KARACHI: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has announced its manifesto for the upcoming general elections. The document comprises several ambitious goals, including wiping out terrorism, lawlessness, unemployment, energy crises and the unequal distribution of wealth.
While unveiling the party’s manifesto, JI chief Syed Munawar Hassan said on Monday that voters should think very carefully about where to place their thumbs on ballots. “A manifesto is not just supposed to be a booklet that is being printed and distributed. What everyone does in five years is the real manifesto. Don’t go for printed words – elect people for their character.”
While elaborating the 29-point party manifesto, he said political parties should be elected on the basis of the past performance – adding that people – especially the youth, should use their right to vote carefully. “Transformation will come through a change in voting behaviour – no NRO or rallies can bring a change.”
The JI chief then said the attack on Awami National Party and Akhtar Mengal had spread fear among people about heading to the ballot box. “People should be assured they would return to their houses after casting vote on the day of elections.”
One of the main points in JI’s manifesto is that the party will strive to eliminate corruption and free the national exchequer from plunderers. “Corruption is the root cause of all problems,” said Hassan, “An honest government can only provide a corruption-free society.” He added that JI has the cleanest track record – in the past over 1,000 people have been elected from different platforms so far but nobody has blamed them for corruption.
Commenting on the situation in Balochistan, the JI chief said cases of kidnapping for ransom had been increasing daily in the province but the people living there put up with the problems instead of revolting violently against their plight.
“Make them feel that they are participating in the country’s political decisions. This feeling is actually more important than participation. To just mend their differences through packages is unfair.”
Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision of disqualifying politicians who seek votes on the basis of religion, sect, cast or ethnicity, was the second-biggest misstep it has made so far, said Hassan. “Taking no action on Supreme Courts’ directions on delimitation was [ECP’s] number one misstep.”
While replying to a question, the JI chief said, “The government should have accepted Taliban’s offer of negotiation but they turned it down just because of pressure [from abroad]. We should try to win back Taliban, they are our people.” Hassan said terrorism has increased since the war on terror began in the region, adding that only terror has increased and war hasn’t brought about any favourable results.
Talking about the seat adjustment issue with the Pakistan Muslim-League (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Hassan said negotiations took place but no concrete agreements could be made. Hassan said that JI had 6 meetings with PML-N but in the end, this did not bear any fruits. “As for the PTI, we haven’t thrown any ball at Imran Khan so there was no question of him playing a shot against us.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2013.