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Published Date: Apr 12, 2013

SDPI Press Release – Apr 12, 2013

Presenting manifesto at a policy seminar, MQM leaders Haider Abbas Rizvi and Faisal Sabzwari said that MQM manifesto titled ‘empowering people,’ promise power to people to achieve progress, prosperity and stability in the country.

They were speaking at a debate on manifesto of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) here on Monday. The event organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) was fourth in series of seminars, planned to discuss manifestos of political parties and their impact on electorates in the run up to the general elections. Mome Salem of SDPI moderated the proceedings.

Sharing details of 22 point manifesto, Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi, Former MNA and central leader of MQM said that an effective implementation of local government system was their top priority.“We want to bring ‘revolution through devolution’ where local governments- the third tier of government – would empower people, strengthen state and bring prosperity in the country” he added.

Giving details, he said MQM played crucial part in introducing provincial autonomy through 18th amendment but unfortunately, the powers were not devolved further at local level and are now concentrated in provinces. “If voted to power, MQM would give more powers and autonomy to city and district governments,” he said.

Briefing on party ideology, he said, MQM is the party of middle class common man and strives for eradication of feudal system and political authoritarianism in Pakistan and this is the reason that most of ticket are given to ordinary people. He said, party stands for liberal, progressive and democratic society and oppose every form of terrorism. Referring to recent killing of MQM party candidate for upcoming elections, he said, party has paid heavy price for its principled stance and it would continue to raise voice against extremism,
hatred and oppression.

Speaking on the occasion, former MQM MPA and Sindh minister for youth affairs Faisal Sabzwari said that MQM manifesto tackle wide range of issues including education, health, economy, governance, corruption, terrorism and poverty alleviation in Pakistan.  Considering health and education as most crucial sector, he said, MQM manifesto promise allocation of 5 percent of GDP for education and 5 percent for health. He suggested increase in tax net by applying agricultural income throughout the country and stopping the leakages in various sectors.

He said, MQM promise radical reforms in education sector particularly in textbooks where hate material would be removed which is promoting extremism in the country. He said, time has come that we as nation stand united against extremism and secure a bright future for coming generations. Not only internal threats, but cordial relations with neighbors would also improve stability of the country, he added. Regarding a point on FATA, he demanded removal of FCR laws and new provinces if there is demand from people of tribal areas.

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, analyst and eminent educationist spoke as discussant and said that MQM manifesto is a comprehensive policy document but major challenges is the implementation and how the major promises in social development and reforms in governance, energy and environment would be carried out in current difficult situation.

Senior Analyst, Mukhtar Ahmed also presented his analysis of the manifesto and said that allocation of 10 percent of GDP for health and education seems to be not realistic keeping in view the existing resources and tax to GDP ratio of only 10 percent in Pakistan. He appreciated policy of applying taxes on agri-income and added that there are exemptions in our tax system which must also be reduced such as various sectoral and territorial exemptions. He emphasized that although MQM manifesto puts much emphasis on urban development, it must also discuss rural development as still half of the population is living in rural areas.