MANIFESTO-oriented politics is the essential prerequisite of democracy. It discourages personality-based elections and shows that these are the plans the parties are about to pursue in their next tenure if they come to power.

It denies blind faith in personalities and parties and encourages electorates to cast their votes by keeping in view the manifesto of the given party.

But the problem regarding manifesto is twofold. First, there is a colossal gap between theory and practice. Parties put forth their plans before elections but wining horses do no regard themselves bound even by their own pledges.

The PPP, after presenting its original manifesto, came to power five times. However short the stint was, it did not dare follow it once in its real essence.

Second, Pakistan has been surrounded by a number of crises and it is very troublesome but necessary to cover all the problems. There are some impediments in the course of forming a comprehensive manifesto.

The parties not holding the treasury benches and a large number of regional parties have no access to correct governmental record. Consequently, in the absence of relevant information and data it becomes difficult to present a manifesto capable of addressing the complicated problems with all technical formalities.

Secondly, it needs protracted and troublesome efforts. Our political parties lack time because they always present it on the eve of elections as an election campaign tactic.

The recently-issued manifesto of the PML-N does not touch some austere issues like education, terrorism, energy and foreign relations.

For working of democracy in a progressive way, our political parties must render due respect to the sanctity of manifesto and to comprehend the fact that it is far more important than an ordinary piece of paper and election slogans.

It is also incumbent on the part of the public during the upcoming elections to ask candidates, as well as parties, as to how much they had achieved the goals of their manifestos in the past.

ABU BAKAR BHEEL            Lahore

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