Tunes of elections seek to sway voters

Campaign songs continue to reappear as a staple to the usual paraphernalia that accompanies the electoral process

Over the years, campaign songs have gained prominence in Pakistan with the particular tunes becoming synonymous with different political parties in the country. 

Campaign songs continue to reappear as a staple to the usual paraphernalia that accompanies the electoral process. The political parties produce new songs or revamp old tunes in a bid to connect with crowds and drum up support while beating down their opponents.

"Considered as "literary trash"... their [campaign songs] purpose [is] to arouse mass enthusiasm at the expense of reason, "warm up" the crowds at rallies, political meetings, and parades, and remind the faithful of the virtues of party and candidate," writes William Miles in Songs, Odes, Glees and Ballads

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which has been affiliated with popular musicians in the country such as Salman Ahmed and Abrar-ul-Haq, has time and again released songs which focus on its vision of bringing tabdeeli [change] and making a 'Naya Pakistan'. 

Singers Shahzaman and Jawad Kahown revamped the tune of PTI's Tabdeeli Aayi Re [Here comes change] song last year and the video even featured party leader Imran Ismail. 

Additionally, the party also selected Farhan Saeed to sing party's campaign song 2018. 

Regarding the track, Imran shared on social media: "Our youth have been central to our Movement for Justice and they have set the trend for our Party anthems. Proud of Farhan Saeed for this composition for our Movement for Justice."

Moreover, popular track Dilan Teer Bija, which has become the defunct song of Pakistan Peoples Party, raised the bar for all other campaign songs. The song still continues to be played at the party rallies.

With time PPP has also produced new songs to highlight the virtues of their political 'messiahs'; chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz continues to blast the song Mian De Naary [Chants for Mian] at his rallies and campaigns. 

The song praises the personality of Mian sahab [Nawaz Sharif] and asks the voters to cast their ballots in favour of the tiger electoral symbol. 

PML-N released another song to reiterate its 'respect for vote' stance. 

Human rights activists Jibran Nisar, who will contest the elections as an independent candidate also released his campaign anthem Hum Mei Se #Aik [One of Us] recently. 

"Though Mohammad Jibran Nasir is contesting as an independent candidate with the campaign naturally focusing on a single person, however, the lyrics of the anthem do not praise or even mention Jibran opposed to majority political songs which celebrate personalities instead of propagating an inclusive ideology," his team wrote in a social media post. 

Other parties such as Pak Sarzameen Party, Awami National Party, Balochistan Awami Party among plenty others have also produced songs to sway the voters. 

The rise of the DJ

Adnan Parwaz, who works as a DJ, shared that he plays at the rallies of different political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and Pakistan Awami Tehreek and many independent candidates. 

When asked about the playlist for rallies, he remarked that political parties give him and his group the decision making powers in the regard. 

"We play the songs according to the crowd. For instance, if there is Pashto crowd then we try to play Pashto songs and likewise if there are majority Punjabi people in the crowd," he shared, adding that rarely ever political parties dictate their song choices. 

"Our payment depends on the amount of equipment we have used," he shared, adding that they make Rs50,000 to Rs0.1 million per event.