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Local Bodies

A FEUDAL ELECTORAL SYSTEM

The Magna Carta, or the “Charter of Liberties”, limiting the King’s power and strengthening the rights of nobles was signed by King John at Runnymede near London on June 15, 1215. Brokered by the Archbishop of Canterbury and meant to rein in rebellious barons, without any sincere intent John was simply playing for time to consolidate his despotic rule. Contrary to popular belief Magna Carta did not initiate the decline of feudalism but did establish the principle in the than western world that everyone including the king was subject to the law. The guaranteeing of the right to justice and a fair trial to any individual were already articulated and implemented in Islam as articles of faith 500 years earlier.

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FAIL-SAFE LINE OF CONSTITUTIONAL MORALITY?

The Supreme Court (SC) recently dismissed several petitions contesting the 2013 elections for various deficiencies. Interestingly just before the 2013 elections the SC ordered the defective electoral rolls to be corrected, because of time constraints the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was instructed to go ahead with the elections, verification of voters being mandated for Karachi only. Such anomalies added to the suspicions and allegations about electoral rigging, culminating in the present protests. On Mar 19, 2014, the SC ordered the long overdue “Local Bodies” elections be completed by Aug 18, 2014, only Balochistan complied. Almost three months after that timeline has expired, feudal pressure has kept democracy from functioning at the grassroots level.

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POLITICAL PARTIES AND ANARCHY

Historically progressive, Pakistan’s bourgeoisie has compromised with imperialism and feudal/tribal elements, with almost all political parties in Pakistan run like feudal estates. The basic ingredient of any functioning democracy, the present form of elections has reduced Parliament to a mere ritual-like exercise with those elected considering power a free licence to loot, plunder and oppress the people for the next five years. To quote my article of May 5, 1995 titled ‘Direct Vote and Democracy’, “other than bad advice our political leadership depends upon “special interest groups” (and individuals) for survival once they are in office rather than on the electorate that voted them into office.”

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IMPERFECT DEMOCRACY

Holding Parliamentary elections in about 60 days from a standing start, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) says that “Local Bodies” polls cannot be held soon for various reasons, informed sources claim delays may range from 4 months to 8 even. The deliberate foot-dragging in the various Provincial Local Bodies Bills confirms lip-service only to the concept for local govt.

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Our ‘Democratic’ Farce

Democracy is a social state in which everyone must have equal rights without hereditary or arbitrary differences of rank or privilege. In a truly democratic State, the entire population shares the same goals and objectives to realize its genuine aspirations of living in an environment of freedom and participation in government at all levels. Even […]

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