Top Social Media and Viral Trends In Pakistan That Defined 2016

One year “Axcuze me, aap bhi?” becomes a sensation in Pakistan whereas in the following year, a mere photograph of a worker at a chai stall captures the hearts of women across the country. So what are the top social media trends which took Pakistan by storm in in 2016?

In no particular order, let’s find out.

1) Momina Mustehsan

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Momina became a super star after her debut on Coke Studio alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The 24 year old, along with Rahat, recreated Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘Afreen Afreen’, which made people sit up and take notice. The crowd was in absolute awe over her singing (or lack thereof if social media is to be believed).

With social media fame comes notoriety as well. A number of people believed that her fame was short-lived or that she was ‘unworthy’ but each to his own.

To date, her cover of Afreen Afreen has over 2.5 million views on YouTube alone.

2) Rana Thakur

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Thick mustache and black glasses are his trademarks. Who is he, you ask? Ah! The infamous Thakur, who made his mark in the history of Pakistan by arresting MQM party member Farooq Sattar following a speech by his party chief. It was reported that he arrested Farooq while Mr. Sattar’s press conference was on air. Some of the incidents were captured by national media and footage of it was released to various media channels which only increased Rana Thakur’s reputation.

The burly Thakur’s image became the talk of the town (and social media) for days to come.

3) Arshad Khan aka Chai Waala

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He wakes up one day to realize that one DSLR photo is all it takes to become recognized worldwide.

Arshad became famous after Jiah, a professional photographer, randomly captured a photo of him pouring chai in a dhabba while she was out on one of her gigs. She then posted Arshad’s picture on her Facebook profile which went viral.

It took only a few days for him to become a sensation. Remarkably, he was also seen trending in London. Arshad is now under contract and working as a model. Social media changed his fortunes overnight.

4) Sheikh Rasheed

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“Where are you Nawaz Sharif? Come and arrest me if you are ready!”, yells the Awaami Party leader while rebelling against the orders of the government to reach Committee Chowk after Friday prayers last week.

The political tension rose and it forced everyone, including the people in the opposition, to take drastic measures. Sheikh Rasheed had always been a favorable politician for his iconic cigar pose, his unique talking style and roasting of other politicians. This year, he’s become the politician with the most swag in Pakistan.

Follow this ProPakistani post to read the funniest tweets about the Sheikh’s getaway.

5) The Push Ups

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At an age of 42 years and 47 days, Pakistan test team captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, scored a remarkable test ton against England. The achievement was made iconic by Misbah’s celebration which caught everyone’s attention. After an exhausting 154 ball cameo, he dropped to his hands and knees and did push ups. At the time everyone saw it as a gesture that he was still fitter than ever. He then stood up and saluted the men who trained him and his team at the army boot camp.

The pushups are still making news, with lawmakers questioning their ‘intent’ and some going ahead and doing it as a form of political protest.

6) The Surgical Strike that Never Happened

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The tension between Pakistan and India boiled over the disputed Kashmir land. India’s cowardly attack on Kashmiris blinded thousands because of the use of pellet guns. Soon after, India claimed that they had conducted a surgical strike in the region, a development that turned out to be untrue.

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.’

The term, and India, fast became the butt of the joke with even a mission to kill that pesky mosquito being labelled as a ‘surgical strike.’

7) Afghan Border Scanner

This footage went viral soon after its release due to its absurdity. An Afghan citizen was caught on camera at Pak-Afghan border. Although there is no audio in the clip, you can sense what is happening.

We will leave you to watch the video. It’s a hilarious and touching moment of the confusion that often results due to differing cultures and language barriers.

8) Nargis Fakhri’s Mobilink Ad

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The inclusion of Nargis Fakhri’s image in Jang’s newspaper sparked an outrage on social media. Many, including journalists, used social media to condemn the ‘obscenity’ of the ad that simply shows Nargis Fakhri lying down with a phone in her hand while donning a red dress.

The all-red theme of the ad was due to the fact that it was a Jazz promotional ad. Some people also remarked at Mobilink’s PR pulling off incredible publicity.

If only it wasn’t for Ufone’s response (see below).

9) Ufone Response To the Nargis Fakhri Ad

Ufone have provided us with humor for years through their advertisement campaigns. Arguably, this was the most hilarious of all.

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After the controversy ignited by Nargis Fakhri’s Jazz ad in Jang, Ufone took it upon themselves to exploit the situation and come up with something brilliant. In response, you can see Faisal Qureshi, Ufone brand ambassador and Pakistani comedian, all donned in Pakistani attire. The ad had him recreating Nargis Fakhri’s pose with an ironically ‘local’ twist.

Ufone’s PR department trolled the competition real good. And the Pakistani public thought so as well.

10) Pervaiz Rashid and His Inability to Name Certain Places

Pervaiz Rashid, in a press conference, tried his best to humiliate Imran Khan but it did not go as planned.

In all seriousness, he said: “Take the name of that place… where your [Imran Khan’s] children are growing up. I will not take the name of that place…because if a Muslim says the word he will have to perform wuzu (ablution for cleansing) for even bringing it on his tongue.”

Although in the following press conference Pervaiz Rashid clarified that it was merely a humorous remark but no one saw it like that. Social media had a field day naming places that Mr. Rashid couldn’t utter. Take a look at some really funny ones here.

11) MQM Ban

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In a press conference, the former leader of MQM, Altaf Hussain, openly backed RAW, an Indian spy organization working in Pakistan, which attracted a lot of attention from everyone.

The AH-affliated arm of MQM was quickly sidelined, and their website was banned in the country, reinforced by an earlier ban of Altaf’s speeches. Social media across the country rallied behind the BanMQM trend and expressed their disgust at the circus that’s often Pakistani politics.

12) Waseem Badami vs. Aamir Liaquat

Who doesn’t remember the famous Aamir Liaquat hidden video which took the internet by storm?

“Ghalib Film Dekhi Hai Aap Nay?”, will forever remain an iconic phrase from the hidden tape which surfaced almost a year ago. Recently in an interview with Waseem Badami, Aamir forgets the name of the movie Terminator, to which he was referring to in a different context. He casually asks Waseem: “Wo Konsi Movie Thi?“, and Waseem replies with, “Ghalib?”

This hilarious exchange of words left everyone in giggles. Have a look:

Where there is fun, joy and happiness, there is also sadness and tragedy. Some of the tragic events which unfolded in 2016 and shook Pakistan are compiled below:

13) PIA Flight 661 Crash

The tragedy struck on the eve of 7th December. The aircraft left Chitral Airport and was expected to land at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad. Before the crash, the crew issued a mayday call. The aircraft crashed at about 15-20 before reaching the destination and left a wreckage on the side of a hill between the villages of Saddha Batolni and Gug, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province about 90 kilometres from the capital. The wreckage was reported to be strewn over an area about 2 kilometres across. The crash occured due to a combination of errors; engine failure and pilot’s fault. All the 47 people who boarded the plane died in the crash.

14) Junaid Jamshed

One of the victims of the PIA Flight 661 crash was the iconic Junaid Jamshed himself. Junaid was on the plane with his wife, who were returning from Chitral. He was enroute to deliver the Friday sermon at the Parliament mosque but the tragedy struck and he died in the PK 661 plane crash.

Junaid Jamshed’s death was mourned by not only the Pakistanis but also worldwide.

Junaid received nationwide prominence and international recognization in 1987 as the lead singer of Vital Signs. It is safe to say that his legs still lives on.

15) Qandeel Baloch

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Qandeel Baloch was referred to as Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian – a social media star, who gained notoriety through cultivating a risque image.

She was a hot topic of debate for those who thrived on controversies. Often, people dismissed her acts as vulgar and carried on with their lives but not her brother. Honor killing, once again, showed its ugly face in Pakistan and yet another life was sacrificed in the name of perceived ‘justice‘.

Violence against women is rampant in Pakistan and perhaps Qandeel Baloch can serve as an icon for the removal of this hideous crime from the society.

16) Amjad Sabri

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Amjad Sabri, a master of qawwali and a fallen soldier. The richly baritoned Sabri was part of one of South Asia’s most celebrated singing families. His qawwalis, were cherished not only in Pakistan but also abroad.

However some of the people did not see eye to eye and occasionally raised their concerns about blasphemy in Sabri’s qawwalis. After shooting of Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and Malala Yousafzai in 2012, Pakistani Taliban confirmed the news that they masterminded the brutal murder of Amjad Sabri.

On his way to a TV show in the holy month of Ramadan, Mr. Amjad’s car was stopped by two men on a bike. They open fired, killing him and his driver before cowardly running off. Sabri’s funeral was attended by thousands of people.

17) Edhi

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Last but not the least, 2016 saw the demise of a noble man, Abdul Sattar Edhi. He was a philanthropist, ascetic, and humanitarian. Famously known for Edhi Foundation, Abdul Sattar was given the title of poorest richest man in the world. In a country increasingly riven by extremism, Edhi was a symbol of love and generosity.

Devoting his life for the betterment of others, the Edhi’s contributions are hugely appreciated all over the world. Towards the end of his career, he developed a kidney problem which caused his demise at the age of 90.

His last wish was for his organs to be donated but due to the severity of his illness, doctors decided against it.

Seeing the crimes, robberies and brutal killings such as the likes of Qandeel Baloch and Amjad Sabri, how beautifully did Edhi put it, “People have become educated, but have yet to become human.”

Did we miss any major social media trends observed in Pakistan in 2016? Sound off in the comments below.

Sports Analyst & Head of Sports Desk.


  • You are bullshits Mumtaz Qadri Shaheed was 6th Number why You ignored him shame on You Jahilo


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