Importance of optics in politics

In a country where over 9.5 crore people earn less than $3.6 per day, facing skyrocketing food infla­tion, it is crucial for politicians to connect with the masses. We live in times where even the diminishing lower middle class is barely surviv­ing and unable to pay their utility bills. It does not send a reassuring message to potential voters when politicians step out of expensive SUVs, dressed in branded clothes, wearing Chanel scarves, carrying Birkin or Louis Vuitton handbags, adorned with diamond bracelets, and wearing watches costing more than the lifelong savings of those whose votes they seek. It reminds them of images of similar watch­es that have been flashed on TV screens, accusing their adversar­ies of stealing Toshakhana gifts. In the recent political history of Pak­istan, Fatima Jinnah should have been a role model. Late BB dressed casually whenever she addressed public meetings. The Cinderella or Barbie Doll image does not convey the reassuring image needed for a politician seeking votes from citi­zens undergoing misery on a 24/7 basis. It only augments the pro­paganda waged by their political opponents with accusations of cor­ruption, money laundering, etc.

In our neighbourhood, politi­cians in India wear Khadi and make sure they connect to the popula­tion they seek to represent. Even the Italian-born Congress party leader Sonia Khan had to publicly revoke her foreign nationality and wear dresses that her mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, dressed in. Ra­hul and Priyanka follow suit.

Media reports about palatial res­idences spread over several acres owned by politicians do not con­vey a good message. It reflects a mindset of individuals totally dis­connected from ground realities. Even the paid bureaucracy of this financially challenged country lives in houses that would dwarf 10 Downing Street, the official res­idence of the British PM.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

LAHORE

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