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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 704, 29 December 2023

PPP’s election manifesto: An ode to the people



The manifesto can be viewed as the party’s proposed solutions to the myriad problems facing Pakistan

Rohini Reenum

On 27 December, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari kickstarted the party’s election campaign and unveiled its manifesto for the upcoming general elections to be held on 8 February 2024. He announced an ambitious ten-point program while addressing a large public gathering in Larkana on the 16th death anniversary of his mother and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
 
According to a report in the Business Recorder, he told the gathering, “Some forces martyred Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto thinking that by doing so they would destroy the PPP, thereby suppressing the voice of the poor, farmers, workers, students and youth.” He commended people for gathering in large numbers to show their support and projected PPP as the only party that could effectively deal with the challenges facing the country.
 
The manifesto can be viewed as the party’s proposed solutions to the myriad problems facing Pakistan

  1. If the PPP wins the elections, it would ensure that salaries double over the next five years.
  2. Free electricity up to 300 units per household for poor and underprivileged families. This would be achieved by establishing green energy parks at the district level and harnessing renewable energy resources.
  3. Quality education to the people across the country to achieve universal education.
  4. Free and improved healthcare services to all. In this regard, Bilawal stated: “Just as we are providing free health facilities to the public through NICVD, Gambat Hospital, SIUT, and JPMC in Sindh, we will extend the same program to every district of the country.”
  5. Under the ‘Apni Zamin, Apna housing project, three million houses would be constructed for the homeless and those affected by floods or living in poverty.
  6. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) which provides social protection to the marginalized, especially women and children to be further expanded.
  7. ‘Hari Card’  will be issued to the farmers and subsidies will be provided directly to the beneficiaries instead of mill owners
  8. Benazir Mazdoor Card will be introduced for all workers in the country and support will be increased
  9. ‘Youth Card’ will be issued for all unemployed youth in the country and youth centers will be established at divisional headquarters for their career counseling and skill development.
  10.  ‘Bhookh Mittao Programme’ would be implemented to tackle the problems of hunger and food insecurity.

What does the manifesto mean?
The PPP is projecting itself as a people’s party, with its manifesto focusing mainly on welfare initiatives and pro-people policies. While addressing the gathering, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari hailed the former president Asif Ali Zardari for introducing the BISP under the party’s slogan ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’ (Food, Clothing, and Shelter), and for championing the transition from dictatorship to democracy in the country. He also highlighted PPP’s past achievements - the devolution of powers through the 18th Amendment and the successful implementation of the National Finance Commission (NFC) award. He reiterated his commitment to tackling the menace of terrorism and enhancing  Pakistan’s international image without providing any concrete plan. It is to be noted that there has been a dramatic upsurge in terror attacks, especially suicide attacks in Pakistan this year. Pakistan has also been dealing with economic and financial distress and any party that aims to deal with Pakistan’s woes must not only ensure its preparedness but should be able to assure the people on that front. Despite these state of affairs, Bilawal showed optimism and emphasized his party’s resilience, competence, and preparedness for tackling the country’s myriad problems and urged the people to bring into power an ‘Awami Raj’.  Whether this ‘Awami Raj’ will be able to earn people’s mandate and become Pakistan’s proposed savior is a tale only time can tell.

References
M.B. Kalhoro, “Bilawal announces ‘manifesto’ at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh,” Dawn, 28 December, 2023
“PPP starts election campaign with 10-point manifesto”, The Nation, 28 December, 2023
“Bilawal unveils 10-point election manifesto,” Business Recorder, 28 December, 2023

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