LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday unveiled the party manifesto ahead of the 2018 general elections, scheduled for July 25.
“People should see which party fulfilled its 2013 manifesto,” remarked the former Punjab chief minister, as he recalled that in 2013, load shedding and the deteriorating security situation were the two biggest issues facing the public, but the PML-N under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, eliminated both these problems.
He said, “We worked alongside Pakistan armed forces to establish peace in the country including Karachi.”
The PML-N president praised the previous federal government for adding 11,000 megawatts of electricity to the national grid in an attempt to end the energy crisis.
Shehbaz, whose speech was briefly interrupted by a heckler, said his party had brought peace throughout entire country, especially in Karachi, by the means of military operations.
In its manifesto, headlined with the slogan “Vote ko izzat do — khidmat ko vote do [Honour the vote — vote for service]”, the PML-N has pledged to:
- Aspire for economic transformation by raising the GDP growth rate to over 7 per cent
- Expand scope of investments
- Minimise losses in state-owned enterprises
- Ending water crisis by building dams
- Eliminate poverty by 2030 through welfare programmes
- Enable enterprise creation and employment
- Impart technical training among people
- Continue tax reforms to raise the tax-to-GDP ratio from 13pc to 16pc
- Create at least 100,000-200,000 jobs
- Expedite completion of long-term CPEC plan
- Low-cost residential schemes for those who can’t afford houses of their own
- Promote value addition in agriculture and increase productivity
- Assist farmers with a farmer support package
- Increase the size of the IT industry from $3.1 billion to $10bn
- Expand e-governance and citizen-centric services
- Bridge the digital divide by doubling the access to affordable broadband
- Scale up free public Wi-Fi hotspots to all major cities
- Increase representation of youth in democratic forums
Shehbaz acknowledged water as one of “the biggest challenges in the coming years,” adding that he is willing to work with all political parties to solve the issue.
“PML-N’s top most priority will be the completion of Diamer-Bhasha Dam,” he said. The dam will contribute 4,500 MW of electricity in the national grid and solve problems pertaining to the flash floods as well, he claimed.
The main requirements which any country needs to follow in order to be able to stand on its feet include socio-economic protection, especially of those hailing from unprivileged backgrounds, then provision of health and education facilities and finally empowerment of the people, he said. “After giving protection to people, we need to empower them,” the PML-N president remarked.
While referring to the main rival party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), he said that he cannot promise one billion jobs like others but has rather set realistic goals such as 100,000 jobs for people to curb the issue of unemployment.
LOW-COST HOUSING SCHEMES:
Former Punjab CM remarked that the party will also launch low-cost housing schemes for those who can’t afford houses of their own. He promised, “We would charge less interest on loans and make sure that people from poor backgrounds are able to afford a roof on their heads.”
The scheme would be for all those who are not able to afford houses or apartments for themselves, he added.
Senior PML-N leaders were present at a ceremony in Lahore where the party presented its manifesto.
The fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Pakistan in connection with CPEC-related investment had to be postponed proved “how harmful dharnas (sit-ins) were for the national interest”.
Sharif also criticised the “unprecedented” court decisions that led to his ouster as prime minister and removal as party head.
It is incumbent upon the PML-N to ensure the progress of democracy, political harmony, protection of rights of minorities, respect for women and supremacy of the Constitution in Pakistan, he said.
Former information minister and now PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb began by reading out a message from former prime minister and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, who regretted the “political conspiracies” his government was allegedly subjected to after coming into power in 2013.
She said that the people showed their confidence in 2013 when they voted for the PML-N leadership.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and other party leaders are present at the event.
The party’s manifesto aims to address challenges faced by the country and expounds PML-N’s plan of action for the development of the country, media reports said.
“It also includes a strategy to further improve the security situation across the country, including Karachi and Balochistan,” they further said.
Provision of education and healthcare as well as power generation are made a part of the manifesto.
MANIFESTOS FOR POLLS:
The PML-N has become the second major party to make public its manifesto, a week after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari revealed his manifesto pledging to curtail hunger, rebuild the country’s economy and foster harmony between different institutions of the state.
A manifesto is a set of published verbal declarations made by political parties which reflect their intentions, views and vision about the national issues. These are highlighted especially during polls. The parties make public their motives and targets which they plan to achieve after assuming power.
Political scientists believe that a manifesto is actually a pledge a political party makes with people before elections. The manifestos later act as a gauge to measure the performance.