Ambitious plans

Published: April 12, 2013
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Imran Khan during the launch of his party's manifesto. PHOTO: INP

Imran Khan during the launch of his party's manifesto. PHOTO: INP

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) manifesto, unveiled by senior party leader Shireen Mazari, is an ambitious one. But unlike the documents put out by other parties, it has also quite evidently been more carefully thought out and includes expert opinions on various issues, suggesting that a genuine desire exists within the party to change things around rather than to merely make pledges which sound good, as most of the other major parties appear to have done.

The PTI document is detailed and goes into a fair amount of nitty-gritty when it talks about devolution of governance to lower level, its educational agenda offering learning to every child and taxes on agricultural wealth. However, despite all this, the manifesto titled “Justice for All” raises questions about how the aims laid out in it are to be actually met. It promises, for instance, the eradication of corruption within 90 days. The fact is that corruption exists even in democracies like the US and the UK. Unless Imran Khan possesses some kind of magic wand, this goal, no matter how well meant, seems unattainable. The pledge to end the power crisis within two to three years is somewhat more realistic but we still need more detail on exactly how this is to happen.

The manifesto mentions Taliban militancy, the disempowerment of the Baloch people and sectarian violence as factors which contribute to lawlessness in the country. There has been some controversy in the same category over the reported mention of the Kashmir Jihad waged from within the country in the online version of the manifesto but not in its printed form. Dr Mazari has denied this clause ever existed. The manifesto then consists of a list of good intentions. The sincerity behind it is welcome. But it is also, perhaps, too idealistic. It speaks, for instance, of attaining sovereignty and maintaining good ties with all nations including the US and India. This may be easier said than done. The problems of our country are today extremely grave and it is far from certain that lofty dreams alone can resolve them. Though, of course, we still need to try our best to do so.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • HopeNChange
    Apr 12, 2013 - 12:42AM

    This editorial can be described as “Condescension wrapped in praise inside criticism”.

    I think manifesto is great. Manifesto are idealistic by nature. Track record, intentions & competency is what counts. Otherwise, PPP after disastrous five years has also given a manifesto !!

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  • imnobody
    Apr 12, 2013 - 1:11AM

    Vote for PTI…

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  • Falcon
    Apr 12, 2013 - 1:18AM

    In case it has not been understood by the million explanations before, but the 90-day timeline for corruption only refers to cabinet level corruption…and yes, I do agree that PTI should explicate it to reduce the confusion. For the energy sector comment, you have to look at the detailed energy policy as to how PTI plans to accomplish that. I specially liked the indirect land reforms incentive through proposed agriculture tax on high land holdings & the idea of defense budget rationalization

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  • Junaid
    Apr 12, 2013 - 1:42AM

    “raises questions about how the aims laid out in it are to be actually met.” and “we still need more detail on exactly how this is to happen”. Have you read their policy papers?? Its all written down there! Secondly, it is a manifesto not a white paper, manifesto is just a declaration of intentions or policies. Dictionary defines manifesto as “:a public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate”. So please think before you write an Editorial!

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  • Toticalling
    Apr 12, 2013 - 1:47AM

    A democratic Pakistan, having good relationship with India is a great idea. Good luck. I only hope his sympathies for Taliban likes is just a vote getting trick. PTI should strive for a secular Pakistan and not based on laws which do not fit in the 21st century.

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  • Salman
    Apr 12, 2013 - 3:54AM

    What an interesting editorial. Its like you wanted to really lay into the manifesto but it turned out the manifesto actually made a lot of sense. But you had a few pot shots while reluctantly accepting the manifesto is actually quiet good. You will probably also end up voting for pti….

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  • cautious
    Apr 12, 2013 - 4:14AM

    Manifesto isn’t perfect – especially in the financial arena – but you have to admire the tone of the document. Making the rich pay their fair share is a giant step forward and might provide the springboard to implement some of his other promises. IK may not have the stomach to take on the military or extremist but we already know his competitors have those deficiencies. Pakistan needs a major change and IK seems to be the only politician who is trying.

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  • Usman
    Apr 12, 2013 - 5:02AM

    I like the editor’s optimism. The editor may find it easier to believe in the manifesto if he/she understands the true potential of Pakistan, which is much much more than what Pakistan is today. Our civilian and military govts. of the past have been like a heavy hand that is stopping Pakistan from rising, nullifying any potential in the country with corruption, nepotism and dishonesty. You take these three factors out of the equation or even reduce their effect and you will see Pakistan rise on its own.
    .
    Developing a plan to, for example. to get out of the energy crisis is the easy part. Having the will to implement it is the hard part, and that is where PTI will not fail. This is a very important point we must understand. Developing solutions and road maps is the easy part and we have enough talent in Pakistan to do it. Having a leader at the top who will actually take it seriously and implement it with all his/her power is where we fail time and again.
    .
    Hence I do not understand one bit the repeated calls for ‘how are we going to acheive this?’. We are yet again asking the wrong question. The question should be “does your party leadership have the will to go through with this plan?’ and to that, at least in PTI’s case, the answer is a resounding Yes!

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  • Atif Salahuddin
    Apr 12, 2013 - 8:12AM

    The PTI manifesto seemed like a plagiarised version of the PML-N manifesto, with both advocating more free market reforms which will only lead to more misery.

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  • Ahmad Hassan Awan
    Apr 12, 2013 - 12:51PM

    Well done PTI. Keep it up. I implore all the commentator please come out of your comfort zone and vote for PTI on Election Day. Allah help this party to win and keep its promises. High Hopes. Time for Faith in PTI, Unity for the betterment of Pakistan and Discipline will InshaAllah lead us to our destination.

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  • Rashid
    Apr 12, 2013 - 4:55PM

    How many times? And to how many people? And on how many events?… will IK have to tell that eradication of corruption in 90 days refers to “high-level corruption” at ministries, departments and government-corporations!

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  • Rashid
    Apr 12, 2013 - 4:58PM

    @Toticalling
    PTI is not at all aiming for a secular Pakistan. This is plain and simple and IK has been saying this all along. His idea of an “Islamic Welfare State” completely annihilates any notion of secularism. He has actually categorically denied the vision of Pakistan as any secular state. For him, justice for everyone and upholding of rule of law, along with protection of minorities are all pillars of an “Islamic Welfare” state, and not a secular state.

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