The renewal of the political and democratic process has to include both the evolution of the existing political structure and finding innovative new ways in which to enhance political communication, mobilization, development of new leadership, and data sharing. Pakistan Muslim League has always believed in the politics of public service through performance. Gone are the days of personality driven cults determining the destiny of the public at large. In the cutthroat competition of today, delivery matters and PMLN has numbers to flaunt. Globalization and technological renaissance have connected fragmented segments of society, and now required information on any subject is merely a click away. This leaves no room for government spokespersons to quote fake data to the masses.
Developing and capacity building of the future leadership, collection of authentic data, and carrying out both qualitative and quantitative research was the philosophy that drove the inception of the Research Wing. Last month, different working groups of the wing met and took some major issues into consideration which the current government had either misled its citizens about or swept under the rug altogether.
Education Reforms Committee: The committee deliberated on Single National Curriculum (SNC), cross examining it from all aspects. The vision statement, as displayed on the website for federal ministry of education and professional training: “One system of Education for all, in terms of curriculum, medium of instruction and a common platform of assessment so that all children have a fair and equal opportunity to receive high quality education.” While it certainly appears to be an impressive goal, the endeavour has discrepancies, gaps and lot of facts have been overlooked. As such, speculation and debate has been generated at multiple levels. With the prescription of SNC, the federal government is violating 18th amendment of the constitution, encroaching upon the rights of provinces. The current government at the start of its tenure announced four priority areas for education reform: 1. Putting all the out of school children in schools; 2. Eliminating apartheid in education by introducing a uniform curriculum; 3. Enhancing the quality of education; and 4. Promoting technical and vocational education. Unfortunately no improvement has been shown in any of the areas except the imposition of SNC and that too without taking provincial governments into confidence. The matter has never been discussed in any provincial assembly. In an increasingly integrated global landscape when education without boundaries and learning without borders is the call of the day, we would be restricting our children to a dictated version of the Single National Curriculum which would never be broad enough to embed global ideas and thoughts. How would SNC address non-Muslims, minorities, and even different sects within Islam, when elevated to the level of college or university? Would the study of Islamiat not touch upon sensitive issues and potentially lead to sectarian tension in campuses? The committee unanimously concluded that SNC needs to be seriously deliberated, and strongly recommended to take up the matter with all relevant forums including provincial legislative assemblies, academia, key opinion leaders and media.
Commodities & Financial Indicators Committee: The committee examined the nose diving economy of the country and the manner in which PTI has been using COVID-19 to hide its two and a half years of incompetence. Since the Imran Khan government came into being via a rigged election and a stolen mandate, Pakistan has been facing the worst era of governance in its history, marked by disastrous mismanagement of economic policy and condemnable degradation of human development and constitutional rights of Pakistani citizens. Despite the unrealistic proclamations of PTI, Pakistani economy is trembling in each and every sector.
Starting at an economic growth of 5.8% achieved back in 2018, PMLN added $84 Billion in its 5 year tenure whereas PTI dragged down the whole economy to $264 Billion with negative growth of -0.4% in FY-20. As per forecast of IMF, current year’s GDP growth will not be more than 1.5%, the lowest in this region.
The most important indicator of the impact of inflation on the poor and disenfranchised is Sensitive Price Index (SPI). The SPI records bulk of food items and essential household items and states that, within the last 30 months, inflation increased by 31%.
Likewise energy, healthcare, education reforms, agriculture, external debts, foreign investment, foreign trade, and other important segments were examined in detail. The Committee has published a midterm Performance Audit Report of PTI encapsulating and analyzing its 2.5 years of flawed governance. The report is based on data from highly credible sources like SBP, IMF and economic survey of Pakistan.
Social Protection & Poverty Alleviation Committee: Like in all other fields, PTI has successfully maintained its record of poor performance, and is unprecedented in failing to address issues of vulnerable workers, minorities (forced conversion), marginalized communities, minimum wages, social protection & poverty alleviation.
The committee has taken up two important agendas; the first of which is health and life insurance, and regularization of jobs of sanitary workers. The second topic area is provincial legislation for rights for the transgender community. While PMLN passed Transgender Protection Act in 2018, PTI has not initiated legislation or granted the vulnerable community protection at provincial level during last 2.5 years. The committee aims to take these matters into apex court.
Health Care Committee: This committee met under the leadership of Khawaja Salman Rafiq and Khawaja Imran Nazir. The year 2020 brought a test case for the IK regime in shape of the coronavirus and badly exposed the fake claims of rendering best healthcare services to the public.
PTI government has decreased annual health budget by 28% in current fiscal year as compared to the budget allocation of the last year of PMLN government. In Punjab, despite unprecedented effects of global pandemic, the provincial government slashed the health budget by 26.12%. PMLN allocated PKR 42 billion in 2017-18 while actual expenditure was PKR 45 billion. PTI has allocated PKR 33.612 for health sector in 2020-21. Not a single new hospital has been added to the system in the last 2.5 years and there is hardly any substantial expansion or upgradation in existing hospitals, according to Pakistan Bureau of statistics.
The committee aims to expose the performance of PTI healthcare performance at pertinent forums.
(We are thankful to the worthy members of The Research Wing for
providing valuable information & data)