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Your Say: Pop Idol, Pakistan and Desmond Dekker

Kevin Anderson | 17:50 UK time, Friday, 26 May 2006

American idol winnersYou have been e-mailing us in outrage over a report that claims that Pakistan's politicians live as paupers.

Next up on the programme, American Idol. It wasn't the story we thought it was, but we're still going to talk about what the millions of votes cast in American Pop Idol says about the state of democracy in the US.

And we had to console Jamaicans as some of those we called hadn't heard the news that reggae legend Desmond Dekker had died. Want to have your say? E-mail us. Text us at +44 77 86 20 60 80, or leave a comment here. Have your say. I'm listening from live in the studio.

Pakistan's 'penniless' politicans?

Ali Azam, Birmingham in the UK sent us this e-mail:

I have lived in Pakistan for most of life and consider myself to have a good understanding of Pakistani politics and politicians. The statement about penniless politician should be considered a joke, virtually all of them millionaires and social elites who think of themselves above the law.

And Amad Ghauri, London, UK said this in his e-mail:

Only one word describes these people and that's corrupt. These politicians have no values. They are only politics to fill their own pockets. I am complaining. Will my voice be heard in Paskitan? NO!

Faisal Saleh Hayat, Pakistan's environment minister, joined us. He said that families are close in Pakistan. He doesn't own a house, but rather he said that he lives with family members.

I do not own a house, and I do not own a car. That does not make me filthy rich.

Seyed Mateen in Karachi wanted a chance to question one of his MPs.

Whatever he (Mr Hayat), said I don't believe it. We have no transparency. They are filthy rich. Mr Faisal you are quite senior. I personally feel that many have made a wrong statement to evade taxes.

Fatima said that the laws in Pakistan were made for the rich, and even if someone were to take the minister to court that he or she would never win.

He said that in his asset statement he owned agricultural land, which he said are worth much more than three or four of the best houses in any city in Pakistan. And he says that he has declared stock ownership as well. He denied trying to conceal his wealth to avoid paying taxes.

Upkar, an Indian living in Kentucky in the US, said that in both India and Pakistan that even if a complaint was brought against a politician or a minister that it would be addressed by elites like them.

You have to see how much they are sucking from the countries. People talk about shining India and the GDP growth, but they can't even provide basic necessities for the people.

Nadeen challenged the minister over why more wasn't being spent on agriculture instead of being spent on defence.

The minister countered that Pakistan's per capita income has risen to an all time high of $840.

But Sulaiman in Freetown sent us this text message:

What is a single man doing with 500 acre of land.

Violence in East Timor

We have been trying to get in touch with those of you who have sent us e-mails from East Timor, but it has been almost impossible. David Worsley just returned from there. His wife is stationed in East Timor, and he and his wife returned for a long planned holiday.

David said that the government troops peacefully protested at first but gangs of unemployed youth who took advantage of the situation. But dissident soldiers now have taken up arms he said. The prime minister is deeply unpopular "basically fixed his re-election to stand again". He said that everyone has been cheering as Australian troops landed.

Our correspondent there said that Australian troops are fanning out from the airport to secure the hills. There have been serious law and order issues.

Things in East Timor have unraveled remarkably fast

And we got several e-mails. One was from Cidalio in Paris:

My wife and four kids are in Dili. I call them almost everyday. Most people have left - those who can't leave, like my family, stay in Churches, schools, & embassies. The price of vegetables is very high. People cannot afford to buy them. People have fought for Independence for a better life, not for injustice and descrimination.

But Kate says:

As I sit writing this, life goes on around me much as it has for the past two years. Vegetable sellers and street vendors are opening for business, yearning for life to return to normal. East Timor has come a very long way since its vote for independence in 1999.

American Idol a model democracy?

All of callers either didn't vote or vote for the eventual loser in the American Idol competition.

I'm not surprised that shows like American Idol is drawing more attention than political campaigns, said Michael in Amsterdam. He added that political campaigns in the US are run more like TV show anyway. He said that to somehow suggest that one tick in a box every few years is a democracy was leaving people feeling a little out of touch.

Mary in Canada said that it was about the engagement week after week.

Tim didn't vote in American Idol. He thought that most of the people voting in the programme were kids.

I'm from near Chicago in the US, and there is a classic saying in Chicago politics to vote often and vote early. Kim in Caifornia said that she voted over 600 times. She used an automatic dialer to vote more than 600 times. "That skews the number quite a bit."

Mary said that there was software called Dial Idol to vote several times and to vote strategically.

Remembering Desmond Dekker

Warrell King said Desmond meant reggae to him.

It's said that a king is never honoured in his own town. And as far as the populous, Desmond is not recognised. It takes a real reggae lover to remember her. Desmond Dekker isn't known in Jamaica as he should be. A founder of this music had to migrate for his livelihood.

Karen Smith spoke to us from Trinidad and Tobago, a singer herself, she sings his songs like Israelite. She sang a few songs for us.

Noah in Leeds in the UK just saw Desmond Dekker a few weeks ago. There were more than 600 fans enjoying a great performer.

Mohamed Mansour of Monrovia sent us this text message: "Pls play me one of his latest song." We'll try to find one of Desmond's latest track to play out.

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