Women make up 51% of the population - and the economy will not pick up until they are given the space which is their right -- the same goes for society and politics: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at a press conference in Khangarh pic.twitter.com/d7uDniLOls— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) July 5, 2018
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Bilawal - Women make up 51% of the population - and the economy will not pick up until they are given the space which is their right
Mian Aamir Hassan
The next election is going to be PPP's chance to bring Pakistan the glory it so rightly deserves.
Elections are going to be held on July 25, and we need to take stock of the current situation while keeping Jinnah’s words in mind. Which party truly believes in democracy, complete equality of mankind, fraternity, equality and liberty?
A bird’s eye view upon the past would help us in understanding today’s Pakistan. Ironically, Pakistan came into being in 1947, but could not hold direct elections until 1970. At that time, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) got a clear-cut majority in the areas comprising present day Pakistan. However, the dream for a better tomorrow was shattered by General Zia in 1977.
His coup gave a severe blow to state institutions and inflicted an irreparable loss to the state itself. Zia conquered his own country by force against the people’s will, held the constitution in abeyance and suspended civil liberties. In one stroke, he was able to dethrone an elected government and hang an elected prime minister.
Change is coming, and its name is Bilawal. With PPP’s latest party manifesto, the grandson of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and son of Benazir Bhutto has shown his commitment to introducing Jinnah’s vision far and wide in the country
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the one who had managed to reclaim 5,000 miles worth of area from the enemy’s occupation. He was the one to get 90,000 soldiers released from enemy prisons. It was Bhutto who helped establish the nuclear program to make the country impregnable. And he was the one to give the country its first consensual constitution. Bhutto was the man who inspired the people of Pakistan to live respectably in the comity of nations and laid the first brick for a welfare state in Pakistan.
Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a republic, but that did not happen due to his untimely demise. It was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who managed to pick up the pieces.
In 1970, general elections were held on the basis of one person one vote. However, General Yahya delayed transfer of power, hatched conspiracies and used violence as a tool. It led to the dismemberment of Pakistan.
Yahya Khan had to hand over the government to Bhutto Sahib who started his journey of progress step by step. During his rule, the war torn country got on its feet within years. When the 1977 general elections were held, invisible hands helped form the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) but in vain. They were swept away by Bhutto’s wave of popularity; however, the PNA blamed rigging when it faced defeat.
At a time when negotiations between the government and the opposition were about to take a positive turn, martial law was imposed. The problems which we witness today are the direct result of that martial law. The seeds of intolerance, sectarianism, extremism, terrorism, Kalashnikov culture, ethnicity-based politics, corruption and load shedding were sown in the country. Our centuries old social values saw a decline during Zia’s rule. Hypocrisy, double dealing, selfishness, greed and violence penetrated the society and swelled unchecked.
The present Pakistan is the perfect place for the rich and mighty. However, this elite group is just a minority in this country and PPP wants to ensure that it is the majority that begins to think of Pakistan as the perfect place to live
During Zia’s time, when someone asked for their rights they were instead given imprisonment — many were beaten to death in dark jail cells. Those who weren’t crushed were exiled. Conservative and extremist forces were used to destroy people and run society into the ground with extremism. Later, these extremists became the breeding ground for terrorism in the country. Despite all efforts, PPP was not destroyed and its workers did not surrender. Owing to their struggle and sacrifices, the country is on the track towards democracy today. The constitution of 1973 has been restored in its true form. For this act, the former president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari’s role is laudable. As July 25 approaches, I advise my readers to look at the PPP manifesto, which covers all aspects of state and society. The 10th manifesto is called “BB ka waada nibhana hai, Pakistan bachana hai,” which translate to: “We have to fulfil our promise to Benazir and save Pakistan”. The vision mentioned in the preamble makes clear that PPP wants to make Pakistan a peaceful, prosperous and progressive country.
The present Pakistan is the perfect place for the rich and mighty. However, this elite group is just a minority in this country and PPP wants to ensure that it is the majority that begins to think of Pakistan as the perfect place to live.
While unveiling the manifesto, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto made a commitment that PPP’s main concern is human rights and they would criminalise enforced disappearances and torture, and ensure that Pakistan as a state honours international treaties and covenants. He resolved to give rights to women; history is a witness that no other party has empowered women more than the PPP.
With this manifesto, the grandson of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and son of Benazir Bhutto has shown his commitment to introduing Jinnah’s vision (picked by his grandfather and bequeathed to his mother) far and wide in the country.
Each word of this manifesto is soaked with the resolves of martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of democracy as well as for the betterment of Pakistan itself. The PPP has focused on resolving the issues relating to education, health and other basic necessities. The party will also resolve two major issues distressing the youth — unemployment and lack of opportunities.
The next election is going to be PPP’s chance to bring Pakistan glory.
Senator Rehman Malik
As an elder politician, I recognise a lot of potential in our young leadership and see the courage and wisdom of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in Bilawal's actions and speeches.
A manifesto is basically a reference book for a party to move forward. Manifestos define a political party and demonstrate its seriousness in addressing the major issues of a country at the policy level. It should contain the way forward for every faction of the society starting from the betterment of the common citizen and improvement of all vital components of the society and the state. It should have the ability to counter the main national challenges and to give relief to a common person. It creates confidence and hope in the minds of voters.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is the first party to have launched its manifesto for the upcoming elections and I have not yet seen the manifestos of Pakistan Muslim League — Noon (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), giving me no chance to make some comparison. I decided to write my views upon it after reading this great people-friendly manifesto. I do not have the other manifestos, as the other parties have not been able to make their manifestos public yet.
Allow me to say that the PPP chairman is more efficient as compared to other party leaders and I would like to congratulate him for this lead. The important salient features of PPP’s manifesto are discussed hereunder:
Bilawal’s manifesto starts with the slogan “BB Ka Wada Nibhana Hai, Pakistan Bachana Hai” (by honouring Benazir Bhutto’s promise, we will save Pakistan). Taking up his mother’s vision for a prosperous Pakistan, the manifesto truly addresses a variety of challenges and issues confronting our country.
The manifesto contains ideas for economic restructuring and growth, which work for all and beyond, and address the crisis management that is to come. The ideas include measures for an independent and rigorous assessment of the macroeconomic situation facing the country, including public debt, external and fiscal imbalances. It does this with the help of working groupsconsisting of Pakistani experts, who cover all aspects of the economic crisis. The economic policies shall devise a mechanism for evolving consensus on a basic national economic reforms agenda, for the medium-term.
Bilawal’s manifesto starts with the slogan: BB Ka Wada Nibhana Hai, Pakistan Bachana Hai. Taking up his mother’s vision for a prosperous Pakistan, the manifesto truly addresses a wide spectrum of challenges and issues confronting our country today
A Joint Parliamentary Committee of both Houses would be constituted, representing all political parties to incorporate a consensus for the basic national economic reform agenda. The PPP chairman visualised that a joint parliamentary committee of both Houses, with representation from all major parties, would be the need of the day to prepare a basic national economic agenda on issues of national economic importance to ensure cross-party commitment to broaden parameters of reforms on taxation, government spending and public debt.
The manifesto says that in order to enhance competitiveness of the export sector, surcharges for the five export-oriented sectors will be rationalised. All free trade agreements (FTAs) will be reviewed; Export Development Fund (EDF) will be given to the Ministry of Commerce and managed by an independent board of private experts, with an independent third-party evaluation of EDF. Established foreign brands would be facilitated to develop their foreign buying offices near Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot, Multan, Peshawar and Islamabad airports. Exclusive economic zones will be established wherein foreign companies, on their own or with local joint ventures, would establish factories on the condition that at least fifty per cent of the goods manufactured would be exported. Trading arrangements involving currency swaps will be pursued to reduce dependence on foreign currencies.
In case of public financing, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would be restructured by turning it into three separate entities, namely Direct Tax Authority, Sales Tax Authority and Customs Authority, in order to avoid any administrative disharmony within the FBR and for evaluation of the performance of each authority against its specified targets. Moreover, the tax rebates for non-export oriented sectors would be withdrawn.
According to the manifesto, the agricultural sector, which occupies a central position in the national economic programme, would not only provide food to the people but also supply raw materials to sustain the manufacturing sector and exports, as the true potential for agriculture has remained unfulfilled due to the lack of policy attention and erratic decision-making in recent years.
The chairman has pledged in the manifesto to rebuild an economy that works for all and to reinvigorate the agriculture sector through an ambitious Zarai Inqilab Renewal Strategy built around three objectives: “(i) hunger eradication and food security, (ii) livelihoods and poverty reduction and (iii) economic growth and restructuring.” The strategy would be based on providing support to the agricultural sector to achieve these objectives and providing direct support to specific segments of the agricultural economy, such as small farmers, agricultural labour, women agricultural workers, and farmers in marginalised regions.
Despite the change of governments, the party has seen immense success of its BISP programme and so the manifesto pledges the registration of farmers and agricultural workers under the Benazir Kissan Card scheme. Subsidies, price support system and crop insurance scheme for small farmers has also been ensured. Legal recognition and registration of women agricultural workers would be made under the Benazir Women Agricultural Workers Programme.
The chairman is considering water as an essential resource for the country’s economic development, and has expressed the need to support efficient irrigation systems in the agriculture sector. It is also an important resource for the functioning of industries and urban centres. The party, taking into account the climate change trends, which indicate that Pakistan may run dry by 2025, with a 50 per cent gap between demand and supply, would address this in a comprehensive manner across multiple dimensions; (i) efficiency and conservation, (ii) augmenting supply by investing in new technologies, (iii) improving water quality management, (iv) and addressing waterlogging and salinity.
It has been promised in the manifesto that PPP’s focus would be to raise funds to finance the Bhasha Dam project as it is of immense economic value to Pakistan and therefore an important project.
About industrial policy, the PPP leader said that Pakistan’s declining manufacturing base is a cause of serious concern. Manufacturing as a share of GDP has declined from close to 20 per cent to 13.5 per cent. He said that the PPP government would prioritise the revival of these industries through the following measures; “(i) devising a rehabilitation scheme through the State Bank of Pakistan for the revival of economically viable but closed sick units, (ii) and ensuring proper supply and viable tariffs on electricity to remove the energy bottlenecks that the industries have suffered”.
He said that the PPP government would identify sectors where the possibility of creating a niche market for exports is possible and then the identified sectors would be provided credit through a direct credit line created by the State Bank of Pakistan.
About trade policy, the PPP Chairman said that the country’s exports have been on a downward spiral and there is a need not only to arrest this sharp decline in exports but also to restructure exports in the medium and long terms. He said that the PPP government would provide special incentives for the promotion of non-traditional and high value added exports.
The PPP would also provide an effective health management system. The family health services would link all elements of health provisioning into a unified individual centred system and health data management at union council and district levels.
PPP would also bring educational reforms in the curriculum and encourage the use of technology and social-emotional leaning. Career counselling centres would also be built to develop workplaces of skill of communication, leadership, collaboration etc. The quality of education would also be improved. The PPP leader announced that he would end the ban on student and trade unions in the country.
The manifesto includes great energy sector reforms as well. The PPP will adopt a four-pronged strategy for addressing the energy requirements of a growing population and economy on a sustainable basis, by providing adequate, affordable and progressively cleaner energy to all. This four-pronged strategy includes; “(i) diversification of energy mix, (ii) prioritising efficiency and conservation, (iii) revamping transmission and distribution, and (iv) rationalising oil and gas polices.
PPP has also talked of tax measures in the manifesto making it possible to achieve 15 per cent of the target of the tax-GDP ratio through the measures including making use of the proven effectiveness of provincial tax authorities by delegating the administration of federal taxes to them through a partnership between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and provincial tax authorities.
The manifesto has also addressed the key issue of our foreign policy that we lack in, as we have had no foreign minister for as many as four years. The chairman has pledged that under a pro-active foreign policy, his party would highlight the human rights abuses being committed by the Indian forces in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.
The young PPP chairman has a pragmatic road map to pull the country out of the crises and challenges it faces. The manifesto reflects his love for his people and especially the youth. I was to make an independent comparison of the manifestos issued by all the parties but unfortunately, I could not find the manifesto of any other political party.
The vision of the chairman of PPP is well reflected and his proposals and determination reflects his way forward to pulling the nation out of the crises. The chairman will require more professionals to implement his vision.
I as an elder politician foresee a lot of potential in our young leadership and see the courage and wisdom of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in Bilawal’s actions and speeches.
I hope and wish to see him as the prime minister as he truly deserves to lead the nation.
“We need free and fair elections. The powerful forces should not interfere in the affairs of democracy. They should trust the masses who are the ultimate decision makers,” Bilawal said.
He said the anti-PPP alliance of political parties in Sindh ‘is against the interests of Pakistan.’
The PPP leader was addressing a press conference in Sukkur from where he resumed the party’s ‘Karachi-to-Khyber’ road caravan on the fourth consecutive day on Thursday.
The PPP chairman is supposed to reach Punjab’s Sadiqabad city on Friday.
The procession is scheduled to reach Rahim Yar Khan Saturday and Muzaffargarh Sunday. It will reach Multan on July 8th.
The PPP chairman will stay in Multan till July 10 and visit areas in Southern Punjab before leading the election caravan to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.