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Published Date: Apr 1, 2013

SDPI Press Release (April 1, 2013)

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 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.

Speaking
at the occasion, Dr. Abid Q. Suleri, Executive Director, Sustainable
Development Policy Institute 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 raised the questions on promises made in manifestos by various
parties and said there is dire need of analyzing the policy failures or policy
successor of the past 5 years . Citing policy statement on the education
sector, he said, every party is now promising an increase in budget for
education to 4 percent of GDP, which is exactly the same pledge they made five
years ago without achieving any goal. He said there is also a mismatch between
voter’s preferences and promised deliverables by political parties in their
manifestos, hence, a lose-lose situation for the social sectors particularly
education and health.

Raza
Rumi, Director Jinnah Institute, said after an historic completion of five
years 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 democratization of political
parties through intra party elections; establishing a transparent system of
party funding and expenditures and strict adherence to the promises made in the
manifestos by political parties,” he added.

He
was of the view that political parties have failed to become institution
largely due to continuous disruption of the democratic system by military
dictators and non-existent democratic culture within the political parties.

He
expressed the hope that after first democratic transition the political parties
would learn that the path to real democracy goes through democratization of their
own rank and files.

Talking
about the manifestos presented by political parties in 2008, he said, most of
the parties missed out on engaging youth which are currently half of the
Pakistani voters.

Mosharraf
Zaidi, renowned analyst and development professional discussed the relevance of
manifestos with a focus on education. He said PPP promised in its 2008
manifesto right to education for children from 5 to 16 years of age.
Unfortunately, after 5 years almost 25 million students are out of school. In the
latest manifesto PPP promised to increase adult literacy rate from 54 % to 85%.
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.