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Political Parties’ Manifestos: A promise needs to be fulfilled

Political Parties’ Manifestos: A promise needs to be fulfilled

Waheed Hussain

In the present controversial and cloudy political environment, three main political parties PPP, PML (N) and PTI announced their election manifestos. A manifesto is a sacred document of any political party, informing the public, how it will performonce elected to the government. It’s a road map of the party for development and prosperity of the people and country. Practically speaking,it’s to allure the voters. It’s future promises, rarely fulfilled. The problem with our party parties’ manifesto is, that they are too wishful and unrealistic to be achieved in the five-year term of a government.

No doubt PML (N) manifesto is the most attractive and comprehensive in comparison to other political parties. It gives the touch of two professors, Former Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives,Ahsan Iqbal and Former Federal Minister and Senator Irfan Saddiqi, both worked very hard in compiling the document. Ahsan has been associated with the Planning Commission, knows the economic challenges being faced by the country, while, Irfan Saddiqi a senior columnist, has been very close to the public issues, aspirations and demands. The PML (N) manifesto reads: 1. All government offices will be made environment-friendly. 2. Supremacy of the Parliament will be ensured. 3. Article 62 and 63 will be restored to their original form. 4. Introduction of Panchayat system for alternative dispute resolution. 5. Judicial, legal and justice system will be reformed. 6. Timely and efficient judicial system will be implemented. 7. Limit adjudication time to one year, especially for cases affecting life of a common citizen. 8. Minor cases will be decided in two months. 9. NAB will be abolished.10. Strengthen existing anti-corruption institutions and agencies. 11. Comprehensive amendments in Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 to standardise the procedural laws. 12. Effective, fair and timely prosecution. 13. Court proceedings will be telecast live. 14. Commercial courts will be established.15. Courts of overseas Pakistanis will be made better and stronger. 16. Digital system will be established in judiciary. 17. Inflation will be reduced by 10% by fiscal year 2025. 18. Inflation will be brought down to 4 to 6% in next 4 years. 19. Over 10 million jobs to be offered in 5 years. 20. Maintain a low CAD for next 5 years by keeping it in range of around 1.5 % of GDP. 21. To achieve exports of goods & services of more than $58 billion by the end of 2029.Attractive! Will it be achieved?

How the judiciary will be reformed? How NAB will be abolished until entire parliament agrees or at least the government has clear majority in the two houses. The country’s the most important issue is price hike of the daily used items. The electricity and gas bills. The exchange rate of the country (rupee against the dollar). The petroleum products’ prices which determine rates of all other products used by the public. Until our governments permanently say good bye to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the prices of different products will remain high creating a persistent mental torturefor masses. Is there any solution to mounting debts? Can we run the economy without IMFloans? No answer to these and many other perplex queries? Last but not the least, will the coming elections bring political certainty and stability?

When we debate about the manifesto of a party. Does it mean an individual or the entire party? Because we have been listening to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif detaching himself from the decisions and performance of two PML (N) governments. One that of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other of his own brother Shahbaz Sharif.

When Nawaz Sharif says his government ended in 2017, and country was sent back to the dark ages, he does not own (N) government under Shahid khaqan Abbasi, the man, who was selected by him. Similarly, Nawaz does not own 16 months of Shahbaz Sharif’s coalition (PDM) government as well, again his nominee and the real brother.

What does it mean? Just to get away with the decisions of two PML (N) governments on serious and sensitive issues including the finance and economy. No doubt, removal of Nawaz in 2017 destabilized the country,however, his party completed the government term from 2013-2018. Similarly, the economic mess created by the successive governments including PTI could not be cleared only in 16 months of Shahbaz’s tenure. Here, again, responsibility of all decisions by a government at that time must be shouldered by the Shahbaz’s PDM government. So, the point needs to be noted that in such circumstances the manifestos of the parties disappear in the political mess and power game.

Bilawal is very active in Punjab to challenge Nawaz League and at the same time attract the PTI voters. Will PPP fill the vacuum created by the PTI? Inmiddle the election campaign, PPP has also presented 10 points manifestos.They include: A)Double real income for wage earners — 8% increase every year. B)Free solar energy of 300 units for the poor; every district to have green energy parks. C)Education for all — rolling out projects for better education. D)Free health for all across Pakistan. E)Three million houses for flood affectees and the poor. F)Ghurbat Mitao: Expand BISP’s scope; introduce more welfare schemes.G)Khushhaal Kisaan: BISP-like programme for farmers and ‘Hari Card’. H)Enhanced support for labourers through Benazir Mazdoor Card. I) ‘Youth Card’ for unemployed youth and ‘Youth Markaz.’ J) ‘Bhook Mitao Programme.’

Unfortunately, no industrial plan. No economic road map. The PPP needs to develop an economic team to address the serious economic and financial challenges being faced by Pakistan. How to resolve problems ofnational debt, PSE loans, Privatization, Energy sector circular debts, price hike, security and national cohesion?Where is the plan?

PTI also presented over 150 pages document for the next month general elections. If we see its previous performance, like other political parties, it had failed to implement its 2018 manifesto during approximately four years tenure in power. It promised to provide 10 million jobs and five million houses. The result was otherwise. The country faced worst inflation and debts. The IMF supervised economic and financial policies disappointed the public.

Whatever, the politicians sayin the public meetings “Jalsas” are just the election campaign strategy and slogans. All the three main political parties PTI, PML (N) and PPP ruled the country both at the federal as well as provincial levels. Fact of the matter is they could not pull the country out of economic and financial troubles. It is the time that all of them should bring a drastic change in their attitude, thinking, policy making and implementation process. They should learn from the past. Give up personal likes and dislikes, revenge and just focus on the development and progress of the country. The present vibrant media has changed thinking of the people, so, these political parties may not be able to befool the masses any more. The choice is there? 

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