be crude.
What happened next would go down in marketing history. Ufone, already famous for their witty marketing strategies, released a similar advertisement for their phone, but instead of Nargis sprawled across the newspaper, it was the ever familiar face and umm… Body of Faisal Qureshi. The tagline read: ‘Axcuse me, Mobile Phone humara sasta aur behtar hay’.
5. THE MISBAH PUSH UPS
After scoring a hundred in the Lord’s Test against England in July, veteran batsman Misbah Ul Haq went on to get down on his hands to perform push-ups as a tribute to the people who’d trained him and his team at the army boot camp. The celebration style became an instant hit as Lord’s groundsmen, a television commentator and many copied it. Fans in Pakistan even went on to make videos of themselves doing the push ups that later went on to be called “The push ups challenge.”
6. BAN ON MQM
Pakistani politics usually tends to disappoint, so as a coping mechanism, the nation’s trolls the living bejesus out of them. In a press conference, former MQM leader Altaf Hussain went on to openly claim supporting Indian spying agency RAW and their activities in Pakistan. This caused a mass shock among the general public and after a while when not much could be done, they took to social media. The trend #BANMQM rode massive waves on social media as people expressed their disgust with the circus that is Pakistani politics so much so that it gained international exposure.
7. JEENA K MAA BAAP
When a Pakistani drama gets popular, people tend to express their opinions about the show, the characters and the overall situations portrayed within the show. This expression of opinion is usually done through memes. Never has a character gained such negative attention by the audience for saying the same line over and over as Ayesha Rao Khan’s character, “Jeena,” in the show, Mann Mayal. Throughout the drama, Jeena uses the line “mere tu maa baap bhi nahi hein” to get the attention she does NOT deserve from everyone. Whenever a social situation would arise, Jeena would be standing there, ready, her “meray tou maa baap bhi nahi hain” card in hand. The constant abuse of this single line went viral on social media and well… In came the memes.
8. THE FALSE SURGICAL STRIKE
The Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan has been long going on, and after India’s attack there this year which blinded thousands due to the use of pellet guns, it seemed likes things were about to boil over. India then went on to claim that Pakistan had conducted a surgical strike which led to the deaths of many militants beyond Line of Control. What the intention of this claim by India was is still unclear, but it soon became clear that the allegation made against Pakistan was not true. The spokesperson for the Pakistani Army asked: “Where is the damage?”, referring to the lack of any evidence of surgical strikes. ISPR spokesman Asim Bajwa termed the surgical strike claim as an ‘illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects and a fabrication of the truth.’ This false claim tingled the Pakistani social media users senses as they took Twitter by storm, uploading memes and tweets in a highly amusing Pakistan v India Twitter war.
9. QANDEEL BALOCH
Labelled as Pakistan’s “Kim Kardashian,” Qandeel Baloch gained notoriety through developing a rather titillating and risque image. Her use of Facebook and Instagram to post content that was considered by people to be vulgar and obscene, led to her demise as she was killed in the act of “honour killing,” and yet another life was taken in away in the name of “justice.”
10. LAHORE SMOG
Earlier this November, Lahore was hit by extreme levels of smog that brought tears to the eyes of all those in the open air. The drama queens used this to fake cry their way through everything, while the stoners found the ever so perfect excuse to have red eyes.