Pakistan: Political Satire Becomes Internet Sensation

A recent song released on YouTube, by a group of young men from Lahore, has become an Internet sensation. The song's lyrics are heavily loaded with political satire, something that is rarely witnessed in Pakistan in recent years.

The group calls itself Beygairat Brigade or ‘dishonor brigade’ — a pun to counter the popularly known ‘ghairat brigade’ or moral police that are known to have a large influence in Pakistan. The video, uploaded in the wee hours of the night on the 16 October, had thousands of views later in the morning.

Speaking to the media the group said that decision to release the video on the Internet was made due to possible reluctance from mainstream media in airing ‘controversial’ content. It now appears that the decision has worked exceptionally well for the group; not only does the video have over two million views on YouTube but it has also garnered attention from mainstream media globally, including the BBC.

The satirical lyrics along with a witty video, make for a perfect recipe for an Internet sensation. The songs tackles issues such as conspiracy theories and touches upon the hypocrisy of people who laud the likes of assassins Mumtaz Qadri, who killed former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, and Ajmal Kasab, perpetrator of the Mumbai attacks, while forgetting Dr. Abdus Salam, the country's only Nobel Laureate, because he hails from an outlawed sect of Islam.

The video ends on an ironic yet rebellious note with the lead singer holding up a placard that says : If you want a bullet through my head, like this video.

Screenshot from the music video

Screenshot from the music video

On their blog the group unsurprisingly introduces itself as strong supporters of  freedom of speech and expression:

Believe in Humanity, hate when people jam it down your throat religion, race, culture or ethnicity.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Reactions on social media platforms have been a mix of extreme praise to brutal denouncement:

@LutfIslam: Just when one thought Pak pop ate itself, comes the wonderful Baighairat Brigade:

@Rabeeltariq: @NadeemfParacha: Frustration of teenagers came out and they choose the most suitable & the best possible way to raise their voice.

@Maria_memon: Beyghairat Brigade will always be known as the boys who finally said the emperor had no clothes.

@boghleharsha: just saw aalu anday by the beyghairat brigade. very interesting. art has always reflected turmoil in society.

@Zak_: What's this Beyghairat Brigade’ (the Dishonour Brigade)? a new drama of pseudo-liberals…………

@TaimoorMalik : Beghairat Brigade is getting threats for mentioning Dr Salam in their video – Our only Nobel Laureate, but an AHMADI! That's his crime!

@Khandanish_: Thank you #NOT Beghairat Brigade for getting us famous in India, by that Ajmal Kasab bit. No one considered him as a hero!

Raza Habib Raja writes:

As the torch of Political Rock N Roll passes to younger blood, some of whom have the nerves to finally say that should have been said long ago, there is every reason to believe that though in fringes, sanity still exists. Well Done Baighairat Brigade.. You have given us hope..

Most of the submitted abusive and threatening comments have been removed from youtube video comments. However, the overall impact of the video has been commendable. The attempt by beghairat brigade at political satire has set a precedent for using social media for political activism.


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