More troubling is the fact that on the sidelines at Davos, Bilawal also gave an interview in Urdu to DW where he aired many of the same opinions he presented in English -- this interview, however, was not praised by anyone.
More troubling is the fact that on the sidelines at Davos, Bilawal also gave an interview in Urdu to DW where he aired many of the same opinions he presented in English -- this interview, however, was not praised by anyone.

Many things stood out at this year's World Economic Forum (WEF): the forum's first ever all-female panel of co-chairs, Malala's talk with Buzzfeed journalist Miriam Elder and Justin Trudeau's rubber duck socks.

That being said, Pakistani Twitter was abuzz with something different: praise for PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his time in Davos; specifically for his interview with Indian media channel India Today.

People commenting on this interview flung about words like 'eloquent' and 'articulate'.

There is no doubt that the substance of his responses to Indian journalist Rahul Kanwal was solid: he cleverly navigated questions about terrorism, managed to touch on Kashmir without offending, and professed that the good of the average Pakistani was more important to him than political partisanship.

However, most commentators weren't impressed by these points. They were impressed by his... English.


This is a pattern. A couple of weeks ago, an interview that Hina Rabbani Khar did with Christine Amanpour also started doing the rounds on social media lauding her for being able to answer questions "intelligently".

This makes us wonder: is our bar for politicians really so low that we get impressed when educated people can string together multi-syllabic words?

More troubling is the fact that on the sidelines at Davos, Bilawal also gave an interview in Urdu to DW where he aired many of the same opinions he presented in English -- this interview, however, was not praised by anyone.

True, his fluency in Urdu is lacking in this interview, but his message is similar. Are we really so biased against Urdu that we would ignore this? Apparently so.

After all, we are the same people who make fun of Bilawal Bhutto's political rallies in Pakistan where he occasionally trips on his Urdu. And we're the same people who make fun of Pakistani cricketers who don't have great English language skills. Same goes for our mockery of Meera.

Read this next: Don't be ashamed if you can't speak English, says Hamza Ali Abbasi to Sarfraz Ahmed

Perhaps we need to be less impressed by a politician's English language skills and more focused on what tangible results he has achieved for his electorate.

These people seem to have the right idea:





This piece was originally published on Images on Jan 30, 2018.

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