With less than three weeks left for the 25 July general election, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) unveiled their manifesto with the slogan "vote ko izzat do — khidmat ko vote do" (Honour the vote — vote for performance) on Thursday in Lahore. Launching the manifesto, PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif said his party had brought peace through military operations to the entire country, especially Karachi, Dawn reported.
Former interior minister and a key member of the manifesto committee Ahsan Iqbal called the manifesto a "roadmap" to place Pakistan in the list of top 25 world economies. "PML-N believes that it has stayed true to its manifesto in the past five years. We pulled Pakistan out of the dark. We gave peace to Pakistan and an important project like CPEC. We turned Karachi into a cradle of peace.
"Now we have power and a strong infrastructure. Our next milestone is agrarian development so that jobs are created in this province, and the youth can get opportunities. The 21st century is the time for the fourth Industrial Revolution. PML-N has also set the base for a strong digital economy," he said.
The PML-N manifesto, which released nearly a week after Pakistan Peoples Party released its manifesto, makes several promises right from increasing economic growth to bringing development to far-flung areas. Here are some of the key points of the ruling party's manifesto:
Among the several promises on the economy that the PML-N vowed to fulfil if voted to power for 2018-23, the key ones were:
- Raise the annual GDP growth rate to an average of over seven percent.
- Reduce budget deficit below an average of 4 percent of the GDP.
- Increase the investment-GDP ratio to 22 to 25 percent.
- Achieve an average industrial growth rate of 8 to 10 percent.
- Create jobs for 2 million new entrants into the market every year.
- Harness the opportunity of CPEC projects to enhance access to domestic and international markets.
As per the manifesto, the PML-N sees the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the "game-changing economic opportunity" for Pakistan. It said that after coming to power, it would leverage the corridor to unleash rapid economic growth, new business creation, and mass employment.
The party also vowed to scale-up prime minister's interest-free loan programme, decrease the annual loss incurred by state-owned enterprises to zero, and implement Main Line (ML-1) corridor for making Pakistan Railways an integral part of CPEC.
Praising the economic decisions of its previous government, the PML-N urged Pakistan to vote for the party: "The continuity of the PML-N economic agenda is the key to future sustained growth and prosperity for a common man. After successfully turning around Pakistan's economy and providing a foundation of modern infrastructure, we will focus on fostering a culture of innovation, competitive advantage, reducing regulatory burden and providing financial markets a boost to create a world-class economy."
The party also promised to eliminate poverty by 2030, distribute "millions of acres" of land in five-acre packages to landless tenants, provide interest-free loans to more than two million entrepreneurs and small farmers, train two million people in skills required for entrepreneurship, and disburse loans and stipends to at least two million people with disabilities and special needs.
Housing and Diamir Basha Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kohistan were among the key areas that were focussed in the manifesto. On Thursday, PML-N president Shehbaz said that the party’s planned construction of the Diamir Basha Dam will generate 4500-megawatt electricity, apart from storing over 6 million acre-feet of water.
“Diamer Basha dam is a matter of life and death. It will not only meet our water needs but also trap flash floods and provide longevity to Tarbela and Mangla dams. Even if I have to ask for a donation for the dam, I will do that. Almost 70 percent of work on the project will be completed in 5 years,” Shehbaz was quoted as saying by Ary News.
Nawaz Sharif worked hard day in & day out to overcome energy crisis. PMLN govt added a total of 11000MW during past 5 years. Compare this generation capacity against 18000MW which was achieved during past 70 yrs. Energy projects were commissioned despite pol. protests & sit-ins..
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 5, 2018
For housing, PML-N plans to provide low-cost housing facilities for the poorest of the poor, if voted to power. It also said that the party will introduce a law to make it obligatory for banks to provide loans at minimum interest rates for housing to the needy.
Speaking at the launch, Shehbaz, who is also the Punjab province chief minister asserted on Twitter that the party will continue with its earlier initiatives related to healthcare like National Heath Card, and availability of free medicines, and assured that they are implemented across the country.
National Health Card was a revolutionary initiative aimed at the poorest of the poor that Nawaz Sharif launched as PM of Pakistan. Its unfortunate that some of the provinces refused to implement it on political grounds. #PMLNManifesto2018
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 5, 2018
In healthcare, the PML-N promised to eradicate polio, implement a nutrition strategy focused on "first 1,000 days" interventions to reduce stunting and malnutrition, and ensure universal access to primary healthcare — especially for child and maternal care.
"By 2023, we will have a system that would ensure health for all, and assert quality of care as an inalienable stipulation. We can only achieve our vision 2025 and the sustainable development goal commitments if the current trajectory of rapid population growth slows down, which, in turn, would also help in the alleviation of poverty," the party said.
Other noteworthy assurances
PML-N said that it aims to create a "tolerant and just Pakistan" in the next tenure. It vowed to launch special welfare programmes to uplift the minorities and said that it will gradually eliminate the term "minorities" to introduce "non-Muslim Pakistani" in a bid to internalise the concept of inclusive citizenship.
Addressing issues related to gender, the PML-N made promises like eradication of the gender-based wage gaps, the inclusion of more women in cabinet positions, increase maternity leave duration up to six months — with minimum leave period of three months. It also said that it will introduce social welfare schemes such as paternal leaves to encourage women to work.
Further, the party said it will assert access to quality health care as a right, and bring into effect all provisions of the right to education (Article 25(A)).
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Updated Date: Jul 06, 2018 15:04:38 IST