We all have read or heard the story of Ali Baba and Forty Thieves from the book The Thousand and One Nights, also called The Arabian Nights. The first reference of the stories in this book is from the 9th century. Who knew that a story of Ali Baba will one day become an inspiration for politicians and can help political powers to crack a formula to rule, successfully. Before I move on with my thoughts, I would like to clarify that I have not made a mistake writing the title of this article. It’snot a typo – I have on purpose written the word “Shor” (noises) instead of “Chor”(thieves) and once you finish this article you will realize that how important is “Shor” over “Chor” or it would be better to say how “Chor” takes a magical cover with “Shor” in today’s political world. For people who are not familiar with Urdu language, “Shor” can be used as a singular as well as plural – it can mean one noise and it can also mean many kinds of noise; here I have used it as the plural’noise’. As a student of politics and particularly democracy, I have found that the fundamental feature of democracy is “voice” and there are at least two different understandings of voice. First, liberal democracy is founded on the ideal that every citizen “has a voice” that can and should be heard, just as they have a vote and that these voices are functionally equivalent to each other. A second association of voice with democracy appears in discussions of political representation, embodied in the notion of a representative democracy in which a politician claims to represent the voices of many – “I am your voice”. In Pakistan we believe in improvising and taking things to the next level. Therefore, with that passion in mind, the genius movers& shakers of Pakistan politics have taken the concept of voice in democracy to the next level – from “voice” to “noise”. This way we have not only cracked a successful formula for doing politics but also have introduced a new point of view for the world on this core value of democracy. The genius movers & shakers of Pakistan politics have taken the concept of voice in democracy to the next level – from “voice” to “noise” So the formula is quite simple – let’s have one Ali Baba as a leader of the political party and have forty “shor” (noisy mouth pieces) as the core team. Though it sounds simple, the selection of these “shor” is an uphill task as it requires the best talent available in the country to be hired; those who master this art of noise. Therefore, only the strategic and visionary Ali Baba is able to identify such shor that are to be an integral part of the team. Definition of a perfect “shor” can be described as someone who has an “instant answer” to every question related to any subject – nuclear science, medicine, economics, finance, religion, family planning, global warming, communication, music, arts, helicopter mileage, etc. A perfect “shor” should always look to have an “instant solution” to any world crisis – be it economic, political or social. Ideal candidate should be able to google faster than one can imagine. They should be able to tweet first and then check if the event or the subject has been referred to correctly. They believe in being first, not necessarily be right all the time. Winning an argument is making the noise at the highest volume levels and not so by making sense. They need to have full confidence in what they think is right rather than what the truth might be. The shors believe in stating facts without proof or confirmation and feel no shame in accepting later that those facts were not true, as after all we are only human. It’s never about them, it’s always about the opposition. A perfect “shor” is proudly a “too much politician” : they believe in promising too much as obviously not all promises can be fulfilled; having too much personal inside information on the other person’s life is a key to managing people; being present everywhere in all the pictures as too much self-exposure is a sign of being important; believe that past doings and sayings are all past therefore it is best to deny it with confidence and even strongly believe in the principle that nothing is final in politics so it’s fine to change the track or decisions or even the party whenever its suitable and convenient. Too much knowledge or experience is useless and waste of time when you have great thinking tools like google, twitter, facebook and sheer imagination. The best and the essential feature of a “shor” is that they are only a noise and they believe that the noise is also a voice. They create so much noise and confusion that the real issues are blurred, and the voices are confused. They believe to be entertaining, as people are so depressed that they are looking for entertainment more than real actions to improve their lives. They can only help their Ali Baba rule successfully, for a longer period and several times if they are able to maintain the highest levels of the noise and confusion as they have mastered the art of suppressing the voices by creating noises. One thing is clear that being a professional “shor” is not easy but then as they say nothing is easy in life and success only comes to those who excel in their line of expertise. The higher noise you create, the better and important “shor” you are considered. We have seen many great “shor” in the history of Pakistani politics. Though these “shor” have always been an integral part of our politics but recently we have seen great masters coming up with years of training and practice in this art and most importantly our Ali Babas’ totally dependence on them for not just success to the throne but also its retention. The team is important but the leader is most important as the leader gives the vision, selects the team and develops a strategy to achieve the goals to the vision. We have seen ups and downs in the history of our country and if one studies carefully, it was all because of the kind of Ali Baba we had at that time. Sometimes Ali Baba with vision and great leadership skills is what we only need, and, in that case, the “shor” don’t matter. In some cases, Ali Baba is weak in skill but is intelligent enough to choose expert voices on pure merit of expertise in his team. We have also had “one man” Ali Baba who knows it all and thinks he is enough for all and is a God’s gift to the nation. Though the political leaders have gained so many years of rule through this formula but unfortunately the nation has not been able to gain much because all “shor” have only been focused on noise to serve their Ali Babas and not on improving the lives of the nation. This formula has hurt our country so bad that the nation was not willing to fall for it any more therefore the only way to sell the product further was to bring it with some new incentive in a new packaging – an offer of new and improved Pakistan was launched: A promise of new hope and a ‘much’ better tomorrow! Pakistan is a great nation and has proven its bravery, strength and resilience from time to time. Pakistanis have never lost their optimism but the only fear this nation has always had is what if the story title changes to “Shor Aur Chalis shor” (English: Noise and Forty Noises) – a situation where Ali Baba turns into a “shor” himself or a perfect “shor” is chosen for the position of Ali Baba. One can hope that we move beyond the politics of these “shor” to “expert voices” – from “if you can’t convince them, confuse them” to “let’s be the voice of true & meaningful change”, from “let’s lie right now and pull out later” to “let’s tell the truth even if it’s hard”. I have no doubt in the intentions of the Ali Baba of today but the only way to achieve his high goals for the betterment of this country is to put the right person in the right job at the right time – merit over old friendships, brave decision-makers over apple-polishers, strategic minds over only-talks, clean over dirty, passion over selfishness, expert over generalist, authentic confirmed facts over Google. The writer is CEO of Ogilvy Pakistan and a communication strategist Published in Daily Times, February 24th 2019.