Ambitious manifestoes to attract voters

GENERAL ELECTIONS

ISLAMABAD  -  The political parties have launched ambitious manifestos to attract voters offering a range of reforms and policies as the nation goes to polls tomorrow (February 8). Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the be­leaguered Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s manifestoes however, crucially lack detailed strategies.

The manifestoes particularly have no plan to address democratic reforms, the economic cri­sis, and internal security issues. This situation has left voters in a quandary over which party to choose, as they seek one capable of steering the country through the complex and overlapping crises confronting it. According to a comparative study of the manifestos undertaken by Islam­abad Policy Institute, both PML-N and PPP have pledged to strengthen local governance. 

PML-N aims to amend constitutional articles im­pacted by past military regimes, while PPP focuses on the effective implementation of the 18th Consti­tutional amendment to smooth federal-provincial relations. However, both parties, along with the PTI, have not adequately addressed the issue of civil-military imbalance or the potential for creat­ing new provinces. The beleaguered PTI is pushing for a radical change in the legislative structure. The party proposes a Presidential-style Prime Minister and the direct election of the Prime Minister, aim­ing to reduce undue influence of the legislators.

In economic terms, all three parties have failed to present concrete strategies to navigate the economic crisis. Though their manifestos set lofty goals but the parties have shown a reluctance to commit to difficult decisions, such as negotiating a new Inter­national Monetary Fund (IMF) facility, removing sub­sidies, or privatizing state-owned enterprises. De­spite acknowledging the need for economic revival, detailed plans for budget reassessment or resource redistribution are notably absent. On the foreign pol­icy front, the manifestos subtly admit to the limited role political parties play in shaping Pakistan’s inter­national relations, opting instead to concentrate on geo-economics to foster trade and investment ties.

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