A glance at JI’s daring election manifesto

Bold manifesto promises free electricity, parliamentary debate on defence spending and revisiting contracts with IPPs

Rizwan Shehzad   January 08, 2024
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Siraj-ul-Haq. PHOTO: FILE


In a bid to chart a new course for the nation, Jamat-e-Islami (JI) has laid out an audacious and comprehensive agenda in its 52-page manifesto.

Despite never having tasted power, the party's blueprint post-election reflects a deep understanding of the country's challenges and an ambitious resolve to address them head-on.

The manifesto not only outlines bold initiatives but also demonstrates a keen awareness of pressing issues.
From wresting control of the country's economy from global lenders to abolishing VIP culture, the JI’s manifesto also includes pledges to make the state bank's governor accountable by amending the central bank's law, revoking privileges like free fuel and utilities, and revisit contracts signed with Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Central to the JI manifesto are promises such as crafting a charter of the economy and envisioning a future through Vision 2050.

The party aims for an interest-free banking system, endeavours to achieve price stability by dismantling cartels and profiteering, and proposes a plan to collect Zakat from 100 million people to pay Rs250,000 annually to 10 million individuals if the party attains power.The party emphasises the enactment of a law that compels voting participation, aiming to eradicate the blackmailing of electables and eliminate political coercion and horse-trading.

Moreover, the party aims to extend voting rights and representation in parliament to overseas Pakistanis while proposing the formation of an impartial commission responsible for evaluating election candidates in accordance with Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. In addition, the party plans to auction off state gifts received through the Toshakhana.

‘Friday off, free electricity’

Surprisingly, in its manifesto, the party vows to reinstate Friday as the weekly off and intends to introduce a constitutional amendment making Urdu the official language and medium of instruction in education.
JI, which has earned the reputation of being among the first ones to help fellow Pakistanis if a calamity hits the countrymen over the years, says that up to 300-unit free electricity will be provided to poor families.
Official, business and all other private events, including weddings, would preferably be held during daylight, it says, adding literacy rate will be increased to 100 per cent; Quran and Sunna’s education will be made mandatory for all institutions; 50 new universities and technical colleges will be established and co-education will be discontinued.

Read JI women wing hosts female social media influencers’ moot

Defence budget

Furthermore, the politico-religious party’s foreign policy, defence, and national security manifesto is uniquely ambitious as it not only carries the routine promise of pursuing independent foreign policy but touches the areas that other parties hardly even come close to.

For instance, the JI says that it will increase the defence budget as per requirement but there will be a debate on it in the parliament, it wishes to end discretionary powers to use defence spending.

The manifesto states that the appointment of service chiefs would be made on merit with the approval of Parliament and announces that military training will be made mandatory for every Pakistani from 18 to 35 years of age.

JI states that the National Security Policy will be based on the Quran and Sunna, the formulation of the national security policy will be completed in consultation with political, and religious parties, and defence and foreign policy experts and final approval will be given by parliament.

It says that there will be no compromise on Pakistan’s nuclear program, adding that Pakistan will be a partner in peace and will not become part of any conflict.

The party says that supremacy of Islam, Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and self-determination of Kashmir would be the main pillars of foreign policy; relations with the world would be based on equality, peace and non-interference; ties would be promoted with the Islamic world and OIC; and improvement in ties with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and all Muslim countries will be a top priority.

Geo-strategic relationship with China will be strengthened, it says, adding all CPEC projects will be completed.

Ties with the US, EU, and Russia would be based on mutual respect and equality, it states, adding friendly ties and trade relationship with India would be linked to the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The party says that the approval of consensus on Kashmir policy will be made by Parliament and no government would be allowed to unilaterally change the policy.

Apart from extending diplomatic, political and moral support to Kashmir in line with UN resolutions, it said that a minister of state for Kashmir will be appointed.

While rejecting a two-state solution, the JI says that there will be no diplomatic ties with Israel till the independence of Palestine. It says that parliamentary approval will be taken of all ambassadors’ appointments.

Ending red-tapism

On the economic front, JI promises to impose a tax on agriculture income and end inequality in assets and income, promises a one-window business project to end red-tapism, action for rupee stability and against money laundering, vows facilitation of foreign remittances and achieve GDP growth rate double than the population growth rate.

The party also promises to go for tax reforms in provinces and at the federal level, aiming for the GST rate to be reduced to five per cent.

The JI says it will go for tax collection from landlords, industrialists and rich classes, saying there will be a reduction in tax rates but an increase in the tax base. The party pledges an increase in the share of direct taxes.
It promises to review the possibility of a fixed-tax regime and launch schemes for the documentation of the economy

On expenditures, JI vows to go for a 30 per cent cut in current expenditures, saying it will withdraw free transport, fuel, and electricity facilities given to the president, PM, CMs, ministers, speakers, chairman Senate, judges of the apex and high courts, army officers, among others. It says the perks of parliamentarians will also be reviewed.

Read more JI urges Karachiites to elect right candidates

Under the debt reduction plan, JI says a gradual reduction in debt burden and early payments of debt would be ensured, promising that a ban will be imposed on imports of expensive vehicles and non-essential goods.

The manifesto also states that tax-free industrial zones will be set up, 25 per cent export by every industry would be compulsory; ambassadors’ promotions will be linked with the export increase, and local automobile industry and scheme for small businesses will be promoted, among several other things.


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