Pakistan General Election: PTI manifesto vows 10 million jobs, reforms in regulatory bodies to end corruption, universal healthcare

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday unveiled its manifesto for the upcoming general elections, with its chairperson Imran Khan saying his mission would be “to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state”. Khan said he would transform the country “in line with the principles that made the foundation of Medina — humanity and justice”.

 Pakistan General Election: PTI manifesto vows 10 million jobs, reforms in regulatory bodies to end corruption, universal healthcare

Imran Khan unveils PTI's manifesto. Image Courtesy: Twitter/PTIofficial

The 61-page manifesto titled “The Road to Naya Pakistan" (The Road to the New Pakistan) has three chapters explaining the party’s agenda if voted to power in the 25 July elections. “For PTI, it is not just ‘politics’; it is a commitment to building a welfare state where the rule of law, meritocracy and transparency are guaranteed to all citizens,” read the party’s vision. “An ineffective state structure has generated a crisis of governance... Therefore, PTI will end this corrupt and decaying system to build anew on the foundations of justice and equity.”

PTI’s manifesto comes three days after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) unveiled its agenda with the slogan “Vote ko izzat do — khidmat ko vote do” (Honour the vote — vote for performance). Promises to create jobs, improve Pakistan’s GDP and infrastructure, eradicate polio and create a “tolerant and just Pakistan” were part of the PML-N’s manifesto.

On Monday, before unveiling PTI’s manifesto, Khan said whoever is voted to power on 25 July “will have to face the biggest economic challenge ever” because of Pakistan’s “debts, devaluation of its rupee and failed policies that made the poor poorer”. “I want to make it clear that there are no easy solutions, and we need to make major changes to implement this manifesto,” he said.

Like the manifesto, Khan highlighted PTI’s achievements in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where it heads the provincial government. He emphasised the police reforms brought in and depoliticisation of the bureaucracy in the force. “The police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is exemplary. This is our vision to empower institutions for better governance.”

“We will introduce a non-political model of policing like the one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the rest of the provinces, as well,” he said, according to Dawn. “And to ensure that Pakistanis get instant and quality justice, we will introduce comprehensive judicial reforms.”

Transforming governance Changing the face of Pakistani governance was high in PTI’s list of promises if voted to power for the 2018-2023 term. The following were some of the highlights: - Bring accountability to the core of the government - Empower people at the grassroots through local governments - Reform the criminal justice system and provide speedy access to justice - Reform the civil service and government procurement - Ensure freedom of the press To bring about change, Khan said his party would utilise taxpayers’ money for them to eliminate corruption. “We're going to reform the National Accountability Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the Federal Board of Revenue... I believe this nation will give taxes once we assure them that their tax money will be spent on them. At the moment, people think their money is spent on politicians' lavish lifestyles,” the cricketer-turned-politician said.

Strengthening the federation On the federal structure of Pakistan, PTI promised to consolidate the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as work on “political reconciliation” with Balochistan and create a South Punjab province for “administrative balance between Pakistan’s federating units”. “We will establish a special mechanism to supplement existing poverty alleviation efforts in the poorest districts across Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” the manifesto said.

Economic growth With reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue, PTI said it will “increase the tax net through a robust tax policy, efficient tax administration structure and effective enforcement mechanism”. Khan promised that PTI would take up the challenge of creating 10 million jobs and five million homes in the five-year term if voted to power. He added that his government would offer business incentives to help create employment and also use agriculture to generate revenue while ensuring that farmers’ rights are not subjugated. On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), PTI said Pakistan was “not fully benefiting from CPEC-related investments” at present due to “insufficient transfer of knowledge and capabilities, fewer partnerships with local businesses and Pakistan’s high dependence on imports of goods and services from China”. Khan said his party would work to ensure that Pakistan gains as much from the project as China.

Pakistan General Election 2018

National security Keeping Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, socio-economic development, the Kashmir dispute with India and citizens’ safety in mind, PTI said it will bring in structural reforms in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, implement steps to help Pakistan utilise its strategic location in Asia, set up a National Security Organisation to oversee internal security and enforce a multidimensional defence policy “to deal with the emerging nature of threats at multiple levels”.

Other aspects of the manifesto PTI promised to transform social services to ensure better healthcare for all, improve the education sector, ensure clean drinking water for all, protect the environment and tackle climate change, promote arts, sports and culture, create a better atmosphere for people with special needs and tackle population explosion.

In addition to reforming policies to improve Pakistan’s economic position and Ease of Doing Business ranking on the World Bank’s list, PTI promised to improve the agriculture and livestock sectors to streamline the work of millions of farmers.

Tapping into the country’s tourism industry to generate income, universal health coverage, “the most ambitious education agenda in Pakistan’s history” and an enhanced youth policy were also among the party’s election promises.

“Today, if we are sweeping all surveys in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and are in a winning position there, it is because the people observed improvements in their quality of life. And that is the gist of our manifesto — to improve lives,” Khan said.

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Updated Date: Jul 10, 2018 10:29:57 IST