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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Apr 18, 2013

Critics term PML-Q?s manifesto a ?wish list?

As
part of a series of discussion on manifestos of political parties, it was the
turn of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) on Wednesday.

While
defending the manifesto of his party, PLM-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain said
politicians should run their election campaigns on the basis of their past
performances.

The
discussion was organised by the Sustainable Policy Development Institute
(SDPI).

Hussain
said extremism was the most formidable challenge facing the country. He said
his party had proposed the establishment of a national security council and a
new counter-terrorism strategy to tackle the menace.

The
PML-Q’s manifesto focuses primarily on forming a national education policy that
promised to stem the gender gap, six per cent gross domestic product (GDP)
growth, energy, employment, women’s empowerment and a “one-off settlement” for
the circular debt, besides forming a new counter-terrorism strategy.

Senior
analyst Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood said the manifesto has provided a long ‘wish
list’ but failed to explain how these targets would be achieved.

“It
is a good document to aspire to but you will have to work extremely hard to
achieve even 50 per cent of it,” Masood told the PML-Q leaders.

Iqra
Univesity Dean Muhammad Islam said the party had presented a ‘catch-all’
manifesto which covered a broad range of issues concerning the common man.

“It
shows that the party is trying to portray itself as a national political
party,” he said.

Islam
dissected the manifesto from an academic perspective. He said symbolism was
apparent in the manifesto, as the party gave reference to undisputed
personalities like Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.

Journalist
Fouzia Shahid said Pakistan’s foreign policy was often influenced by the
military and foreign players such as the US and Saudi Arabia. Shahid asked the
PML-Q leaders if they would be able to free themselves from such influences and
forge an independent foreign policy.

Hussain
replied by saying that the previous parliament, including his own party,
deserved some credit for not bowing to external pressures while taking
decisions on the Pak-Iran pipeline and the Gwadar port.

Syed
said a manifesto presented not only a political party’s vision statement but
also listed promises, which could be used to test parties’ performances.

“We
have tried to be fair and factual in making promises through this manifesto,”
he said.

Earlier,
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri said recent attacks on political parties
were a serious threat to democracy and could endanger the whole election
process.