Main opposition party the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has launched its manifesto, titled “Strong economy strong Pakistan,” ahead of the upcoming general elections.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif presented the comprehensive manifesto himself at a launching ceremony held in Lahore on Thursday.
According to the manifesto, the PML-N would establish a business and economic council under the prime minister of the country. The party promises to increase the country’s exports to $100 billion and the tax to GDP ratio from 9% to 15% by 2018. Furthermore, the manifesto vowed to double the annual average rate of GDP growth from 3% in the last five years to 6%; to accelerate industrial growth from 3% to 8% per annum; bring down the budget deficit to 4%; raise the investment to GDP ratio from 12% to 20% and improve the standard of PIA and Pakistan Railways.
Regarding the energy sector, Nawaz said that party would generate 10,000 MW additional power. He said his government would construct new coal-fired power plants with 5,000 MW capacity and mobilise investment of $20 billion for them. The party chief said an effective and competent team would execute the energy plan of the party.
For education, the PML-N would increase expenditure on the sector from 2% to 4% of GDP by 2018 and raise the literacy level to 80% from 54%. Danish schools would be spread across the country, he added.
The PML-N would increase expenditure on health from 1% of GDP to 2%; provide medical insurance cards to every family; ensure 100% vaccination of children and 50% reduction in maternal and infant mortality; set up 1,000 mobile health units and establish a district health authority in each district.
The manifesto also promises that once the PML-N comes into power, one million youth would be provided jobs. The PML-N will also hold local government elections within six months of taking the country’s helm, it adds.
Furthermore, Nawaz said the PML-N would form a commission to carve out three new provinces – Hazara, South Punjab and Bahawalpur.
The party also states it has a zero tolerance policy for corruption.
The manifesto promises that the PML-N will form and adopt effective policies towards improving the law and order situation of the country, and will launch an operation in Karachi against criminals.
The party chief said that despite hurdles created by the federal government, the Punjab government has carried out record development works in the past five years.
He claimed that an opposition camp was set up in the Governor’s House against the Punjab government and added that governors have been continuously issuing statements against the provincial government.
Nawaz said that even though an unjust attitude was adopted against the people of the province with regards to power and gas supply, the Punjab government was successful in providing relief to the people by completing development projects.
Replying to questions, Nawaz said his party believes drones are against the country’s sovereignty; he favours the Iran Pakistan gas pipeline project and the army chief would be appointed on a merit/seniority basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.