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July 11, 2018

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Political parties performed poorly on 2013 election manifestoes: IPR

LAHORE: The Institute for Policy Reforms (IPR) in a report has said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that ruled at the centre and provinces from 2013 to 2018 were not able to deliver much on their 2013 election manifestoes.

The report points out that while it claims to have especial expertise for economic management, the PML-N in fact achieved 20 percent of its macroeconomic manifesto promises.

“The PPP is traditionally committed to social sector development and poverty alleviation. The party achieved 20 percent and 33 percent respectively of its targets in education and health in Sindh,” the IPR reported.

All parties seem to have stumbled, as by 2016 national literacy and enrolment rates dropped in Pakistan. The situation is not much different for other sectors.

Soft and physical infrastructure developments mostly were well behind needs, except for prestige projects, it pointed out. Promises to reduce cost of doing business did not materialise. During the five years, Pakistan’s rank dropped in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report and stayed low in UNDP’s HDI Index.

Both are key ingredients of economic development. Some highlight achievements include increase in power generation by the PML-N government, though it did not address power policy and governance weaknesses.

Similarly, PPP handed over land to over 4,000 landless peasants and made good on its promise for labour rights. PTI progressed with tree plantation and in health services.

The study also found instances where one part of the manifesto does not agree with another. For example, the manifestos promise major new services for the people and yet proposed reduction in current expenditure.

“Most manifestos have sections on job creation. Yet reliability of government data on labour is often questioned. Nor do governments announce how many jobs were created each year,” the Institute for Policy Reforms said.

Manifestos also profess many kinds of governance reforms such as civil service, police, and land reforms, without considering if there was political appetite for them within their party. All manifestos committed also to a devolved local government. “It is no secret that very little was done in any of these areas and in the case of local government, some parties did the opposite of what their manifestos said.”

Also, none of the parties made sufficient effort to make their manifesto a peoples’ document by engaging with communities and NGOs to design social sector or urban development programs, the IPR said in its report.

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