In Pakistan's chequered history no elected government has been allowed to complete its term of office. Frequent military interventions have done colossal damage to the integrity and solidarity of the country. As a consequence, Pakistan has failed to achieve political stability, sustained economic growth and a clear sense of national solidarity. The 1973 constitution, which has the consensus of all the federating units, has been amended by the autocratic rulers beyond recognition. What we see today is continuing military rule, with a façade of democracy.
The three main pillars of a sustainable democratic order are: a sovereign parliament, an independent judiciary and a free and fair electoral process. All the three institutions have been greatly weakened in the past 8 years:
- The Parliament had been denied its due role in policy making and virtually reduced to a rubber stamping body. It could not even discharge its constitutional responsibility of electing a Prime Minister.
- The unconstitutional removal of the Chief Justice of Pakistan in March 2007, and the forced retirement of 55 additional Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts after 3 November 2007, dramatically exposed the game plan of Military rulers to have a pliable judiciary that will sanctify the continuation of Musharraf's rule under a civilian façade.
- The manner in which the general elections of 2002 and local body's polls of 2005 were manipulated and rigged has virtually destroyed the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan.
In these 8 years, Military has taken control of almost all the vital economic sectors of the country and most important positions are now occupied by retired or serving army officers. The process of accountability has been focused on politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats. Army has been deliberately kept out of its purview. In fact the National Accountability Bureau has been blatantly used as a political tool to coerce turn-coat politicians into playing second fiddle to military ascendancy in matters which are purely civilian in a democratic country. Curbs on democratic freedom and the media remain draconian. To justify the military take over and forestall the emergence of strong political alternatives, the military regime has been vigorously pursuing a systematic campaign to malign politics and politicians and divide and pressurize all the mainstream opposition parties.
The military government has totally failed to achieve any of the objectives announced as its seven (7) point's agenda in October 1999. There has been a sharp increase in prices, unemployment and poverty. Governance and law and order are at their worst in Pakistan's history. Car thefts, burglaries, bank robberies, political and sectarian violence have increased by the day ever since the military government has taken control of the country. The centre - province relationships have been deteriorating especially on the issue of water and distribution of financial resources under NFC. Baluchistan has reached a point where an armed confrontation is taking place between the Federation and the local leadership. Because of the mishandling by the present government and the brute use of force, there is great disillusion in the NWFP and the Tribal areas.
The present government has explicitly recognized that the income disparities in the country have increased during the last few years which are sad news for the people of the country. Although the consumption inequality has increased both in urban and rural areas, the inequalities in urban area have grown at a higher rate. Sectors like rural development, rural electrification and low cost housing performed dismally and have shown declining trends. The inequality reflects distortions in the availability and quality of health, education and infrastructure services. These are alarming trends. The poor in the country are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. The reversal of this trend is only possible through a change in approach in policy formulation and implementation and by making the reduction of the rich-poor divide as integral part of a new policy thrust.
In these 8 years the government was a one-man show and the President-cum-Chief of Army Staff wanted to perpetuate his hold on power but was forced by the political opposition and a civil society movement led by the lawyers to shed his uniform. In the aftermath of 9/11, the only superpower patronized this set-up because it was fighting America's proxy war on more than one front. The backlash of this plan is now mounting in the form of terrorist activities and bomb blasts in different parts of Pakistan.
People in Pakistan are losing faith in the manifestos of most political parties because they are disillusioned by the actual implementation of such Manifestos. But by God's grace, PML(N) was able to implement its Manifestos to a substantial degree during its two terms from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to September 1999, despite many internal and external difficulties. If PML(N) governments had been allowed to complete its 5 years tenures, the country would not be in such dire straits as it is today.
It is in this scenario that PML(N) would like to unfold various facets of its manifesto keeping in view the Charter of Democracy. Top of the agenda will be a coherent strategy to restore the Judges who refused to take oath under the P.C.O. promulgated on 3 November 2007. This will also ensure a sustainable democratic order free of military interference. It is equally necessary to ensure a free media as the fourth pillar of a democratic system, after a sovereign legislature, an independent judiciary and a law abiding executive.
The lawyer's movement that started in March 2007, to uphold the rule of law has been transformed by the powerful media and other segments of the civil society, into an historic battle for fundamental rights and genuine democracy. The forthcoming elections provide a golden opportunity to win this battle by voting for parties striving for democracy and the noble objectives listed above and rejecting those that only provide a civilian façade to military rule.
Mohammad Nawaz Sharif
14 December 2007
2. Revival of Genuine Democracy
Pakistan came into existence through a democratic struggle. Pakistan can survive as a unified and strong federation only through a viable and sustained democratic process. PML(N) is fully committed to democracy. It will:
- strengthen all democratic institutions, and traditions in all spheres of national life and improve the economic condition of the common man.
- re-establish the supremacy of Parliament and its Committees to perform the role assigned to it under the constitution;
- promote unity among the federating units through maximum provincial autonomy and decentralization of administrative and financial powers to provincial and lower levels;
- fully recognize the rights and privileges of the opposition and the importance of internal party democracy and free speech;
- ensure that the armed forces perform only such functions as are assigned to them under the constitution;
- guarantee, subject to law and public morality, all the fundamental rights including equality of status and opportunity, freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association and equality before law;
- ensure that elections at all levels under a neutral caretaker government are free and fair and the sanctity of the vote is fully respected. All election cells in intelligence and military establishments will be closed.
- PML(N) will appoint the Chief Election Commissioner in consultation with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. While the Chief Election Commissioner will be a retired Chief Justice or judge of Supreme Court or High Court, its members will be appointed from among retired judges of the supreme Court or High Courts, distinguished retired civil servant with impeccable service record, or eminent jurists of national stature. The number of members will be increased to five so that the election petitions are decided within a reasonable period of time.
- Hold elections for the national and provincial assemblies on the same day.
3. Independent Judiciary and the Rule of Law
The judicial crisis that erupted on 9 March 2007, with the removal of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, was an historic turning point in the political life of the country. The manner in which members of the bar launched a massive agitation campaign, with strong support from the civil society and all the political parties in the opposition, to uphold the independence and dignity of the superior judiciary was unprecedented. The decision of the full court on 20 July 2007, to set aside the reference and to reinstate the Chief Justice, has become a milestone in the nation's struggle for democracy and the rule of law.
The Chief of Army Staff tried to undo this judgement of 20 July through a Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) on 3 November 2007, under which he suspended the constitution and removed 55 Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts who refused to take oath under the PCO, so that he could get a favourable verdict on his eligibility for the office of the President. Judicial atrocity on this scale is unthinkable in today's world.
PML(N) is fully convinced that with such overwhelming support from the lawyers and the civil society, these Judges will be restored and the judicial institutions will see a qualitative revolution in the coming years. This regeneration of the judiciary will not only bury for ever, the infamous law of necessity under which military take overs have been sanctified in the past 5 decades, but also ensure that justice, which is the corner stone of any civilized society, is available to every citizen in all parts of the country. Today the majority of people spend an inordinate amount of time at police stations (thanas) and lower courts (katchery) where they have no alternative but to buy justice through the vicious and endless circle of safarish, bribery or blackmail. This culture has to be ruthlessly uprooted.
PML(N) solemnly pledges to take effective steps to protect the independence and dignity of the judicial system, through the following specific measures:
· Appoint a judicial commission comprising eminent jurists, Judges, parliamentarians, representatives of lawyers, and civil society to recommend and supervise restructuring and reforms of judicial system.
· The system of appointment of judges will be reformed to ensure appointments on merit alone and in a transparent manner.
· Judicial information system shall be put in place for the efficient functioning of judiciary.
· Lower judiciary will be strengthened for speedy delivery of justice in order to protect the life and property of ordinary citizens.
· Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms shall be developed to facilitate social cohesion.
· All discriminatory laws shall be abolished.
· Fair and across the board application of law shall be ensured in the fight against crime so that criminal elements are unable to misuse the judicial system to their own advantage.
· Police will be made a community oriented service, and reformed to become a modern crime-fighting machine with better training and equipment.
· Narcotics trade and sectarian/religious violence will be eliminated from the society.
· Special monitoring cells will be set up in the center and the provinces to check heinous crimes, and heinous crime cases and criminals will be dealt with an iron hand.
· Crime fighting agencies will be trained in the modern investigation and crime prevention techniques and provided adequate tools.
· Citizen and Police liaison committees will be set up at all levels.
· Pakistan Penal Code, Law of Evidence, and the Criminal Procedures Code shall be revised to bring them in line with the present day requirements of the society.
The concept of freedom and democracy is inseparable from the rule of law. In Pakistan many political and social problems have remained unresolved because we as a nation have not been able to establish the rule of law. PML(N) will endeavor to lay down solid foundations for the rule of law through the following specific measures:
· The appointment of the governors, services chiefs and the CJCSC shall be made by the chief executive who is the prime minister, as per the 1973 Constitution.
· No judge shall take oath under any Provisional Constitutional Order or any other oath that is contradictory to the exact language of the original oath prescribed in the Constitution of 1973.
· Administrative mechanisms will be instituted for the prevention of misconduct, implementation of code of ethics, and removal of judges on such charges brought to its attention by any citizen. All special courts including anti-terrorism and accountability courts shall be abolished and such cases tried in ordinary courts.
· A Federal Constitutional Court will be set up to resolve constitutional issues, giving equal representation to each of the federating units, whose members may be judges or persons qualified to be judges of the Supreme Court, constituted for a six year period. The appointment of judges shall be made in the same manner as for judges of higher judiciary. The Supreme and High Courts will hear regular civil and criminal cases.
· The ban on a 'prime minister not being eligible for a third term of office' will be removed.
· A Commission shall also examine and identify the causes of and fix responsibility for the Kargil crisis of 1999.
· The press and electronic media will be allowed its independence. Access to information laws will be further improved.
· The chairman of public accounts committee in the national and provincial assemblies would be appointed in consultation with the leaders of the opposition in the respective assemblies.
4. Good Governance
The crisis of governance in Pakistan is extensive. We have to revitalize the Pakistani society, as envisaged by the founding fathers, so that it successfully integrates itself with the international community; a society in which there is mutual respect, protection of the rights of women, minorities and under-privileged.
Governance in Pakistan is almost in a state of collapse. The performance of bureaucracy at various tiers of the government is ineffective and inefficient (corruption notwithstanding) mainly on account of inappropriate and whimsical appointments, postings and promotions to various assignments. Immediate measures are required to correct the situation, restore the confidence of the bureaucracy and to ensure that they work with complete commitment. This will require elimination of the dead wood, de-politicization and encouragement to the qualified and competent.
It has been claimed that the plan for devolution of power to local bodies has been carried out to empower the impoverished and strengthen the local governments. But actually it has undercut mainstream political parties, left widespread corruption unchecked and shifted power away from the provinces as a means to bolster military rule. What is required to develop institutions that will promote a democratic culture and provide moderate political forces an opportunity to serve the nation?
The key to good governance in Pakistan lies in the separation of powers: the legislature should legislate, the executive should execute laws and policies and the judiciary should interpret the constitution and laws. Such a system cannot tolerate the overbearing presence of the military with its uncontrolled access to the power and resource base of the nation.
With this paramount objective in view PML(N) will set up a high level Commission to look at the entire governance structure including the devolution/decentralization process and to suggest amendments in laws that recognize the ground realities in each province and are also suited to the needs of the people.
Good Governance is a cross cutting theme and must apply to all institutions that form part of the Government. There cannot be any exception to this rule. It is imperative, therefore, to select/appoint people of integrity to head all government institutions. PML(N) will take following specific measures in this regard:
· In order to depoliticize bureaucracy, government servants shall be given security of service through constitutional amendments.
· All discretionary power at all levels will be withdrawn and all government decisions will be governed by law and merit.
· The records of courts, land revenue and police stations will be computerized. These institutions will be provided with all necessary wherewithal and training so that they function effectively and efficiently to meet the requirements of the citizens at the grass root level without sifarsih and rishwat.
· Kalashinkov culture, drug trafficking and smuggling shall be eliminated through a systematic and effective reform programme.
· Reforming the system of administration to ensure that merit prevails over contacts and there are generous rewards for efficiency and honesty.
5. Corruption and Accountability
The evil of corruption has increased in the past 8 years and Pakistan now ranks among the seventh most corrupt country in the world. Corruption not only destroys the confidence of the people in the system of governance, but is responsible for many other social and economic evils in the country.
PML(N) will give top priority to the objective of eliminating corruption from all segments of the society. For this purpose:
- The National Accountability Bureau will be revamped. It will not be an organization to be used (misused) by the government for victimizing its opponents. Military and judiciary will not be excluded from its purview.
- The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will be replaced with an independent accountability commission, whose chairman shall be nominated by the prime minister in consultation with the leader of opposition and confirmed by a join parliamentary committee with 50 percent members from treasury benches and remaining 50 percent from opposition parties.
- Prescribing the criteria of integrity as a basic qualification for all senior appointments and strict observance of the process of accountability at all levels without any discrimination on the basis of rank or seniority.
- District Ombudsmen offices shall be set up in all districts to provide relief to other common man against injustice and bribery.
- The administrative system will be further streamlined to reduce discretion and misuse of power.
6. Civil Military Relations
The crux of Pakistan's failure in developing sustainable democracy lies in the repeated interference of military leadership in the political affairs of the country, which has destabilized the country to a point that further continuation of this pattern has become a serious threat to the Federation. We lost East Pakistan on this account, and voices of dissent from smaller provinces are once again emerging. PML(N) feels it is about time that military, which is a prestigious national institution, resumes a pure professional role as in other democratic countries.
Keeping in view the principles enunciated in the Charter of Democracy, PML(N) will give priority to inter-alia the following:
- National Security Council will be abolished. The Defense Committee of the Cabinet will be reconstituted as the Cabinet Committee on Defense and National Security and will be chaired by the prime minister. It will have a permanent secretariat under a national security adviser to the prime minister. The efficacy of the higher defense and security structure, created two decades ago, will be reviewed. The Joint Services Command structure will be strengthened and made more effective.
- Military's honour and respect as a professional and not a political institution shall be restored. Highest professional standards in the armed forces shall be maintained.
- The defense budget will be brought within the purview of the National Assembly for approval.
7. Tolerant and Pluralistic Society
Prolonged periods of military rule in Pakistan have also led to increased polarization along provincial, religions, ethnic and political lines. The law and order situation in all parts of Pakistan is not only threatened by extremism but also by large scale insurgency as a reaction to the policy of using force in the tribal belt and in Baluchistan, without adequate political support from all the stakeholders. There is growing alienation among the smaller provinces and between the urban and rural areas. This growing polarization has shaken the very foundations of the Federation. PML(N) will strive to arrest this trend and intensify efforts to create a more tolerant and pluralistic society through the following measures:
· Supremacy of the Constitution and Parliament shall be restored through making parliamentary institutions effective, accountable, and responsive to the people.
· A new political order shall be enforced in consultation with the opposition, whose guiding principles shall be the following:
- The 1973 Constitution as on 12 October 1999 before the military coup shall be restored with the provisions of joint electorates, minorities, and women reserved seats.
- The Legal Framework Order, 2000 and the Seventeenth Constitutional Amendment shall be repealed.
- The Concurrent List in the Constitution will be abolished or drastically curtailed. A new NFC award by consensus will be announced regularly at 5 yearly intervals and the principle of provincial autonomy fully respected.
- The reserved seats for women in the national and provincial assemblies will be allocated to the parties on the basis of the number of votes polled in the general elections by each party.
- The strength of the Senate of Pakistan shall be increased to give representation to minorities in the Senate, and senate seats will be allocated to parties in proportion to total votes secured by them in most recent provincial elections on the basis of lists of candidates filed along with the nomination papers for general elections.
- FATA shall be brought into the mainstream of the country's political, economic and cultural life.
- Northern Areas shall be developed by giving it a special status and further empowering the Northern Areas Legislative Council to provide people of Northern Areas access to justice and human rights.
- Local body's elections will be held on party basis through provincial election commissions in the respective provinces and constitutional protection will be given to the local bodies to make them autonomous and answerable to their respective assemblies as well as to the people through regular courts of law.
- A Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be established to acknowledge victims of torture, imprisonment, state-sponsored persecution, targeted legislation, and politically motivated accountability. The Commission will also examine and report its findings on military coups and illegal removal of governments in the past two decades.
- Ensuring mutual respect and tolerance for a pluralistic society, and the constitutional right of all citizens to profess and practice their religion and develop their cultures.
- Promoting good governance on the basis of principles of equality and social justice.
- Simplicity shall be enforced at all levels of the state machinery and VIP culture shall be eliminated.
- The size of national and provincial cabinets shall be curtailed and the number of Ministers and Ministers of State will not exceed a certain percentage of seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies.
8. Extremism and Terrorism
Extremism and its dreadful manifestation in the form of terrorism and suicide bombing, is a very complex phenomena whose nature must be clearly understood. It is a lethal combination of traditional nationalism rising against foreign occupation or foreign domination, a mindset that believes in Islamic revival through force and coercion and belatedly the symbolic manifestation of a new class war against local, regional and global elites.
The number of people with an extremist mindset in Pakistan is very small, but there is a much larger number of people, especially in NWFP and the Tribal areas, who regard the war on terror as a campaign against Islam. The use of force is and will remain necessary against foreign and local terrorists who take innocent lives and also to prevent infiltration across the Pakistan border, but it is even more important to win the hearts and minds of people who support them, through a concerted process of political engagement.
PML(N) is committed to pursue this dual track approach and take resolute steps to eradicate the menace of extremism and terrorism which is also becoming a serious threat to life and property in Pakistan.
During its previous tenure from 1997 to 1999, the PML(N) government took a series of measures to control terrorist group and counter their activities. It also supported the efforts of the international community to deal with this threat to peace and stability. In keeping with this policy PML(N) will intensify these efforts by:
- Strengthening the capacity of law enforcing agencies to detect and control terrorist groups and their supporters;
- Influencing the groups which directly or indirectly support terrorism, through political intermediaries and civil society organizations to adhere to basic Islamic principles of peace, moderation and justice.
- Promoting the rule of law, tolerance and mutual respect in the country to overcome the sense of desperation which pushes certain segments of society towards extremism.
- Taking steps to mainstream the tribal areas into the political, economic and cultural activities of the country and accelerating the pace of economic and social development in these areas.
- Intensify diplomatic efforts to deal with the underlying causes like Kashmir and Palestine.
With knowledge becoming the key driver of economic and social progress in future, education must become number one national priority. Education is also the greatest single equalizer of society and mass education can help to solve most of our problems. An educated, technological advanced and progressive society is the aspiration of all the people of Pakistan. During its previous tenure, the PML(N) government took several important initiatives in this sector. These will be supplemented by the following policiesonal programme. To ensure decisive movement towards this vital objective, PML(N) will take the following steps:
§ Ensure that education in all public sector institutions upto higher secondary will be free of cost. The system will work through provision of transferable voucher scheme to encourage competition in the public sector educational institutions.
§ Achieve 100% enrollment in middle school education by 2012, 100% enrollment in secondary education (Matric) by 2015; and 80% enrollment in higher secondary education (Intermediate) by 2020.
§ Guarantee that all students who get first division in both Matric and Intermediate examinations are ensured of a place in a public sector college in their tehsil/taluka/sub-division. This target will be achieved by 2010.
§ A National Education Corps will be set up to employ all graduates without jobs and they will be employed in literacy and adult education programmes with the objective of achieving 100% adult literacy by 2010, 100% adult education up to middle level by 2015, and 100% adult education up to Matric by 2020.
§ The Federal Government will fund 50% of the public sector education program up to higher secondary level through grants to provinces and 100% of all public sector universities and higher education institutions through grants. The Federal Government will also fund the National Education Corp.
§ Provide maximum facilities for science education and vocational training for all middle and high school students.
§ Provide fiscal and other incentives for private investment in education.
§ Pay special attention to the development of libraries at national, provincial and district levels.
§ Promote several centers for professional excellence in various scientific disciplines by providing highly qualified teachers, generous scholarships for training abroad, and liberal grants to science laboratories.
PML(N) resolves to implement the National Education Policy 2010 to break the monopoly of elitist education system and to create equal education opportunities for all by reviving delivery of quality education in the public sector. A participatory approach will be adopted to achieve key targets through public private partnerships. Strategies shall be made to optimally harness and utilize the existing education facilities by improving governance, efficiency, monitoring, and effectiveness.
To improve the quality of education for the poor, Education Foundations will be set up in each Province and eventually at the district level to take over and manage education facilities through high level professionals. As described in the section on Employment, they will be received grants on per student basis.
National curricula will be standardized and adopted at all levels to eliminate multi-class system based education in the country. Sharp focus will be put on academic content in science and mathematics. Curricula will be enriched by putting more emphasis on acquisition of practical skills, along with theoretical perception, and environmental education.
Teaching profession will be made more attractive by grant of higher salaries to teachers who possess qualifications higher than the prescribed level. Additional increments for better performers and best teacher awards shall be introduced at all levels of education. National medals and awards will be given to nation's best teachers every year. Principals/Heads of educational institutions/teachers will be given special status in local areas. Female teachers will be posted as close to their homes as possible.
Ethics and values based curriculum and teaching systems with a focus on character building to develop honesty, perseverance, tolerance, discipline, wisdom, innovation, respect, and team play, as enshrined in Islam, will be introduced at all levels. The teaching of Quran with translation will be compulsory for all Muslim students in secondary schools.
Without a healthy nation, there can be neither development nor progress. Pakistan has lagged behind other developing countries in terms of its social development. In the last ten years, due to Social Action Program, initiated by
PML-N government in 1992, there has been considerable progress in improving the social indicators and controlling the population growth rate as it mandated the provincial governments to make significant allocations for the social sectors, despite the financial problems they faced.
PML-N remains committed to social sector development and will inter-alia pursue the policy of providing quality health care to all citizens in all parts of the country through the following specific measures:
- Main Teaching Hospitals both in the Federal Capital and Provincial headquarters will be modernized and equipped with the state of the art medical equipment and facilities especially in the field of Cardiovascular surgery, Cancer, Organs transplant, Brain surgery and Burn and Dialysis units, so that people do not have to seek expensive medical treatment abroad.
- Production of quality generic medicines will be encouraged to provide cheaper medicines to the common man.
- Cardiac clinics and facilities shall be extended to district level hospitals, and institutes will be provided more advanced technology and modern equipment. Incentives will be provided to Cardiac clinics and institutes in the private sector.
- To provide better services and coverage, District and Tehsil Hospitals will be improved and upgraded by appointing DHOs on merit basis, and providing sufficient financial and administrative powers and better living facilities.
- All out efforts will be made to provide clean drinking water and basic hygiene facilities to the rural population.
- AIDS is an incurable, fatal but preventable disease. A national campaign will be launched to make people aware about its prevention and dangerous consequences.
- Effective measures to control Hepatitis, which has become a serious health problem in Pakistan, will be taken and coverage against Hepatitis B extended to at least two third of the population.
- A new anti TB program, DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course), against Tuberculosis will be implemented to control Tuberculosis. Massive vaccination against Poliomyelitis, Neonatal tetanus, Malaria and a cluster of childhood diseases will be carried out, and immunization coverage will be increased to 75-80%.
- Homeopathy and Tibb will be promoted after they meet the criteria of desired standards for medical education by making amendments in the law.
- Senior citizens will be provided special health care facilities like eye glasses, hospitalization and treatment at favourable fee rates, and pharmacies will be instructed to provide medicines at discounted prices. Free medical care will be provided to deserving patients.
- Free medical care will be provided to poor and deserving patients through Zakat fund assistance ear-marked for health care.
- Special health education centers shall be opened in all districts.
11. Science & Technology
A modern S&T infrastructure will be put in place including:
· PhD scholarships in local universities and world's top universities in areas of priority for human resource development.
· Reorienting S&T infrastructure towards economic needs of Pakistan for creating sustainable competitive advantage in exports.
· Strengthening the S&T organizations by providing research grants and competent management.
· Developing competencies in the future technologies.
· Strengthening Quality and Productivity infrastructure in the country through launching a national campaign in partnership with the private sector.
· Promoting indigenous solutions and applied technology for solving our economic and technical problems.
· Offering incentives to outstanding Pakistani scientists and engineers to return to Pakistan and contribute to national development.
· Promoting local talent and manpower in consultancies.
· Giving role to professional bodies in national policy and decision-making.
12. Reducing Poverty
Poverty in Pakistan has assumed alarming proportion. Despite government's claims that it has reduced poverty, at least 50 million people are still living in abject poverty, without adequate food, clothing, education or shelter. The pattern of growth adopted by the present government is pro-rich and the benefit of the higher rates of economic growth achieved as a result of larger external flows after the events of September 11, 2001, have accrued largely to higher income groups and have hardly touched the bottom one third of the country's population particularly those living in rural areas. Report by the international financial institutions have confirmed that increasing inequality has overshadowed poverty reduction, as income distribution has largely benefited the urban population while adversely affecting the rural inhabitants.
PML(N) will evolve a comprehensive package of pro-poor policies, institutions and programmes. The overall approach on which this package is based is holistic and its different elements are mutually reinforcing:
- The processes through which causes and solutions of the poverty problem are explored must involve the poor themselves. A participatory poverty assessment programme will then generate the awareness and the energy for participatory solutions. Most poor people, if asked, will point to the inadequacy of the justice system, harassment by police, discrimination by powerful individuals or groups in the locality, lack of water and other essential services and absence of dependable means of livelihood. These problems facing the poor cannot be resolved unless and until we develop the human capital of the poor through education and training, social capital of the poor through formal and informal institutions and political capital of the poor through inclusion in decision making at different levels.
- The basic foundation of a pro-poor policy framework is to recognize and operationalize the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution by ensuring equal rights under the law, universal access for all citizens to public services, and equitable access to economic opportunities. These rights can be safeguarded only under a genuine democratic dispensation.
- The process of mainstreaming the poor, as opposed to helping them at the margin through micro credit or different employment promotion schemes, will require a series of institutional innovations that can bring together the poor as the main beneficiaries with support from professional managers.
- In this context PML(N) will set up Education Foundations for the poor in each province. The foundations managed by qualified professionals will take over existing under utilized public school buildings or build new schools exclusively for the poor. The Provincial Government will give them annual grants on per student basis. These provincial foundations will gradually set up district education foundations. The foundations may receive additional funding from local and international donors.
- Similar foundations can be set up in the health sector at the provincial and district level to manage basic health units and rural health centers and expand these facilities for the benefit of the poor. The Foundation can provide quality health services by using electronic services.
- These institutional mechanisms for mainstreaming the poor will also be extended to investment and income earning opportunities by creating manufacturing and service enterprises which are owned by the poor but run by the professional managers. The poor will be given bank loans to buy equity in these enterprises and pay back the loans through dividends earned by the enterprise.
- Similar mechanisms will be establishment in other sectors, like land development, and agro services. Reclaimed land or state land brought under cultivation through irrigation schemes will be allotted primarily to poor and landless households, and Land Development Corporations established in different districts with majority equity holdings for the poor, contributed in kind or in cash through bank loans. In urban areas, these corporations will establish housing schemes for low income families.
- These foundations for the poor will play a major role in scaling up the micro credit operations in the country by improving access and ensure effective utilization and timely repayment.
- In addition PML(N) will maintain reasonable food prices throughout the year in all parts of the country and protect wages in real terms for urban and rural areas.
A major aim of the socio-economic policies of PML(N) will be to expand employment opportunities in order to reduce poverty and at the same time ensure a fuller utilization of the country's human resources for productive purposes, through the following programmes:
· A National Manpower Plan will be prepared to match the demand and supply of manpower and to provide a basis for periodical adjustments in the programmes of education and training.
· New employment opportunities will be provided to over three million persons in the public and private sectors.
· A programme of vigorous industrialization and small and medium enterprises will be undertaken in the urban and rural areas to absorb unemployed labour.
· Maximum emphasis will be placed on the programmes of rural development to provide gainful opportunities for income and employment within the rural areas and prevent the tendency of migration from urban to rural areas.
· The taxation system will be modified to encourage rapid growth in investment, particularly in employment intensive activities.
· A National Employment Fund will be created to assist qualified and skilled youth to set up their own business or professional practice. Self employment on individual or cooperative basis will be given maximum support.
· A National Education Corps will be recruited from among the educated unemployed to spread literacy in the country.
· Employment opportunities for qualified doctors will be provided by constructing more hospitals; extending soft term, easy installment loans on personal surety to doctors to establish them in private practice; and giving tax concessions for establishment and expansion of private hospitals.
· A comprehensive programme will be implemented for the full absorption of engineers, scientist and other skilled manpower, including a new National Consultancy Policy for the use of national consultants, strengthening and expansion of existing scientific institutions, creation of new institutes for modern technologies and making it obligatory for the private industrialists to hire adequate expertise in their respective fields.
· A programme for the development of technical skills to produce technically trained and employable manpower will be implemented. For this purpose the intake of polytechnics and vocational schools. Initially this can be achieved by introducing double shift in existing institutions.
· Para medical training institutions for females will be attached to each district and tehsil hospital and facilities for the training of female teachers will be expanded in all districts to meet the large demand for these personnel, particularly in rural areas.
14. Controlling Inflation
Inflation has become one of the most serious problems for the common man, since the prices of most essential items have gone up from 80 to 150 percent in the past 8 years. This is partly the result of a liquidity driven and consumption based growth strategy under which the unprecedented inflow of external resources after 9/11 has gone into real estate, the stock market and large scale consumer financing by the Banks. At the same time, the relative neglect of agriculture, created serious shortages of different commodities at different times in the country, and did not allow adequate supply response to the growing demand created by excess liquidity.
PML(N) will tackle this back-breaking problem through a multi pronged strategy by:
- Giving top priority to the agriculture sector and within agriculture to high value and minor crops, like fruits, vegetables, pulses, vegetable oil and spices.
- Improving the post harvest, marketing storage and transport systems for these crops to reduce crop losses and ensure reasonable prices in different parts of the country.
- Expanding processing facilities for high value crops to even out seasonal fluctuations in prices.
- PML(N) will pay special attention to food prices, which have more than doubled in the past 8 years to ensure that items like wheat, rice, sugar and edible oils are available to the common man at reasonable prices.
- PML(N) will also adopt a pro-poor and inclusive growth strategy to increase the incomes of poor people by diverting resources from the consumption to investment through appropriate fiscal and other policies.
15. Agricultural and Rural Development
Pakistan Muslim League (N) believes that prosperous agriculture is the real basis of national prosperity and diversification of the rural economy by expanding non farm rural employment is critical for the alleviation of poverty. To accelerate the pace of agricultural and rural development, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) shall:
· Turn agriculture into a fully viable economic industry by changing the policy framework and terms of trade in favour of agriculture.
· Focus on the small farmers as the real back bone of the rural economy and assure his access to knowledge, inputs and markets. Development of the livestock sector will be given high priority.
· Revitalize the cooperative movement to meet the real needs of the rural population by setting up agri service corporations with majority equity of the poor and managed by professional managers.
· Reform the agricultural credit system to ensure that at least 50% of the total is provided to the small farmers and land owners are able to obtain credit on the basis of the market value of the land rather than outdated produce index units.
· Move rapidly towards national self-sufficiency in oil seeds.
· Convert Pakistan into a large net exporter of food and high-value crops and remove restrictions on agricultural exports.
· Building consensus on the basis of the 1991 Water Accord on the distribution of Indus System to allow new water projects to be undertaken and extension of irrigation facilities to additional areas.
· Ensure full utilization of available water resources by expanding the on-farm water management programme.
· Initiate schemes for crop insurance through private insurance companies to protect the farmer against the vagaries of weather.
· Encourage ecologically sound development policies to preserve and develop the country's natural and forest resources to counteract the impact of global warming.
· Provide incentives for farmers to adopt social forestry on a commercial scale rather than depend on restrictive laws for this purpose particularly in border areas.
· Expand the programme to fight the cancer of water-logging and salinity.
· A major programme of aquifer recharge in arid and semi arid areas of Cholistan, Thar and Balochistan to ensure that water flow from tubewells installed in these areas can be sustained.
· Immediate updating of the revenue and property records using Information Technology will be undertaken. Based on the information so generated 'benamis' can be done away with property rights of female members protected and access to credit by the poor assured.
· Policy shift in agriculture from commodity based agriculture to product based agriculture. As an example 22 products can be produced from corn.
· All agricultural research organizations will be completely revamped to ensure that the benefits of research actually reach the farmers.
· Agricultural education in general and curriculum of agriculture universities in particular will be modernized.
· Mafias and monopolies in case of major agriculture products will be done away with by putting in place appropriate agricultural marketing strategies.
Under its land reform programme, PML(N) will reclaim and irrigate additional land for allotment to landless haris and tenants. It will also undertake a land consolidation programme to create viable units for modern agriculture.
16. Industrial Development
The manufacturing sector in Pakistan is in a state of crisis because of rising costs of utilities and credit and low labour productivity. Its industrial structure is stuck in low value sectors and its ability to complete is shrinking. The survival of any nation in today's world depends upon its ability to absorb the technological progress of this age and improve its competitive edge. Planned industrial development along with sustained progress in agriculture must be the two important pillars of our economic policy.
To transform Pakistan rapidly into a modern, industrial society the Pakistan Muslim League (N) will extend in addition to existing tax holiday facilities a complete tax holiday to all new industries for the first three years after they go into production, to promote a major explosion in industrial investment and employment.
Industrial growth is essentially linked with the development of infrastructure facilities. We pledge to introduce immediate measures to remove existing imbalances by adopting the following specific measures:
· Provide the full energy needs of an expanding industrial sector through maximum exploitation of domestic sources of energy namely coal, gas and hydro to reduce the country's dependence on imported energy, combined with measure for the conservation of energy and more efficient use of energy.
· Provide improved means of communications including telecommunications and port facilities to meet the growing needs of our industry.
· Improve the transportation systems in major industrial zones and urban centers and complete the network of motorways initiated by the PML(N) government in the 1990's.
· Chambers of Commerce and Industry will be encouraged to develop industrial zones in suitable locations with access to as for electricity generation.
· Industrial estates, equipped with electricity, gas, telephone, and sewerage will be developed, especially in backward areas and along the motorways, for the convenience of domestic and overseas investors. Efforts will be made to put in place standard factory buildings ready for occupation, without any waiting period. Multinational companies with expertise in the field will be invited to develop infrastructure facilities in collaboration with local companies.
· Streamline the procedure for industrial sanctions and other facilities required in line with the principle of "one window facility".
· Improve the system of industrial credit and enable land owners to borrow funds on the basis of the market value of agricultural land and rural property.
In Islam, women enjoy place of honor and dignity that is unparallel in history. The talents of both men and women are acknowledged equally in Islam. It is for the same reason that acquiring knowledge has been ordained for both equally. PML-N shall:
- Ensure respect, dignity, and protection granted by Islam to women.
- Promote participation of women in national development and their social, political and economic empowerment.
- Give preference to women teachers in primary education.
- Promote female education and health care programs to overcome gender gaps.
- Effective representation of women in all key policy/decision making bodies shall be ensured.
- Special legislation on violence against women and child abuse shall be enacted.
- Micro credit for female borrowers will be expanded substantially as a part of the process of their empowerment.
Youth is Pakistan's future. More than 52 percent of our population is less than 19 years of age. PML-N believes that it is the youth, which can change the destiny of the nation.
- Youth training program shall be started to create 100,000 positions for apprenticeship in trade and industry. These opportunities shall be created in collaboration with the private sector.
- Self-employment loans shall be extended to those who complete training/apprenticeship.
- Inter-province visits of youth shall be organized.
- Youth shall be provided special sports facilities in all educational institutions.
- Anti-addiction campaign shall be launched to stop youth from drugs abuse.
No economy can prosper without fair and equitable treatment of its work force. PML-N developed a Labour friendly policy during its earlier tenure. It shall pay special attention to the following measures:
- Safety at work and proper compensation for industrial injuries shall be legislated.
- Total prohibition of child labour through effective monitoring and strict enforcement of law shall be ensured.
- Laws against bonded labour and unpaid labour shall be strengthened and effectively enforced.
- Quality of labour force shall be improved through technical training and apprenticeship.
- Parks / community centers shall be developed near labour colonies.
- Incentives shall be given to employers for offering scholarships for the talented children of workers.
- The minimum wage for workers will be enhanced to Rs.5000 per month and the role of collective bargaining agents will be made more effective keeping in view the relevant ILO Conventions.
Minorities are an integral part of our nation as announced by the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. An Islamic society is obliged to protect the social, religious, and economic interests of minorities. PML-N shall steadfastly guard these interests and ensure their absolute and fundamental rights of freedom, security, equal opportunity, and equality before law.
- A commission shall be set up to look into complaints of religious discrimination.
- Scholarships for higher education shall be offered for talented children of minorities from low income families.
- Minorities shall be integrated in the mainstream of national development through active participation at different levels.
21. National Security and Foreign Policy
The independence and sovereignty of the country and the freedom of its people will always be the supreme guiding principle in the conduct of the country's foreign policy. It will, therefore, be formulated and executed in a manner to strengthen the country's sovereignty as well as to ensure the well-being of its citizens.
To this end, the highest priority would be accorded to strengthening the nation's defenses, while promoting peace and stability in the country and the region.
Pakistan succeeded in acquiring nuclear and missile capability in the teeth of stiff opposition from outside powers. This is a trust of the people of Pakistan and we remain committed to preserve, protect and enhance it. No proposal or initiative would ever be considered if it compromises, weakens, reduces or diminishes this capability.
While actively supporting all UN and global initiatives for curbing the menace of international terrorism, Pakistan must seek to promote a just and fair international political and economic order, based on the Charter of the United Nations UN and the principles of peaceful co-existence.
Every effort would be made to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN resolutions and in consonance with the aspirations of the people of the territory for their inherent right of self determination.
A peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues with India, in a spirit of fairness and equity would be accorded special priority by the Party.
Unity and solidarity amongst the member states of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) would be promoted and efforts made to strengthen the effectiveness and credibility of the organization. Special attention will be accorded to strengthening relations with the brotherly Islamic states, given our historic commitment to promoting fraternal relations with them.
China has been a time tested friend of Pakistan. Every effort would be made to strengthen and enhance this relationship, so as to make it truly strategic, by imparting greater substance and depth to it.
The proposed Cabinet Committee on Defense and National Security will be fully utilized to establish political and civilian control over foreign policy. The foreign policy will be re-oriented in such a manner that there is greater commercial and economic content in our ties with friendly powers.
As a developing, non-aligned country, Pakistan's foreign policy shall endeavor to strengthen its relations, particularly in the economic sector, with other developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Special measure would be taken to promote the global trading regimes, with emphasis on protecting the interests and requirements of developing countries.
22. Our Vision for the Future
Pakistan today stands at a cross road. The beginning of twenty first century marks a new landmark in the history of human civilization. If we act together, a new history can be written. It is time to look forward and harness the nation's positive energies. The Pakistan Muslim League (N) will seek national reconciliation, national dialogue, and national consensus on the future agenda for Pakistan. PML(N) believes that besides politicians, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, businessmen, media, professionals, ulema, farmers, workers, youth, women, and civil society are stake holders of Pakistan's future. PML(N) possesses both the experience and competence to steer the country towards economic prosperity. It will seek broad based consultation and participation of all sectors of society in implementing its vision for creating a society with democratic institutions, the rule of law and prosperity for all, regardless of gender, religion, region, or language. This is our "Pledge with the Nation".
The Manifesto Committee
The Policy Planning Committee (Think Tank) of PML(N) served as the Manifesto Committee for the preparation of this Manifesto:
1. Mr. Sartaj Aziz Chairman
2. Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Member
3. Senator Mehtab Ahmad Khan Member
4. Senator Sadia Abbasi Member
5. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, MNA Member
6. Mr. Parvez Malik, MNA Member
7. Rana Tanwir Hussain Member
8. Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan Member
9. Sultan Ali Chaudhry Member
10. Khawaja Qutbuddin Member
11. Mr. Siddiqueul Farooque Member
12. Mr. A.Z.K. Sherdil Member
13. Mr. Saeed Mehdi Member
14. Mr. Tariq Fatemi Member
15. Mr. Farogh Naveed Member
16. Mr. Ghafoor Mirza Member/Secretary