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May 21, 2018

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PTI unveils 100-day plan

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday indicated it would take tough decisions within the first 100 days of its government if it came to power following the upcoming general elections.

The agenda was made public here at a local hotel, where a large number of party leaders and workers gathered, besides a good number of journalists. The PTI Chairman, Imran Khan, explained that the purpose of presenting the 100-day plan was to change the decadent policies. He had presented a sketch of the agenda during his recent public meeting at the Minar-e-Pakistan. The agenda has been thrashed out by the Policy Unit of the PTI’s Election Management Cell (EMC).

The PTI chairman said that the first 100 days of the PTI government would be reflective of the party’s ideology and policies. He castigated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s policies and projects such as the motorways and said that building of motorways would not take a nation forward. He made religious references in his address and said he envisioned a Pakistan in which a leader was accountable even for the death of an animal. He said a welfare state on the model of Madina will be established.

“All policies under this 100 days agenda will look into how to make education, employment and other basic rights accessible to the common man,” Imran maintained.

The PTI chairman said temperatures in Pakistan were rising because of climate change which is a reality and that its effects can only be mitigated by planting more trees. He regretted that the party’s Billion Tree Tsunami project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was criticised by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) despite being acknowledged by international organisations.

While laying emphasis on improvements in governance and service delivery, Imran criticised the government for being in a hurry to inaugurate projects and referred to the Orange Line Metro Train in Lahore and the new Islamabad International Airport.

"Have you ever seen Mahatir Mohammad or Nelson Mandela cutting ribbons? The nation-building, not inauguration of some projects, is the real achievement,” he emphasised. He said the plan would depoliticise bureaucracy. Imran maintained that his party was not prepared for government in the 2013 elections, but it was well prepared this time. He explained that for the first time, the PTI had prepared itself for elections as desired, while previously, they were busy in conducting the intra-party polls.

Talking to the media, Shahzad Arbab, head of the EMC, said: “Pakistan is at a critical stage of development. We are creating this 100 days agenda so that it will set the course of direction for Pakistan for the next five years.”

While focusing on the agenda, Imran Khan gave three key messages. His first message was to explain to the audience the purpose of coming up with a 100-day agenda. After decades ofmisrule, he said, Pakistan needed a reset in how it was governed. He said it was best done in the first 100 days of a new government, because this is when voters would allow and want you to take the most difficult decisions. He was hopeful that after 100 days, enough would have been done to change the direction of progress of the country.

In his second message, Imran also spoke about a number of key differences between a PTI administration and that of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the PML-N. Most importantly, the commitment that the PTI had to instituting merit in organisations was unique -- in particular in the bureaucracy, which is the delivery engine of government. Imran claimed that the PTI had proven this by depoliticising the police in KP, through its system of local government, and through the merit-based recruitment of teachers in schools.

He spoke about how PTI was better equipped to fix the economy and institutions. “We had proof that if there is trust in government, people will voluntary come into the tax net. The best example of this was how Imran himself was able to raise funding for Shaukat Khanum every year, to bridge a Rs6 billion annual deficit.”

Finally, he also spoke about bringing in investment and capability into the country, by tapping into the pool of six million overseas Pakistanis, who would both bring investment and capability into the country.

In his third major message, Imran talked about the experience and capability the PTI had gained through five years of government in KP, and how this would help his team run the country in a much better way than they could have five years ago. In five years, the PTI claims making major shifts in the police, education, health, local government, and the environment, through the billion-tree tsunami. However, the PTI had also learned about how to navigate through the resistance to reform, how to work with the bureaucracy and how to overcome resistance such as they had with the courts.

The agenda envisages six themes and each theme consists of a set of commitments that the new PTI government will start working on, and show visible progress, within the first 100 days of Imran Khan taking charge.

The six themes are as follows:

1) Transforming governance, where PTI made commitments to bringing accountability to the centre of government, depoliticising police, replicating local government reform, transforming access to justice and reforming the bureaucracy.

2) Strengthening the Federation, where the PTI made commitments to expedite the merger of Fata, create South Punjab province, put in place a Karachi development plan, rehabilitate Balochistan and put in place a special poverty alleviation programme from the poorest districts in each province.

3) Revitalising economic growth, where the PTI made commitments to create 10 million jobs, revive manufacturing, rapidly grow SME sector, facilitate the private sector to build five million houses, boost tourism, reform the tax administration, improve Pakistan’s doing business rankings to top 100, transform state-owned-enterprises, fix Pakistan’s energy challenge, make CPEC a game changer and enhance access to finance.

4) Uplifting agriculture and conserving water, where the PTI made commitments to impose an agriculture emergency to increase farmer profitability, improve access to finance for farmers, transform agriculture produce markets, value-addition incentives, revamp livestock sector and upgrade and implement the national water policy.

5) Revolutionising social services, including transforming education and health, putting in place a development programme for women, expanding the social safety net, providing clean drinking water and initiating a 10 billion tree tsunami.

6) Ensuring Pakistan’s national security, where the PTI made commitments to update and expand institutional structure of Foreign Ministry, increase Pakistan’s regional and global relevance, leverage on foreign policy to strengthen the economy, form a national security organisation and enhance internal security.

Senior party leaders explained various facets of the party policies. PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke mainly on regional disparities and presented the plan for the merger of Fata with KP, a political reconciliation process for Balochistan as well as for the creation of South Punjab province on administrative grounds.

Qureshi said that this would involve giving greater authority to the provincial government in Balochistan and making development projects in the province more inclusive of the local population. He contended that a federal plan would be introduced to improve civic amenities and the security situation in Karachi should the PTI come to power. Similarly, he said, a special plan would be created to bring the poorest of the countries districts at par with others.

Another senior party leader Asad Umar outlined how the economic growth would be revitalised. In this context, he highlighted the proposed agenda, which includes provision of jobs to youth and promotion of tourism.

He said that a policy to create 10 million jobs within five years would be formulated which would focus on provision of skills to youth. He said the party would promote the manufacturing industry and pave the way for speedy growth of small and medium-sized businesses. Asad Umar announced that the government's guest houses would be turned into hotels and made available for the public, and that four new tourist spots would be discovered within the first 100 days.

Transforming Pakistan into a business friendly country, tax reforms and construction of 5 million houses are also among the main points of the proposed 10-point economic policy. A "council of business leaders" would be created to improve Pakistan's global business standing. He also said that "Pakistan wealth fund" would be created to fund institutions such as the Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills and power distribution companies to bring revolutionary changes in them. Asad Umar promised the party would end the power crisis, turn the ongoing CPEC into a revolutionary project and improve the citizens and industrialists' access to capital.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak recalled the party's initiatives and reforms brought during its five-year stint in power in the province. He promised that important changes to education and health system in the country would be ensured along with an expansion in the social safety net.

The Sehat Insaf Card, currently only restricted to KP, he noted, would be expanded to the entire country and a total of 8 million families would be provided with income support, up from 5.4 million families today under Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Khattak noted that the party would protect the rights of women and ensure their progress in society and that his party would ensure provision of clean drinking water and begin a tree-plantation campaign.

Former PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen said that the PTI would take emergency measures to make agriculture profitable for farmers. He promised financial help and better access to loans for farmers while also promising to make the country self-sufficient in dairy products. He noted that the country was far behind others in agricultural research and vowed to improve research in the sector to turn around the agro-economy.

An expert in national security and foreign affairs, Dr Shireen Mazari said a national security organisation would be formed if the PTI comes to power. She promised improvements in economy through a reformed foreign policy and the creation of a detailed national security policy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she emphasised, would be strengthened by revamping its legal and institutional capabilities and that the national security policy would focus on uncovering contact between active and inactive terrorists, ensure implementation of the National Action Plan, curriculum reforms and bringing madrassas into the national mainstream.

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