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Implementation of Manifestos

This article is written with an intention to capture the difference between proclamations and performances of Political parties in Pakistan. Dictionary defines manifesto as a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate. More specifically in the context of Election and politics in Pakistan the manifesto defines the ideology , vision , mission along with road map and action plan for implementation of goals and objectives.

The politics and democracy in Pakistan is somewhat different from the west, the modus operandi related to selection of candidates till the final step is vastly denominated by the elitist. It is supposed and hoped  that voters would decide whom to vote for after looking at the manifestos of different political parties. Political parties tend to set ambitious and optimistic targets in the manifestos, which is understandable for they have to lure voters and set themselves apart from other parties. Besides, strong ambitions may spur concentrated efforts for their achievement and moderate goals may lead to complacency. Much of the democratic experience since has focused on correcting structural problems and fine-tuning the rules of the game for democratic functioning.

Understandably, and true to the South Asian political tradition, manifestos employ political rhetoric as well as sloganeering to attract voters. Consequently, the full implementation of manifestos becomes a tall order. There is much to be done within the political parties in terms of their policy processes and how they track the implementation of their manifestos.

The major political parties with respect to their seats in National and Provincial assemblies in the current political context are PML (N), PPP, PTI and MQM. Other parties include JI, JUI (F), ANP, PML (F), PML (Q) and other nationalist of Baluchistan and KPK.  The problems in Pakistan are well known to everyone, since the inception the public policies of Pakistan are consistently resulting in intensification of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Unfortunately, majority of the policy makers are wealthy and wish to maintain the status quo.

Most of the law makers don’t have any idea about the problems of the poor at the grass root level. Do all the political parties in their manifestos have comprehensively addressed majority of the issues related to common man? Do they have any planning to alleviate long lasting poverty combined with other social atrocities? Have they addressed the process of reforms with regards to pillars of state?

The answer is quite surprising, the majority of the parties have ornate their manifestos with the solutions of problems and not surprisingly, presenting themselves as the last resort of solution.What happened to the performances of political parties when they have given the chance to rule? The answer is when the system is not promoting merit and based on power politics then nothing can be expected from the system. There is a severe need of overhauling the state institutions and bringing structural reforms for inclusive and sustainable growth.

There should be a two stage reforms agenda. The first stage should embrace the reforms with regards to Executive, judiciary and legislature.  The other phase should address those sectors of economy that are lagging behind in the race towards growth. On one side land and agrarian reforms along with Taxation reforms are needed to be exercised on the other hand health and education reforms have to be complied with to make the people healthy educated and skilled in order to provide a valuable human resource to local and international industry .

Different schemes have to be started for the said purpose, which include special programs and short-term measures pointing towards raising the earning ability of  masses in general and provision of social safety nets for the intense poor in Pakistan. The process of inclusive growth takes into account all the marginalized groups to contribute in the process of development that can be done with the introduction of said reforms discussed in the article.

Structural Reforms and policies need to be accompanied by assurance of social inclusion through social safety and policies aimed at sharing care more equally between men and women, ensuring impartial access to education for all, addressing inequalities and the specific needs of marginalized and excluded groups, such as poor, illiterate, unemployed, aggrieved, handicap, disabled men and women, supporting individuals and social groups, assisting those affected by natural disasters including IDPs and rehabilitating to get them back to life. It is to be noted that flawed, mishandled and politicized institutional arrangements are not merely a technical or managerial matter, but an intensely political exercise. This is underlined by the absolute determination of stakeholders engaged within the process of structural reforms leading to inclusive development.

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