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Monday March 04, 2024

Empowerment for all

Election manifestos of these parties solely address day-to-day issues faced by people

February 13, 2024
People walk past flags of Pakistan´s political parties displayed for sale at a market in Lahore on January 13, 2024, ahead of the general elections. — AFP
People walk past flags of Pakistan´s political parties displayed for sale at a market in Lahore on January 13, 2024, ahead of the general elections. — AFP

Now that the primary process of the 2024 election has concluded, let’s have another look at the election manifestos of major political parties.

While some parties have made promises of charitable initiatives, others rely on information gathered from the internet. However, these parties have not outlined a clear mechanism for implementing their agendas.

The election manifestos of these parties solely address the day-to-day issues faced by the people, neglecting the fundamental concept of empowering the whole population. This raises important questions: who are the people? Are they the rightful owners of the country or are they merely individuals seeking sympathy and relying on charity? What does it truly mean to empower the people, and why is it of utmost importance?

The concept that a geographical entity does not inherently constitute a country is rooted in both historical and philosophical arguments. The notion of a country or nation-state is relatively modern, emerging prominently in the 17th century with the Treaty of Westphalia, which laid the foundations for national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Before this, the concept of a country as we understand it today was not as clearly defined, with empires, kingdoms, and other political entities often overlapping geographically and culturally.

Philosophically, the idea of a country is closely tied to the presence and recognition of a community of people with a shared identity, governance, and the capacity for political self-determination. This is evident in the criteria often used to define a country, which typically includes a clear territory, a permanent population, governance, and the ability to engage in relations with other countries.

Antarctica, for example, does not meet these criteria as it does not have a permanent population or sovereign governance and thus is not considered a country despite being a distinct geographical entity.

The connection between humans and the concept of a country is further underscored by the philosophical underpinnings of human rights – the moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law.

Human rights are fundamental to the human condition, ensuring that all people have the opportunity to live with dignity and freedom. The idea that human rights begin from conception, or even before, is a recognition of the inherent value of human life and the obligations that societies have to protect and nurture this life from its earliest stages.

Fundamental rights, as enshrined in a country’s constitution, are a subset of human rights that are legally recognized and protected within the jurisdiction of that country. These rights are specific to the citizens of a particular country and are enforceable under the law of the land, whereas human rights have a broader, more universal application, recognized and upheld by international bodies such as the UN.

Now, the pressing question arises: who will empower the people and ensure the enforcement of basic human rights and fundamental rights as outlined in the constitution? The answer lies within the government, as it bears the responsibility and serves as the primary entity tasked with this important function.

However, we must delve deeper into the second question: how should the government fulfil its duty? To comprehend this inquiry fully, it is crucial to explore the intricate relationship between human beings and technology.

The relationship between technology and human civilization is deeply intertwined and has been a fundamental aspect of human evolution and societal development. From the earliest use of stone tools to the creation of the world wide web, technology has been a driving force in shaping human societies, economies and cultures.

Humans have been technologists from the beginning, innovating and consciously modifying their environment in ways no other species has. The history of technology is essentially the history of human development, from the Stone Age to the Information Age.

This evolution of technology has not only enabled humans to adapt and thrive in various environments but has also been pivotal in the development of civilizations. The transition from nomadic lifestyles to settled agricultural societies was largely facilitated by technological advancements in farming and the domestication of animals.

The development of skills has been crucial in maximizing the benefits of technological advancements. Skill development contributes to economic growth by enhancing employability and labour productivity and fostering innovation

However, the Industrial Revolution also demonstrated that access to technology and the benefits of technological advancements were not evenly distributed and were limited by social systems based on inequality. This pattern persisted until the advent of the world wide web, which democratized access to information, knowledge, research, innovation, and development (IKRID), breaking down barriers that previously confined these resources to a few developed countries.

The primary responsibility of governments, elected by the populace to serve their interests, is to act as stewards of communal resources. This entails recognizing and fostering the pivotal relationship between humans, technology, and skill development – a nexus of critical importance.

Historically, this interconnection has been the engine of human civilization’s creation and evolution. Presently, it holds the potential to propel society into its next phase of advancement. In this endeavour, governments should embrace digitization and digitalization, ensuring their processes are transparent and fully accessible. This approach not only enhances transparency, accountability, and efficiency but also significantly mitigates corruption. By doing so, the government can judiciously allocate resources, generated by the workforce including entrepreneurs, to fortify the symbiosis between human civilization, technological progress, and skill enhancement.

The advancement of generative artificial intelligence in this era encompasses digitization and digitalization as one facet. Additionally, proactive disclosure and widespread dissemination of information by all government offices form another facet.

It involves offering high-tech education and skill development through cutting-edge technologies that have the capacity to reach children and individuals of working age anytime and anywhere.

This approach will assist us in overcoming the persistent crisis, transforming and revitalizing our economy to achieve self-sufficiency and attaining a respected position within the international community of nations.


The writer is an advocate of the high court and a former civil servant.