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Pakistani internet sours over ‘one-sided’ national sweet poll, demands fresh vote

January 5 , 2019

A few days after the Government of Pakistan declared the Gulab Jamun the national sweet on the basis of a Twitter poll, a group of social media users and mithai-lovers protested in Sanghar on Saturday, rejecting the result.

Restricting the online survey to one social media network was an injustice to other more popular social media networks and mithai lovers, they argued.

To drive home their point, they ate different mithais of their choice. They shouted “Mithai Poll Namanzoor” and “Mithai Poll Dobara Karwao”. They held up placards saying, “Facebook and Instagram should be included in #MithaiPoll”, “Barfi is Pakistan’s number one sweet”, “Yaktarfa #MithaiPoll Namanzoor”, “Mithai poll dobara karwaya jai”, “Sanghar’s special Mawa should be declared national sweet” and “Meri Mithai Meri Marzi”.

Related: What is the national sweet of Pakistan?

Protesters urged the government to hold another poll and include results from other popular social media networks used in Pakistan beyond just Twitter.

The government had asked citizens on Twitter what they considered to be the national sweet.

A total of 15,196 tweeple responded. The government said that the Gulab Jamun emerged as the clear winner with 47% votes. The Jalebi came second at 34% and Barfi third with 19% votes.

In Pakistan, 35 million users are active on social media networks. Out of this, 32 million are on Facebook, 5.2 million on Instagram and only 5 million people are active on Twitter. That means that the poll ignored Facebook and Instagram, protesters said. “A large number of men and women use Facebook, next comes Instagram. Twitter comes at number three,” said protester Amir Rajpoot. “We demand re-polling for mithai that includes Facebook and Instagram so that our favorite sweets get a chance.” He claimed that a majority of mithai lovers in Pakistan like Barfi.

Zahir Shah, a Facebook user, said he was fond of Barfi but he could not vote for his favorite mithai because Facebook was not included. “We want Barfi to be number one,” he said.

Mithai-lover Iqtadar Hussain Sanjrani said limiting the vote to Twitter also excluded a lot of women, who were mostly on Facebook and Instagram.

Dilshad, a local mithai vendor, also put his weight behind protestors. He argued that all types of mithai are popular among the people and therefore you could not declare on mithai type the national sweet. “Overall, mixed mithai is used most of the time,” he said. “When there is wedding season in winter, the Ras Gulla is the most sold mithai. Barfi is sold on normal days. On Eid days, people by mixed mithai. And the Jalebi is a winter item.”


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