Ambitious PML-N manifesto sets 6pc GDP growth target

Published January 28, 2024
Nawaz Sharif along with his brother, daughter and other party members launched the PML-N’s manifesto for the upcoming elections. — DawnNewsTV
Nawaz Sharif along with his brother, daughter and other party members launched the PML-N’s manifesto for the upcoming elections. — DawnNewsTV

• Nawaz regrets letting PTI form KP govt in 2013
• Party vows to abolish NAB
• Pledges to restore Articles 62, 63 to original form
• Plans to create 10m jobs, reduce power bills

LAHORE: After multiple delays in its release, the PML-N on Saturday published its election manifesto, promising a series of measures to bring down the inflation rate to six per cent and the unemployment rate to five per cent by creating at least 10 million jobs during its five years in power.

The policy document, shared with the media in bullet points, was described as a culmination of three-month-long efforts of over 30 committees of the PML-N. It outlined an ambitious agenda to put the economy on track; for instance, it promised a 20-30 per cent reduction in the price of electricity.

Previously, the pledge to create 10m jobs was made by former prime minister Imran Khan who headed the PTI government from 2018 to 2022, but the promise did not materialise. On the other hand, seemingly in the footsteps of the PPP, the PML-N recently promised 200 free units of electricity to the public after coming to power.

Accordingly, the manifesto said the PML-N government would add 15,000MW to the national grid and implement nationwide 10,000MW solar power initiative, as well as eradicate ever-swelling circular debt. However, the party did not share a concrete plan to rein in this problem.

As far as economic growth is concerned, the PML-N manifesto set a target of six per cent GDP growth, annual exports of $60 billion, and $40bn in yearly remittances from expatriates.

According to the PML-N, it will abolish NAB after coming to power and also restore Article 62 and 63 to their original form.

The manifesto also planned to open evening schools nationwide, establish Daanish schools across Pakistan, increase funding to higher education to 0.5 per cent of the GDP, and establish medical and engineering colleges at the district level. The PML-N also promised free healthcare services for low and middle-income households.

The document also focused on youth, with the former ruling party promising to restore student unions after forming the government, establish a ‘sports university’, and allocate funds for youth-led start-ups and related IT projects. It also promised the youth ample representation in electoral politics, parliament, provincial assemblies, and local governments. However, in the Feb 8 polls, the PML-N has hardly preferred the youth in the award of tickets.

The manifesto also vowed to combat the impacts of climate change and promised a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ towards terrorism. It promised to bring about constitutional, legal, judicial and administrative reforms.

It pledges to make five IT cities and $20bn dollars in IT exports. It includes combating violence against minorities, modernising agriculture and making women independent. The party also vows to introduce a new labour policy to ensure their rights.

Foreign affairs roadmap

PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and others hold party manifesto at its launch, on Saturday.—M. Arif / White Star
PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and others hold party manifesto at its launch, on Saturday.—M. Arif / White Star

Regarding its relationship with India, the policy document said that ties with India cannot be normalised till New Delhi reverses the unilateral measures taken on August 5, 2019, to end the autonomy of Kashmir.

“Relations anchored in mutual respect shared vision for regional stabilities and economic growth,” the document said, adding that the PML-N intended to focus on energy and trade with Russia for regional peace and prosperity.

It also intends to enhance economic and energy ties and cross-border trade with Iran. For Afghanistan, it has said it would like to work together for peace, enhance trade and infrastructure connectivity, and ensure effective border management.

For the US, the PML-N stresses a vital position in Pakistan’s foreign policy. It said it would work together in peace, counter-terrorism, economy, trade, health, education, IT, and climate change.

‘Focus on economy’

Speaking about the election document, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif said if the people elected his party in the Feb 8 polls he “would try to implement the manifesto with a main focus on the economy”.

Mr Sharif regretted that his party should not have let Imran Khan form government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2013, saying he made a mistake by not “nipping evil in the bud”.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2024


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