Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while underscoring the dire need of all state institutions functioning within the ambits of the constitution during his election campaign also expressed his annoyance over the grapevine of making the “King’s Party”. Such misdemeanor may surely roil politics in the country at the expense of the free and fair elections. People must be allowed to make their choice freely and without any interference. The Election Commission of Pakistan may also not seek redemption in invisibility because inaction may not be a worthwhile proposition when the question of undertaking of the constitutional responsibility is at stake.
PPP Leader Farhatullah Babar and Hazil Bazenjo of the National Party have voiced concerns over alleged rigging in upcoming elections. The media is protesting against undeclared muzzling of freedom of press. If the ECP, caretaker government and the state institutions believe that the international community may endorse the elections as free and fair under these circumstances then their sense of proportion and fairness may be miserably flawed. There is an urgent need to rectify the situation.
Sadly, the emerging scenario if not stalled, may probably cause the labeling of the holding of forthcoming elections as short of accepted standards to our collective chagrin-- the least the country can afford in the face of challenges both within and without. The allegations of interference may reverberate with intensity during the coming days with degree of credibility as the elections dates get closer.
This is the time that the Election Commission of Pakistan, the caretaker government including the state institutions, may address the poisonous misgivings flying thick and high. Inaction may pave the way of perception ballooning bigger than reality with inevitable dangerous ramifications. But, the unabated deafening silence is disparagingly irritating. The all-powerful Election Commission may rectify the situation fast because any lackluster response may inflict the ultimate nightmare to the whole electoral process. The nation may not be able to bear the burden of the collateral damage.
Chairman Bilawal Bhutto made it abundantly clear to all when he categorically declared at the ceremony of the launching of the manifesto at Karachi press Club, ‘censored and manipulated democracy is not acceptable’. PPP firmly believes that democracy is the only way forward to build and progress Pakistan as per vision of the Father of the Nation and the founding father of the Party. This commitment of the Party has been highlighted in the manifesto that may remain in the forefront of its election campaign. Its indispensability is above board because two great Bhuttos sacrificed their lives for the empowerment of the poor masse of the country. The PPP and its workers will preserve the legacy of their great leaders at all cost. Today, Pakistan is heading towards second democratic transition in the country that greatly owes to the sacrifice of Shaheed Benzir Bhutto who successfully marginalized the anti-democratic forces to restore democracy in Pakistan, and thank goodness it is continuing against all odds.
Fortunately, Pakistan People’s Party is well- placed in the country’s political arena, holding the balance to suit the principled politics. It has the vision, resolve and commitment to abort pernicious tendencies against democracy. PPP indeed is the name of a relentless movement striving for the political and socio-economic upward mobility of the poor and marginalized people of Pakistan. In the present perspective, the challenge is indeed full of hazards in the face of deeply entrenched forces of status-quo, authoritarianism and extremism. However, these challenges do not scare the leaders and workers of the PPP and instead bolstered their morale to resist the anti-people forces as they are sure of the inevitability of the victory. In fact, the existence of stubborn reactionary forces provides the requisite stimulus to Party rank and file to delegitimize and dismantle the ugly pillars of exploiters who have been fleecing the poor without compunction. The Party leadership seems getting ready finally to urge the (ECP) to put its house in order without delay as voices are being raised consistently from myriad directions of wrong doings.
The Party election manifesto, 2018, also flagged the reaffirmation of the commitment to the continuation and strengthening of democracy as the highest priority. Its untiring struggle for steering the national statecraft to the desired direction in accordance with ‘BB Ka wada nibana ha Pakistan bachana hay’ (BB’s promise must be fulfilled to save Pakistan).The baton for the accomplishment of the mission has been handed over to Chairman Bilawal Bhutto who is the heir of legacies of the two Great Bhutto .He expressed his unwavering commitment during his ongoing election campaign to complete the mission of the two Shaheed Bhuttos no matter the cost. The people of the country have been responding to his call enthusiastically in his election rallies in the province of Sindh and beyond. His message is getting through among the people as was evident from their spontaneous response in the affirmation.
The PPP’s manifesto, 2018, is indeed heavily tilted in favor of the ‘voiceless, shirtless and shoeless class of society’ that had been subjected to want and deprivation due to the wrong policies of the PML (N) government widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. Totally devoid of social justice was the salient feature of the economic policies of the PML (N) government . No serious planning was undertaken by the government in favor of the poor segments of the society while the predatory elite continued to build elevations on the ruins of the god forsaken overwhelming majority. The ill-aboding continued staring in their faces.
The PPP stands committed to improve the lot of this section of the society. Its future government, according to the manifesto, will create sizeable job opportunities for the youth in particular for which Employment Bureau will be established. The Party also committed one year internship for all educated youth to provide them breathing space to find suitable job during the given period. The PPP development strategy had always been the creation of massive job opportunities and meeting the imperative of sustainable growth should go hand in hand to make win win situation for the employers and the employees. Employers and employees are indispensable to each other because without employers there can be no employees and vice versa. No other Party of the country understands better this linkage than the PPP.
Pakistan has an agriculture economy, and it is flagged as the very important segment of the PPP manifesto. Attaining the economic growth on sustainable basis may surely remain a forlorn hope without developing full spectrum of the agriculture sector. Fully understanding the importance of agriculture sector, the PPP always introduced famers’ friendly policies as part of planning and development strategy. The last PPP government led by Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani increased the wheat support price almost double leading to not only attaining self-sufficiency in the commodity produce but also surplus was available to maintain strategic reserves. It may be mentioned that earlier during General Musharraf tenure Pakistan had been importing wheat worth millions of dollars to meet domestic food requirements. One decision of the elected Prime Minister of PPP proved as the magic wand.
This time if the PPP is voted to power, plans to introduce Kissan Card that will entitle the farmers availability of subsidy on fertilizer without the bureaucratic hassle of any type. The PML (N) government’s step motherly treatment to the agriculture sector forced the farmers’ community to resort to back to back protests. The government did too little too late that too half-heartedly at the end of its tenure. The result was that the agriculture sector suffered hugely and resultant steep fall in our exports. Its snowball impact on the country’s industries especially agro-based industries was devastating. The exports during the last years of PPP government touched the staggering figures of 25 billion dollars while during PML (N) government it was 21 billion dollars resulting in trade imbalance and correspondingly hitting the foreign exchange reserves crippling the country’s capacity to meet international financial obligations.
The manifesto also underlined the importance of improving relations with neighboring countries to get the country out of the diplomatic isolation that had befallen on the country due to the obvious reasons. It may not be a bit of exaggeration to conclude that Pakistan’s standing at the international level was at the lowest ebb for which PML (N) government was responsible that did not even appoint Foreign Minister. How unfortunate that Pakistan today is known for all the wrong reasons? The placement of Pakistan in the ‘grey list’ of FATF spoke volumes of the miserable image the country carries at the world stage. The world wrongly recognizes Pakistan more as promoter of terrorism rather than of its victim notwithstanding suffering huge losses both in blood and treasure. The PPP manifesto unfolds the strategy to take bold and honest strategic initiatives based on clarity to be partner of international community in fighting out the dangers those are perceived potent threat to its peace and security.