KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan has come up with his party’s most-anticipated *manifesto entitled Road to Naya Pakistan for the forthcoming general election 2018 on Monday (today), claiming to turn Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state based on Madina model after coming into power.
It is yet to be seen how the westernized cricketer of yesteryears and former son-in-law of billionaire Jewish Goldsmiths, comes to power by means of electables and emulates the Madina Model to create a New Pakistan.
Cynics go haywire observing his modus operandi … for instance, when Judiciary disqualified one of his billionaire financers Jahangir Tareen, the New Pakistan’s Quaid unabashedly (towing the mauroosee siyasat line) allowed his son Ali Tareen contest the elections. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah too followed the same formula and gave tickets to those seths who were able to pay for the election expenses. Jinnah died in a marooned ambulance while those so-called electable dirty dozen are still bleeding the country.
The most significant points of PTI’s manifesto are as follows:
- To make the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sovereign as to counter corruption;
- To authorize the people and transmit the power to the village level;
- To initiate a non-political and inclusive judicial model to make sure that Pakistanis get justice forthwith;
- To bring eminent changes to the administrative structure in Karachi;
- To ensure affluent completion of Fata’s merger with KP while providing specific funds for it;
- To promote politics of understanding in Balochistan; raise the movement of south Punjab province, and empower Gilgit Baltistan;
- To uplift the economy by providing 10 million jobs and promoting small-to-mid-level industries;
- To make Pakistan a business hub and turn the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into a game-changer by elevating bilateral relations;
- To preserve water through building dams, resulting in making the agricultural industry profitable for the farmers;
- To launch educational reforms in schools, religious seminaries, and vocational centers;
- To defend national security and resist the terrorists’ narrative, human resources, finances and weaponry as to handle the internal threats the country goes through;
- To curtail the proliferation of arms and ammunition at the international level by inviting India for strategic discussions;
- To tackle environmental havoc by planting 10 billion trees.
On the other hand, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – that has the honor of having an ex-Chairman who was nick-named Mr. 10% when Benazir Bhutto was alive – unveiled a detailed manifesto yet almost similar to the last two editions, claiming to provide the Pakistanis with opportunities.
The noteworthy points of PPP’s manifesto are:
- To control water and energy scarcity;
- To cease rising poverty;
- To make labor policy reform;
- To emancipate women;
- To enhance the rule of law;
- To develop the sector of Information Technology.
Whereas, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif – whose father’s small foundry yielded so much money that the Sharif clan boasts to be one of the richest in the region – exposed his manifesto while asserting that people will decide which party accomplished its 2013 manifesto.
Claiming that his party fulfilled the promises of ousting security concerns and power outage, he presented the following manifesto:
- To safeguard socio-economic aspects;
- To provide health and education facilities;
- To empower the people;
- To curb unemployment by allotting 100,000 jobs;
- To complete the Diamer-Bhasha Dam to eliminate water scarcity;
- To introduce low-cost housing schemes for the poor;
- To improve security conditions across the state.
After comparing all the three manifestos presented by the prominent political parties, it has been observed that PPP and PML-N are going to contest the elections on the old copy/paste manifestos. However, PTI – seemingly with the unique pronunciamento – is likely to give tough time to opponents.
The former government vowed to correct the system vis–à-vis energy while developing infrastructure and law and order back in 2013. In actuality, the masses, to this date, suffer electricity scarcity of up to 18 hours of power outage per day.
Similarly, the economic hub Karachi faces the severest water scarcity of the history. As a matter of fact, those vicinities with water have contaminated water. Hence the nation is bound to buy bottled water, which cannot be afforded to underprivileged people. Thus, much of what was pledged did not even dispatch because of a corrupt system.
Development has only been made in the province of Punjab, leaving behind the other provinces. Many say that instead of equally distributing the funds all over Punjab, the lion’s share had been invested only on certain parts of Lahore (that too for the sake of kickbacks). Unfortunately, the recent rains had shown threadbare some negative aspects of whatever was done for the betterment of people or for the commission. Not to mention that PMLN failed to provide jobs to people during its five-year tenure. Augmenting inflation had made the people’s lives more miserable. Whatever has been done for improving health, education, and environment seems vague.
Coming towards PPP, in the past, it claimed that needy people would be provided a hundred thousand houses. Regrettably, all went in vain. They talked much about women empowerment, however, innumerable ladies are being raped, murdered and abused in Sindh to this day because again and again narrow-minded feudal and their offsprings are voted to the corridors of power. The women employees rates have been estimated low than their counterparts with 86 percent males and 14 percent females only.
Cynics, while comparing the latest manifesto with the past one, go haywire wondering how PPP will fortify IT here when the nation is sans bread, clothes, and homes, the long-lost slogan of PPP?
Juxtaposing PTI’s manifesto, it has been observed that changes are being made in KPK. The system of police is being transformed. Also, the government had planted one billion trees as to curb the impacts of global warming and natural disasters as Pakistan secures the seventh slot on the list of the states most likely to be influenced by global warming with one of the highest deforestation rates in Asia.
It is pertinent to mention here that our governments have been cutting a number of trees in the name of so-called developments, resulting into shrinking the country’s forests to less than three percent of its land area with some 40 percent of the remaining forests are in KPK. Besides, PPP and PMLN have not even discoursed much apropos saving milieu in their latest manifestos as if they, being oblivious with the deadly impacts of global warming, do not know what is happening around the globe.
Back then, PTI’s manifesto talked much about youth as the party claimed to provide them with jobs and better opportunities to acquire education. PTI developed schools with having about 40,000 more teachers, rebuilding institutions exploded by the Taliban and providing others with toilets and electricity. Teacher absenteeism has been reported reduced. The overall health sector is improved with providing better facilities of comprehensive health-insurance cards to poor families.
The most important development ever to happen in the history of Pakistan is to bring corrupt politicians to account and Khan has always been talking about this since 2013. Due to his immense efforts, a judicial commission had been formed to look into the Panama scandal.
Yet again in his yesterday’s address, Khan maintained that influential personalities from PPP are likely to go through the same consequences as PML-N soon. And right after 24 hours, the apex court referring to fake accounts case has ordered to place Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s names on Exit Control List (ECL).
On the ending note, it is pertinent to point it out her that merely the faces are changing but the politics are the same with bogus claims and promises here in Pakistan. The condition of government schools and other sectors predominantly health and public transport is getting fragile with the passage of time.
Status quo prevails for decades and common people are still sans basic necessities i.e. roti, kapra or makaan, potable water, electricity, and employment; in point of fact, the top ruling elite yet again is trying hard to usurp fountainhead of power by offering old wine in new bottles.
Hence, considering the manifestos, pundits at the helm of affairs are of the view that it is useless to rely on the fake promises of those, who could not deliver during their past tenures! Ironically, in the absence of better options, people will either remain at home or vote those who belong to their caste, creed, and belief.
*Manifesto is considered as a published declaration by which parties illustrate their intentions, views, and vision pertaining to national and public concerns including their motives and objectives that they plan to fulfill following assuming charge.
ADB to provide $7.528 bn to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has planned to support Pakistan with lending of $7.528 billion for various development projects during the next three years.
In its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Pakistan 2019-21 revealed on Thursday, the ADB has proposed a sovereign lending program for next three years worth $7.528 billion, consisting of $5.37 billion from regular Ordinary Capital Resource (OCR) lending and $2.158 billion from Concessional COR Lending (COL). COL includes a carryover of $600 million from 2018. The non-lending program for 2019–2021 is $21.7 million, including transaction technical assistance for various pipeline projects. An amount of $2.245 billion in ADB loan financing is allocated for the energy sector, which is 29.8 percent of the total pipeline for 2019–2021.
The pipeline includes a multi-tranche financing facility for Transmission Strengthening (tranche 1) for National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Hydropower Development Project for Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and support for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline Project. For the transport sector, some $1.394 billion of ADB loan financing for the sector (18.5% of the total pipeline) have been allocated for the transport sector. The pipeline includes the Sustainable National Highway Project and the Sindh Hyderabad Southern Bypass Project.
ADB also proposes support for the revitalization of Pakistan Railways to improve transport sector sustainability, including exploring non-conventional financing arrangements. For agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, ADB has allocated $794 million in loan financing to the sector (10.6% of the total pipeline). The pipeline includes the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project, the Kurram Tangi Water Resources Project, and the Smaller Cholistan Water Resources Development Project. Similarly, for water and other urban infrastructure and services, the ADB has allocated $470 million in ADB loan financing (6.2% of the total pipeline). The pipeline includes a cross-sector project readiness facility for Punjab and the Punjab Cities Improvement Project. ADB has also allocated $2.4 billion in loan financing to the finance and public sector management sectors (31.9% of the total pipeline).
The COBP, 2019-2021, includes new projects such as trade and competitiveness program (subprogram 1) in 2019; financial markets development in 2020; infrastructure financing and PPPs in 2021; as well as the second phase of support for the Benazir Income Support Program in 2020. The education and health sectors pipeline includes $225 million in loan financing (3.0% of the total pipeline). ADB’s re-engagement in education and health sectors includes $175 million for projects on secondary education in Sindh and improving workforce readiness and skills development in Punjab, and $50 million projects to improve quality of health care services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
ADB will also provide technical assistance across sectors to help project implementation and to generate and disseminate knowledge products to support policy and project development, as well as to enhance project quality and readiness. Pakistan, a group B developing member country, is eligible for regular OCR lending and concessional OCR lending (COL). The indicative resources available during 2019–2021 for sovereign operations amount to $5,712 billion, comprising $4.29 billion for regular OCR lending and $1.422 billion for COL. The final allocation will depend on available resources, project readiness, project performance and debt distress rating of the country among others. ADB’s non-sovereign operations will supplement these resources. ADB will also explore co-financing from other sources and seek financing from the regional pool under concessional resources and regular OCR for regional cooperation and integration.
Improving ease of doing business
ISLAMABAD: PM has today directed Board of Investment (BoI) chairman to present a comprehensive plan, listing all the issues in various sectors and their sub-sectors and how the processes could be streamlined to simplify procedures related to government approvals, addressing taxation issues, dispute resolution and facilitating investors/businesses.
He said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on improving ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment to facilitate the conversion of interest of the local as well foreign investors into actual investments in the country. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif, federal secretaries and senior officials.
BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif while briefing the prime minister about the steps taken so far said the Board would be serving as an agent of change for facilitating business transactions, removing impediments in the way to the materialization of investors’ interest into actual investments and smooth functioning of the businesses in the country. He also briefed about various issues being faced by the business community including taxation, access to finance, regulation and policy issues and red-tapism.
He said the BoI was also actively working with the provinces and relevant ministries for removing barriers in the way of establishing Special Economic Zones. He said special efforts were being made to bridge the gap between private and public sector and to reach out to the private sector to revive their confidence in government policies and put in place a framework that facilitates business community in its business pursuits. The BoI chairman also briefed about Naya Pakistan Diaspora Fund which was being set-up to promote SMEs and rural development in key areas of education, health, and infrastructure development.
He also apprised the prime minister of the investment framework which had been structured for attracting and materializing investment from UAE, KSA, China, Japan, and Malaysia. It was decided during the meeting that the prime minister would chair a review meeting every month on ease of doing business in the country.
Export of surplus wheat from Pakistan!
ISLAMABAD: According to a notification issued by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research modalities had been devised apropos export of surplus wheat from Pakistan.
The notification reads: “In compliance with the ECC Decision…and thereby ratification of the Cabinet Division…regarding Export of Public Sector’s Surplus Wheat/Products, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research devised modalities. In consultation with the Ministries of Finance and Commerce, for the export of 0.5 million tons of surplus wheat/products of the public sector. Details of modalities are given below:
- The Provincial Governments and PASSCO shall process export of wheat by placing the tenders in the tune of 0.5 million tons of wheat with the following break-up:
- PASSCO-0.10 million tons
- Punjab – 0.250 million tons
- Sindh-0.150 million tons.
- PASSCO and Governments of Punjab and Sindh are allowed to export 0.50 million tons of wheat and wheat products [Flour (Aata) Fine Suji and Maida.
- The successful bidder will provide a performance a guarantee of 120% of the amount of difference between the issue price of wheat (to flour mills) and the bid price, which may be released on submission of an export document’s within 90 days.
- The export of wheat and wheat products should be completed before 30th April 2019, while the export process should be completed up to 30th June 2019. In order to facilitate the exporters for completing their codal formalities.
- The freight support for the export of wheat in respect of PASSCO will be paid by the Federal Government, while Government of Punjab and Sindh shall bear freight support charges for their respective exports.