Understanding Pakistani politics, the chicken way

Islamabad, May 17 (IANS) High chicken prices in the run-up to Pakistan’s May 11 elections are proof of the resourcefulness of contestants keen to feed their supporters and people are happy that some stability has been restored to chicken rates, a newspaper said in a tongue-in-cheek editorial Friday.

“Democracy or not, leg-pulling must always continue, in its various forms – sometimes serious, sometimes, given the usual scene at the dining table, only marginally less so,” said the Dawn editorial headlined “Polls most fowl rise and fall of chicken prices”.

“Every big event must have a bearing on the poultry recitals here. For the masses, hardly conversant with stock market rates and the slip of the rupee – unless the fall can be traced to their own pocket – the price of chicken is a popular means of understanding everyday economics,” it said.

The daily added that the price sign put up by the chicken meat seller is a sign of the times we live in.

“If the price increases, it is an attempt to deprive the people of an essential they are clinging to so desperately.”

Taking a larger view, the editorial said: “The spiralling of chicken meat prices in the run-up to the vote on May 11 was proof of the contestants’ resourcefulness. That the candidates were looking to feed their supporters ‘well enough’ betrayed a real contest, unlike some of the one-sided bulk-buying of poultry in the past.”

“It was a good match this time; based on the party statistics of his buyers, a chicken seller had sufficient electoral information, long before the channels debated whether the margin was narrow or wide and before it was decided who lost the chicken karahi bet in office.”

The daily went on to say that after the polls got over, “the butcher was all too happy to sell to the winners in pursuance of a grand cause: stability of his business”.

“To his routine buyers, it is a matter of great satisfaction that the price-conspiracy hatchers have been tackled and some stability restored to the chicken rates after the election surge.

“This is something to consider for the rulers. The chances of their success hinge critically on the supply of the poor man’s meat at prices not too high,” it said.

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