KARACHI: Development at district levels was demanded on Monday by a civil society organisation alliance.
They were speaking at a district convention on the ‘Charter of Demands and Party Manifestos’ under a project titled ‘Deepening Democracy and Election Support in Pakistan’.
Strict implementation of minimum wages, establishment of women police stations, a more transparent system in the Benazir Income Support Programme, sensitisation of NADRA officials to differentiate between Pakhtuns and Afghanis were some of the issues identified during the event, which was jointly organised by the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) and Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) at Karachi Press Club.
Among the residents of District South was a first-year college student from Lyari, Zahid Rehman. According to him, at the Government Degree Boys’ College in Lyari there is insufficient infrastructure. He said there are no electrical fittings at the college. According to Rehman, the budgetary allocation and low enrollment in schools and colleges must be increased and political parties must make it part of their manifestos for the upcoming elections.
Transgender activist Bindiya Rana demanded that political parties include issues of water, sanitation and human rights in their manifestos as well. She added that effective implementation of party manifestos must also be included.
PPF’s senior coordinator Lala Hassan said that the failure of political leadership must not be misunderstood as the failure of democracy. “People say that Pervez Musharraf introduced the local government system but I want to say that the military dictator had no right to rule this country,” he said.
According to him, the civil society alliance expects that political parties will include the citizens’ demands and will reflect them in their election manifestos.
“Issues such as water and sanitation facilities in low income areas, high-quality education for all, human rights for the underprivileged, capacity building, governance monitoring and infrastructure issues should be added in the manifestos of the political parties with effective implementation,” he said.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Sorath Thebo addressed the convention and said elected representatives and political parties need to be serious about resolving the issues of the masses and policies must be made which are suitable for the people. She assured that she would request party leaders to include these demands in their party manifesto.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Muqeem Alam demanded the introduction of a uniform education system across Pakistan and said the ruling provincial government must handover powers to local government representatives.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2017.