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World’s most sophisticated ‘presidential democracy‘ has the highest rate of gun ownership on the globe. There are 89 guns for every 100 Americans. In 2011 – the latest year for which detailed statistics by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are available – there were 12,664 murders in the US. Of those, 8,583 were caused by firearms. Recently, in what is known as the worst ‘shooting massacre of the US history’, 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives.
However, another statistical detail by the same FBI revealed that 6,222 criminal incidents involving 7,254 offenses were reported in 2011 as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. This data was published in early December by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program in Hate Crime Statistics, 2011.
Hate crimes motivated by religious bias accounted for 1,318 offenses reported by law enforcement. 59 percent of the offenders were white people. A breakdown of the bias motivation of religious-biased offenses showed:
- 62.2 percent were anti-Jewish.
- 13.3 percent were anti-Muslim.
- 5.2 percent were anti-Catholic.
- 4.8 percent were anti-multiple religions, group
- 3.7 percent were anti-Protestant
- 0.3 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc
- 10.5 percent were anti-other religion.
The latest case of such heinous and biased victimization depicts that anti-Muslim violence is perpetuating in the US without any barriers.
Source for statistical data: http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2011-hate-crime-statistics
This audio identifies the factors that make the general elections of Pakistan in 2013, unique and historic.
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Editorial Content of the Audio
Pakistan’s road towards democracy has been full of hurdles. The incumbent ruling coalition of the Pakistan People’s Party ( also known as the PPP) is the first democratically elected government in the history of Pakistan to complete its five-year term. However, the nation paid a heavy price for this. PPP’s leader and former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after addressing a public rally in Liaqat Baagh Rawalpindi just when the elections of 2008 under General Musharraf were around the corner.
The dictator was ousted by the lawyers’ movement that supported the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Pakistan People’s Party marked an important democratic transition under the leadership of Asif Ali Zardari (widower of late Benazir Bhutto). Despite heavy criticism from the opposition for PPP’s bad governance, ill-management of energy crisis and record levels of corruption, the party is moving towards the end of its complete term.
The general elections of 2013 will be unique for a number of reasons.
To name a major few;
- it is for the first time that political parties got a time span of 5 years to engage with the local population.
- Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician has attracted a sizeable number of youth that constitutes more than half of the total population of Pakistan. Ascribing the word Tsunami with it, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf under the leadership of Imran Khan presents itself as a symbol for change in Pakistan.
- It is for the first time that politicians are using social media, information networks like Twitter to reach the masses.
- Public rallies were in full swing during the years 2011 and 2012. Including the historic public address of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Chief Imran Khan.
- The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is constantly working to ensure that the elections in 2013 should be free and fair by all means.
- The Supreme Court of Pakistan made some unprecedented verdicts on the socio-political issues of the country including reforms in the electoral process.
- The upcoming general elections will be the most expensive ones in the history of Pakistan. The ECP has estimated that Rs 5.90 billion in expenses will be incurred during the election compared to Rs 1.45 billion spent in 2008. Moreover, the 180 million ballot papers printed for the election will be watermarked!
- Last but not the least, ‘political songs’ echoed the most in rallies of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. Pop singer Abrar ul Haq sided with Imran Khan and Fakhir Mehmood, another singer of Pakistan, joined Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
What is left to be seen is that how these factors will mould voting behaviour in Pakistan where most of the voters are ’emotionally-charged’ and literacy rate isn’t satisfactory.