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Business Recorder

Published Date: Apr 2, 2013

Manifestos termed exaggerated, superficial documents

Speakers
at a seminar on ‘Relevance of manifesto in political dynamics of Pakistan’
termed the manifestos presented by political parties for general elections 2013
as exaggerated statements pertaining to national issues and superficial as far
the question of their implementation is concerned.

The
seminar held here on Monday under the aegis of Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) was first in the series of bringing into discussion the
manifestos of mainstream political parties and their impact on the electorates
in the run up to the general elections.

Dr
Abid Q Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI regretted that political parties
particularly those who were in the Opposition failed to give shadow cabinet and
belied the notion of Opposition is the government in waiting. According to him,
the missing element in every party’s manifesto appeared to be a deliverable
plan of action, as to how the party is going to implement one policy statement
or the other on important national issues.

Asif
Saeed Memon of SDPI said there was dire need of analysing the policy failures
or policy successor of the past five years. Citing policy statement on the
education sector, he said, every party was now promising an increase in budget
for education to four percent of GDP, which was exactly the same pledge they
made five-year ago without achieving any goal.

He
said there was also a mismatch between voter’s preferences and promised
deliverables by political parties in their manifestos, hence, lose-lose
situation for the social sectors particularly education and health. Raza Rumi,
Director Jinnah Institute, said after an historic completion of five-year by a
democratically elected government and country’s edging closer to a rare democratic
transition, the next step is to move towards larger agenda of political
reforms.

"The
reforms must start with democratisation of political parties through
intra-party elections; establishing a transparent system of party funding and
expenditures and strict adherence to their promises made in the
manifestos," he added. He said that most of the parties missed out on
engaging youth which were currently half of the Pakistani voters.

Mosharraf Zaidi, renowned analyst and development professional said PPP
promised in its 2008 manifesto right to education for children from five to 16
years, however, after five-year almost 25 million students are out of school.
In the latest manifesto, PPP promised to increase adult literacy rate from 54
percent to 85 percent. He exclaimed as how and from which head the PPP procured
budget allocation to achieve its goal of 85 percent literacy in the country by
2018.-PR