A political party’s manifesto is the policy package based on which the voters vote on Election Day. Time and again, the people of Pakistan have expressed their confidence in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N’s) ability to steer the country out of crises and towards development, and the party has delivered on its promises. A lot of work goes into formulating our manifesto which represents the needs and aspirations of the people of Pakistan. Senator Irfan-ul-Haque Siddiqui, head of PML-N’s manifesto committee, worked with some 30 specialist committees to draft a document on which the people would vote on 8 February 2024.
The subcommittees included those on economy, finance, agriculture and livestock, youth, sports, education, health, information technology, tourism, infrastructure development, environment, human rights, and foreign policy, among others. These sub-committees comprised experts in their respective fields. The main manifesto committee allowed diverse opinions to be heard to fine-tune proposals. This painstaking process has produced a draft that makes plain that PML-N’s priority is the dignity, prosperity, security, and development of Pakistan’s people.
A manifesto is a document through which a party’s performance can be gauged. It is remarkable to see that the PML-N delivered on all the promises it made in the 2013-2018 manifesto and made significant progress on the goals outlined in the 2018-2023 manifesto, even though it had a very small window to work on these goals.
In the 2024 election manifesto, the party’s commitment to prioritising youth and other key areas has remained consistent since 2008. To address the current situation and evolving needs, specific strategies and viewpoints have been incorporated.
In the 2018 election, the PML-N manifesto focused on four Es for youth: education, employment, engagement, and environment. When the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government led by PML-N assumed power, the government wasted no time in implementing PML-N’s vision for youth. The government allocated Rs80 billion for the Prime Minister’s Youth Development Package 2023-24 initiatives. To develop employable skills among the youth, the government disbursed Rs4 billion as skills development scholarships, trained 62,000 men and 38,000 women through the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission, and distributed 200,000 laptops among students. To generate youth employment, in addition to supporting e-Rozgar and offering 50 innovation awards worth Rs160 million to enable young innovators to implement their business ideas, the government disbursed youth business loans worth Rs30 billion among 61,687 beneficiaries. It engaged thousands of youth in sports activities by organising sports competitions and identifying talent in various games. Likewise, young people were engaged in environmental awareness, cleanliness, and tree plantation campaigns.
The party’s past manifestoes can be read as a continuum of its policies and map its journey from where it started. After forming the government in Punjab in 2008, the PML-N implemented its vision for youth spelt out in the manifesto of that election. In 2012, the Punjab government formulated a youth policy for the province after extensive consultation with various stakeholders. Youth development was expanded when PML-N formed government at the Centre in 2013.
During the PML-N’s tenure from 2013 to 2018, Pakistan witnessed significant advancements in governance and economic indicators. Notably, security enhancements catalysed the revitalisation of sectors that had long faced stagnation. The nation showed promising strides toward progress and prosperity, marked by a groundbreaking agreement with China to establish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan’s rating on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index improved consistently in these years. The government’s measures could have yielded tangible results by now, were it not for the rigging in the 2018 election that led to the ascension of its rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to power.
In the 2024 election manifesto, the party’s commitment to prioritising youth and other key areas has remained consistent since 2008. To address the current situation and evolving needs, specific strategies and viewpoints have been incorporated. However, this concentrated effort does not detract from our attention to other critical areas, including judicial and legal reforms, agriculture, education, health, and human rights. Our priorities are well-defined, with robust plans outlined for each sector.
We are optimistic that the people of Pakistan will once again place their trust in our leadership and party. Rest assured, we are committed to not only meeting but exceeding their expectations.
The writer is a former member of the Punjab Assembly and provincial minister for school education. He is currently serving as PML-N’s vice president for Punjab.