Manifesto promises after the polls

Political parties must embrace their role as vigilant watchdogs, ensuring accountability and transparency in governance

Manifesto promises after the polls


ith the conclusion of polls on February 8, a new elected leadership has received the voters’ constitutional mandate. Throughout this electoral process, political parties presented their manifestos and made many promises to the electorate.

Engaging slogans were shaped to capture the voters’ attention, such as Chuno nai soch ko (Go for a new thinking), pledging to address issues of inflation, poverty and unemployment by Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP). Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) unveiled a manifesto promising to establish a Madinah-inspired state built on Islamic values of welfare, rule of law, just governance and accountability.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) issued a manifesto with the tagline, Pakistan ko sachay manshoor say Nawaz do (Bless Pakistan with a true manifesto), vowing to promote economic growth, implement structural reforms, foster energy security and expand infrastructure.

The manifestoes by the three most popular parties and many others, significantly Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan (JIP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), reflect the diverse aspirations and visions put forth by political parties to garner support and steer Pakistan’s future trajectory.

In the aftermath of elections, the post-election landscape has crystallized. While one party becomes the primary governing force, the other two retain significant influence to provide effective checks on the government’s power. It is imperative that these parties assume an expanded role, not only to hold the government accountable for fulfilling its manifesto promises but also to ensure provision of relief to the masses in accordance with their stated vision.

This responsibility shared among the political entities underscores the importance of collaborative governance and accountability in advancing the interests and welfare of the Pakistani people.

Analysis of various political party manifestoes reveals a shared commitment to providing relief to the masses. The PMLN has outlined comprehensive plans focusing on structural reforms, economic growth and infrastructure development. Their objectives include reducing inflation to single digit and creating 10 million jobs, aiming to decrease poverty rate from 38 percent to 25 percent over five years.

Furthermore, they have pledged to achieve a GDP growth rate of 6 percent, increase exports to $60 billion and secure $40 billion in annual remittances from expatriates. These ambitious goals apparently show their determination to address the socio-economic challenges and promote sustainable progress for Pakistan. The detailed proposals signify a concerted effort towards enhancing the nation’s well-being and fostering a prosperous future for all citizens.

They have made ambitious pledges in their manifesto aimed at reshaping various facets of governance and infrastructure. These commitments include a substantial reduction in electricity bills (20 to 30 percent), alongside plans to bolster the national grid by adding 15,000 MW and launching 10,000 MW solar power projects.

They propose elevating tax-to-GDP ratio from 10.4 percent to 13.5 percent, initiating privatisation of struggling state-owned enterprises and abolishing the National Accountability Bureau. Additionally, they have advocated for restoration of Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution to their original form.

These promises underscore their vision for economic growth, energy sustainability and institutional reform. If its potential is realised, they may be able to address the key challenges confronting the nation.

As the post-election landscape begins to take shape, it is imperative for all political parties and institutions to collaborate with the new government to alleviate the nation’s sufferings. This necessitates a concerted effort towards fostering unity and cooperation.

The PPPP, a prominent political entity with a longstanding history of governance in Sindh (including the last 15 years), maintains a substantial influence in the region. In their manifesto, has it pledged to extend social protection measures for the lower socio-economic strata and launch initiatives targeting poverty alleviation and eradication of hunger.

Additionally, they are committed to safeguarding the rights of minorities and marginalised groups, while advocating for the empowerment of the federation through the amendment and reform of the constitution. Their manifesto in particular, includes a compelling promise to ensure tangible increases in real income for wage earners, reflecting their dedication to enhancing the economic well-being of the populace.

Pakistan has been among those nations where labour rights are flagrantly disregarded. Despite a government-mandated minimum wages, a significant portion of the labour force gets below subsistence level wages.

Compared to the international standard of a 40-hour work week, labourers in Pakistan endure gruelling schedules - exceeding 16 hours per day in extreme cases - often without receiving the minimum legal wage. This deprives them of quality time for personal advancement, such as seeking additional employment opportunities, spending time with family or acquiring new skills. This situation demands comprehensive reforms to safeguard the rights and welfare of the labour force.

The new government must prioritise addressing this issue, ensuring that all employers adhere to the workweek standards established by the International Labour Organisation. It is imperative that every worker receives at least the minimum wage mandated by the government.

By rigorously enforcing these regulations, the government can effectively protect the rights and welfare of the labor force, fostering a more equitable and just work environment. Such a proactive stance is crucial for promoting economic stability and social justice.

Despite grappling with significant survival challenges, the PTI has been steadfast in its proposals for reform. The key reforms it has proposed include the direct election of prime minister; reduction of the National Assembly’s tenure to four years and Senate’s tenure to five years, with direct elections for some of the Senate seats.

The PTI is committed to sustaining ongoing social protection programmes established by previous administrations, such as the Sehat Card initiative; the Ehsaas programme; implementation of a uniform education system; and ensuring accountability across all levels of government. These commitments show PTI’s dedication to instituting structural changes and fostering societal well-being.

As the post-election landscape begins to take shape, it is imperative for all political parties and institutions to collaborate with the new government to alleviate the nation’s sufferings. This necessitates a concerted effort towards fostering unity and cooperation, transcending partisan divides for the collective betterment of society.

With a focus on prudent foreign policy, initiating structural reforms, implementing the principle of trichotomy of powers and upholding good governance, the incoming government holds the key to addressing pressing challenges and steering the nation towards progress.

Political parties must embrace their role as vigilant watchdogs, ensuring accountability and transparency in governance, thus safeguarding the interests of the people. Through collective action and unwavering commitment to public service, a brighter future for Pakistan can be realised.

Dr Ikramul Haq, an advocate of the Supreme Court and writer, is adjunct faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Abdul Rauf Shakoori is a corporate lawyer based in the USA

Manifesto promises after the polls