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Friday, August 19, 2011

Monumental fraud, called Elections in Pakitan

While the nation celebrated the 64th birthday of Pakistan on Sunday, although there was nothing to celebrate as such except a forlorn hope in the eyes of the youth, at least one big myth must be shattered on this day so that we, the people, are not deceived and betrayed by crooks and gangsters any more. This myth is about elections and an elected leadership in the country.

We are told everytime there is any finger raised against loot, plunder and corruption of any of our leaders that the people of Pakistan will determine whether the leader is corrupt or not by voting or not voting for him, her or the party. At least this grand deception should stop now.

Elections, or what the people do or do not want, are one tool for accountability but it is restricted to a judgment on the programmes, manifestos, promises and performance of individuals and parties. The votes are used in no country of the world to determine whether a person is a thief, crook, gangster or a mafia Don. The local laws of the land determine that.

How this accountability by votes is conducted can be fully understood by just one example — of the United States.

In the US, elections do not mean just voting for the president or members of the two houses of Congress, as in Pakistan. Statistics show that in 1992, when the US population was just 257 million, or about 60 million more than the current population of Pakistan, there were a total of 510,500 elected officials at all levels of government, in states and counties and districts. Every party leader and every candidate is elected.

Data available on the Internet shows there are elected Governors, Lieutenant Governors, State Senators and Representatives and Assemblymen and Delegates. Plus some states have other elected officials like Attorney Generals or Comptrollers. And then there are local officials elected at the level of counties, cities, towns, villages, etc.

In New York alone, there are 62 counties and nearly 1,000 towns and cities. Within the towns, there are nearly 3,000 incorporated villages. Every one of these counties, cities, towns and villages has some form of elected government, depending on which kind of charter they have. Most villages have a mayor at the very least, and may have a village council. Every town has a town board and some have elected supervisors. All counties (except for those in NYC) have a county executive or county legislature. They all also have elected district attorneys. Every city has a mayor and district-based city council.

Then there are elected school boards, elected utility district boards of various types, elected library boards in some places, elected sheriffs, elected local and state judges (tons of those in NY) and finally, there’s the annual election of the Princess of the Mermaids on Coney Island.

According to one account, in one district of California a voter has to elect the following: President of the US; 2 senators from California; 1 representative in House of Representative from California District 13; 1 governor of California; 1 lieutenant governor; 1 secretary of state for California; 1 attorney general of state; 1 controller for state; 1 treasurer for state; 1 insurance commissioner for state; 1 superintendent of public instructions for state; 1 member of the California State Board of Equalisation; 1 representative in the state assembly; 1 representative in the state senate; 1 member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors; 1 mayor of Dublin, California; 4 city councilpersons for Dublin, California; 1 member of the Alameda County Water District; 5 board members for the Dublin Unified School District; 3 board members of the Dublin-San Ramon Services District; 1 board member for East Bay Municipal Water District; 1 board member for Bay Area Rapid Transit District; 1 board member for East Bay Regional Park District; 69 judges for the Superior Court of Alameda County.

In Pennsylvania besides all the above, all judges are elected in partisan elections. Appellate judges (Supreme Court, Superior Court, & Commonwealth Court) serve 10-year terms, but incumbents are only subject to a retention vote. Court of Common Pleas judges also serve 10-year terms. 

At the local level, there are elected posts that are only part-time jobs. Small town mayors and city councils, school boards are elected. Some jurisdictions even elect drain inspectors or fire commissioners. There are elected hospital boards, elected water boards, elected community college boards. People vote directly for county officials such as sheriff, marshal, recorder of deeds, tax assessor, probate judge, public service commission and even clerk of the court.

This is the spirit of the elected system of governance and these polls are held every two years (members of House of Representatives), four years and some like senators for six years. Every one of these elected officials faces the public and runs on his/her record.

But the most important thing is that if any charge of corruption or misconduct is levelled against any of these elected people, they have to resign the moment it is levelled or, if they contest, proved in a court of law. They cannot hide their crimes behind the argument that the people will vote them out in the next polls.

Another important tool used in the US is a referendum on any big or small issue, which becomes controversial and whenever elections are held, either state or national, there are many subjects on which referenda are held simultaneously. 

Out of the 50 states in the US, 49 have laws to hold such local referendums. This is how people decide their local issues, whether it is running a train, building a dam or a park. The wishes of the people are respected.

So hiding behind accountability by the people in elections is just a huge fraud to protect corrupt elected people from crimes they have committed. In elections, people vote on policies not on whether anyone has Swiss accounts or not. This myth should be buried once for all. Note: Some of the data for this article has been picked from the Internet and blogs.

"Bury this monumental fraud, once for all Elections? What elections are you talking about?" By Shaheen Sehbai; http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=8155&Cat=13&dt=8/16/2011 

MUST also READ>> Present political arrangements  is trash left by military dictatorship. Elections-2008 were aimed to continue with the puppet rule under US patronage. How elections held with 35 million fake voters [45% of registered voters] can result in democratic government? So what we see now is jus an illusion of democracy... some reforms are suggested... read >>>http://t.co/nWDNNWN   & "Enduring shame: http://pakistan-posts.blogspot.com/2011/08/that-enduring-shame.html

Monumental fraud, called Elections in Pakistan, MUST end now: