(Mustaqbal and Pakistan)
This is the covenant that we at Mustaqbal Pakistan make with the people of Pakistan. Hold on to it:
We envision a stable, democratic, economically prosperous Pakistan. We seek to empower all of Pakistan's citizens, regardless of gender, faith, class or creed, to achieve their aspirations for the future. We promise to guarantee, unreservedly and absolutely, all the fundamental rights that our citizens deserve and demand. These include, without reservation, all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948.
We undertake to end forever the detention of our citizens - all of our citizens - without a warrant or court order. We swear to extirpate the loathsome practice of torturing detainees in police custody to obtain confessions or information. We refuse categorically to 'hand over' our citizens to any foreign government without due legal process. We demand that all our citizens - even the poorest of the poor - be treated with respect and dignity by all agents of the state.
We resolve to make the legal system free of any influence from the government or any external agencies. We promise to make due judicial process a pillar of our society. The law will be applied with fairness and integrity. No one, not the rich, not the influential, will be exempted.
Corruption has ramified deep into the foundations of our society. We vow to begin the difficult process of disinterring it.
We pledge to combat crime by attacking its causes: poverty, hopelessness, destitution, social deprivation, and the spread of weapons and drugs.
We resolve to make literacy a 'universal' right of all Pakistanis.
We recognize the inherent and exceptional creativity and industriousness of the Pakistani nation. We pledge to provide the enabling socio-economic framework for these abilities to develop, thrive, and reach their full potential.
We promise to bring about a fundamental shift in the way politics is conducted in Pakistan.
We will bring into politics fresh faces and minds. We will not field candidates - for any assembly - who have previously been elected to any public office. All our candidates will be chosen from the ranks of professionals: teachers, doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers etc. These will be people who have distinguished themselves in their communities by their honesty, selflessness, dedication and professionalism.
We will not be the party of an individual or a family. We will develop an institution, a democratic institution, which will elect its own leaders based on the quality of their character, not the character of their blood.
Why Mustaqbal Pakistan?
Pakistan is in danger. Our politicians have failed us. These are the questions that need to be asked: Are the people who sit in our assemblies, make our laws and decide our future, the best, the brightest, and the most competent of our people? Are they people of excellence, dignity and honour?
Mustaqbal Pakistan is a new political party whose primary objective is to bring about a fundamental change in the way politics is conducted in Pakistan. We believe that in the absence of such change Pakistan will not survive.
Our task at Mustaqbal is to bring into Pakistani politics people of competence, integrity and honour. That these people exist is not in doubt. But until now they have demurred from entering Pakistani politics. This is a luxury they can no longer afford.
Who We Are
We are people much like you, ordinary people: professionals and business people, engineers and architects, doctors and lawyers. Some of us live and work abroad, others are in Pakistan.
Our names and our faces are not important. What is important is what we want to do for Pakistan and for Pakistani Politics.
We are not politicians. And, in normal times, we would have no inclination to be involved in politics. But these are not normal times. Pakistan today confronts existential challenges.
We at Mustaqbal believe that our politicians – whether they are in government or in opposition – do not have the ability to guide Pakistan out of its troubles.
This is because politics today is almost a dirty word. It has come to be associated with incompetence, corruption, lies, extortion, intimidation, violence, and yes, even stupidity.
It is a measure of the depth to which politics has sunk that some of our colleagues – people of merit and excellence – are apprehensive about having their names linked publicly with Mustaqbal.
This is not the way it should be. It should be that the best of Pakistan's people are drawn to the political process and should participate vigorously in it. They should be able to do so without fear for themselves or their families.
Our goal then is nothing short of ensuring that the best, the most competent and the most capable of Pakistan's people vie for elected office – at all levels, provincial and national.
We have thought about this long and hard and we are confident that this is an achievable goal. But, we have no illusions. The road will be long, tortuous and difficult. Success, by no means, guaranteed.
People ask us: Have you lost your minds? Do you really think that you have a chance in the rough and tumble of Pakistani politics? Are you not afraid for what might happen to you and your families?
These are pertinent questions. We realize that these risks exist. But, we also realize that doing nothing is no longer an option.
Meet the Chairman
In electing me to be the first chairman of Mustaqbal Pakistan my colleagues have, at once, honoured and humbled me. My term, as per the Party's constitution, will run for four years. I have no doubt that this will be a period of challenge and hardship. Setting up a new political party, in the best of circumstances is, hard. Doing it in the overtly hostile, sometimes violent and always treacherous political climate of today's Pakistan may be nothing less than a miracle of biblical proportion.
But it must be done. What will make the task bearable is the unflinching support of the core group of people who have come together to put Mustaqbal Pakistan together. They have the vision to see what is needed to save Pakistan. They are some of the brightest, most competent people I know. They are all Pakistanis. And I know that there are many, many more like them. And to these I want to say: Your time has come. Join us. Together we can transform Pakistan into a place which we will all be proud to call home.
It is only fair that you know something of my background:
My father was born in Chiniot, and my mother in Lahore. I was born in Karachi in 1955. My father, a Civil Engineer, worked for the Government of Pakistan. During the early years of my life he was moved to many different cities. I lived in Quetta, Dacca, Rawalpindi and, Glasgow.
My father's final posting was in Karachi. Here I attended Karachi Grammar School where I did my “O” and “A” levels. After I finished at Grammar School, I went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974 where I studied Civil Engineering and earned the SB and SM degrees in 1978.
From there I went to work for a construction company in Saudi Arabia. In 1980, I returned to Boston and the Harvard Business School from where I graduated with an MBA in 1982.
The next 25 years were spent in the Middle East where I was involved in setting up several companies. During this period I became very interested in Arabic, as a language, and started to study it formally. In 2003 I earned an M.A. in Arabic.
In 2006, I returned, after a long absence, to live in Pakistan.
Nadeem Mumtaz Qureshi
POLICIES - An Overview
The most urgent objective in Mustaqbal's platform is to bring about a complete and fundamental shift in the way politics is practiced in Pakistan. We expect the changes we will bring about will change the form and substance of Pakistani Politics beyond recognition.
The Mustaqbal Platform covers the following general areas:
•Social and Human Development
Social and Human Development
Mustaqbal recognizes that Pakistan's single most urgent problem is the condition of the vast majority of its people. The critical areas that we will address are: illiteracy, sanitation, the supply of clean water and health care. Our specific goals will include:
•Education - Within 5 years of taking office we will make primary education universal. Secondary education will be made universal within 10 years.
•Access to toilets and sanitation facilities for the entire population within 5 years of taking office.
•Supply of clean, potable water to the entire population within 5 years.
•Health Care - Our target will be to have one doctor for every 3500 people (1:3500) within 5 years of taking office. This will include rural areas. Entrance to Medical School will be made conditional to working for at least 5 years in a Government designated rural area after graduation.
Mustaqbal believes that no civil society can exist without strong, independent institutions which provide prompt, inexpensive and unbiased justice to its citizens. Hence Mustaqbal commits to the following:
•Ensure that the Judiciary enjoys complete independence from the influence of the government or any other external agencies.
•Double the number of courtrooms and judges in the country within 5 years from taking office.
•Enforce measures, in consultation with the legal profession and the judiciary, which prevent needless delay in the settlement of both civil and criminal proceedings. Such measures would include placing time limits during which such cases must be decided. The time periods that are currently envisioned are: one year for civil cases and two years for criminal cases.
•We will regard any incidence of corruption or bribery amongst judges or other officers of the courts at par with high treason. Extreme exemplary punishment will be applied to the offenders.
•Arrest or detention of any citizen of Pakistan without a clear, valid court order will not be countenanced.
•The quality of jails and other detention facilities in the land will be carefully monitored.
•We will set down strict standards which will regulate the way prisoners are treated. These will pertain to their rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They will also address issues such as nutrition, exercise, physical and mental health and family visits.
•Unrestricted access to all detention facilities will be provided to recognized and registered national and international NGO's such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International etc.
Main objectives are:
•Raising living standards.
•Finding the 'right' public-private mix for economic development.
•Improved power generation through a combination of more power plants and sensible conservation measures.
•Development and upgrading of transport systems - both intercity and intra city.
•Enhanced industrial development based on a government supervised industrial policy.
•Fundamental reforms to the tax system to make it more transparent and fair.
•Zero tolerance for corruption at any level in government.
The overriding concern in defence policy will be to reduce military related expenditure while at the same time enhancing our ability to defend, and successfully repulse an attack from any would be aggressors: Specific goals are:
•A careful assessment of the nature and level of potential security threats faced by the country.
•Refocusing resources to match conventional military capability to these specific threats.
•Enhancing our strategic defence capabilities.
•Reducing to bare minimum resources allocated to offensive capabilities.
This is an area where Mustaqbal commits to bring in fundamental change in the way politics is conducted in Pakistan. Specific goals are:
•Introduce the concept of 'issue based politics' to replace the politics of 'personality'. In other words we will educate voters to choose a party based on its policies rather than on the personality or family name of its leader.
•Bring into the assemblies people who are intelligent, honest, and competent, people who have demonstrated their dedication to serving their communities and country.
•Bring civility to the conduct of election campaigns. Activities that inconvenience the general public will be outlawed. This includes, for example, the 'juloos' - large processions that proceed at snail’s pace through city streets disrupting the life of ordinary citizens and bringing normal economic activity to a halt.
•Zero tolerance for corruption at any level of politics.
For too long, in Pakistan, have we ignored the environment. The air and water in our cities is polluted, in some cases to levels that threaten the physical and mental development of our children.
Mustaqbal will make concern for the environment the corner stone of all our policies. Policy making in all areas will be subject to environmental compliance.
Justice and Police
This whole system of justice and policing is so fraught with inefficiency, corruption, victimization and egregious excesses that it will need a complete revamp.
• Absolute and complete independence of the judiciary
• Uniform application of the law to the rich, the poor, and the illiterate
• Rewriting of legal code to free it of colonial influence
• Use Pakistani lawyers not foreign 'consultants' to draft the new law
• Reduce delays in the delivery of justice
• Hence: double the number of courtrooms and judges within 5 years
The central plank of Mustaqbal's justice policy will be to guarantee the absolute and complete independence of the judiciary from any external influence whatsoever. No one - not the government, not the prime minister, not the president, not the army - will be allowed to influence or interfere with the working of the courts.
We will ensure that the law is applied uniformly, to all citizens regardless of social status, religion or creed. People of influence and power will no longer be able to violate the law with impunity. And people of limited means - the poor and the illiterate - will no longer be victimized: they will not be allowed to languish in jail awaiting trials that are endlessly delayed. They will no longer be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention without a court order. They will no longer be second class citizens. All citizens of Pakistan will be made equal in the eyes of the law.
Bringing all this into effect will not only require a change in mind set, but also a fundamental re-writing of the legal code. Pakistan's legal code is, at best, archaic. Much of it dates back to colonial times. Parliament must enact a complete refurbishment of the laws. This is one of many reasons why Mustaqbal will insist that all its candidates for parliament be educated professionals.
Historically, efforts to rewrite laws have been cosmetic and piecemeal. Expensive foreign legal consultants have been brought in to do the drafting for a rubber stamp parliament. Mustaqbal vows not to use any foreign help in a matter that is so crucially 'local'. We believe that our home-grown legal talent is second to none. We intend to put them to work.
The number of judges and courtrooms will be increased significantly to handle the existing workload. Justice, if it is to be fair, must be dispensed promptly. It is unacceptable that the legal infrastructure, in terms of judges and courtrooms, remains substantially today - for a nation of 170 million - as it did, many decades ago, when we had 40 million people. A plaintiff who files a case today has to wait several years, or decades for a decision. Delay is the antithesis of justice. And if there is a single, central theme that runs through Mustaqbal's ideology it is the concept of justice. We will not tolerate injustice in any form.
There is so much that is wrong with the way our police works that it is perhaps best to throw away the book on policing in Pakistan, and start with a clean sheet of paper. Almost nothing in the existing system or structure is worth retaining. In designing a new police system, Mustaqbal will keep the following aspects in mind:
• Redesign system of policing from scratch to bring about fundamental change in the 'culture' of policing in Pakistan
• Police personnel to be trained to interact with the public with respect and courtesy, and to serve and protect the public not to intimidate, torture and harass
• Police stations to be made places where the public is comfortable to enter and to discuss their concerns or problems
• The above to be concurrent with public education programs to encourage more respect for and cooperation with the police
It is imperative that all police personnel - from a constable to an inspector general - be trained to deal with the public. Mustaqbal believes that the police are there to serve and protect the public - not to intimidate, coerce or otherwise harass them. This has to be ingrained in their training. The police must learn to treat members of the public - all members whether they be rich or poor, black or white, dishevelled or well dressed - with extreme respect and courtesy. Police stations must be places where people feel comfortable enter, where they receive a courteous reception, and where their concerns or problems are heard with sympathy.
This will mean a fundamental change in 'culture' of the police force. It may not happen overnight. But Mustaqbal vows that it will happen.
• End present methods of 'investigation' in which people are rounded up without warrants on hunches, and tortured to extract confessions
• Those who continue to indulge in this practice to feel full force of the law
• Replace the existing 'method' with modern forensic techniques under strict control of the courts: no arrest without a warrant, no physical abuse of prisoners in any way
The way that investigation is now conducted is absolutely unacceptable: Suspects are rounded up on unsubstantiated hunches, and without a warrant. They are then 'questioned' this is a shameful euphemism for what can only be described as torture. This we will not accept. And those who indulge in it - at whatever level in the police, or government or any of its agencies - will bear the full wrath of the system.
We propose to bring police investigation in line with the best practices now followed in the West: No arrest or search without an unambiguous court order, interrogation (and only interrogation) under carefully controlled and judicially approved procedures, use of modern forensic methods to generate evidence, etc.
• Provide clearly defined legal framework to enable police to do their job effectively without trampling on individual liberties and rights
The police cannot operate in a vacuum. There must be a clearly defined legal framework to detail and delimit the working of the police force. This task will fall upon the legislature. And Mustaqbal - to the extent that it gains a working majority in the houses of parliament - will not be found wanting in generating and enacting this framework.
Policing is a two way street. While the police are trained, the public has to be educated. The public must understand that the police is there to help and serve the community. Cooperating with the police and following their instructions is part of the onus carried by every member of the public. Mustaqbal will work with the media to generate this awareness and so usher in a new era of police - public cooperation.
• Condition of our jails is unacceptable
• This is both inhumane and encourages corruption
• Hence we will build new jails and upgrade old ones so that prisoners do not lose their human dignity and self respect
There are two problems with this:
One, it is simply inhumane to detain prisoners in an environment which all but strips them of their basic human dignity.
And two, it is an invitation to corruption: Those who are able to afford it, even if they are innocent, will pay whatever is necessary to avoid being sent there even for a short time while their cases are decided. This is why we see this strange phenomenon of 'bail before arrest'. In the end, the condition of our jails is a statement about us and our worth as a civil society. By this standard, today, we rank amongst the lowest of the low. Mustaqbal will do all in its power to lift the standard of our jails to an acceptable level.
• Police cannot alone prevent crime. Hence:
- Reduce poverty, hopelessness, unemployment
- Interdict easy availability of weapons and drugs
Mustaqbal recognizes that the police alone cannot prevent crime. Responsibility for this falls on all of us - the government, the public, and the legislature. So long as there is grinding poverty, and debilitating unemployment, and hopelessness, there will be crime. And, so long as deadly firearms are as available as easily as chewing gum, there will be crime. And so long as the government of the day is oblivious to the suffering of the people, or is unable to alleviate it, there will be crime. This is a challenge that requires multidisciplinary coordination of all available resources and minds to achieve a laser like focus on this clearly existential threat to our society and nation. We believe the only party which can do this is Mustaqbal.
Economy and Finance
• Eradication of poverty by:
- Job creation
- Bring jobs to where the population is - rural and urban
• Commitment to private capital - but - public sector must play its role
• Government ownership and control of:
- Power generation and distribution
- Water resources and distribution
• Controlling Government equity in critical organizations:
In designing economic policy our central concern is the eradication of poverty. This means educating people, empowering them and putting them to work. The main tenets of our economic policy hence are:
• Education - in the broadest possible sense to include schooling, technical training, university etc.
• Job creation by launching projects in manufacturing, services, and agriculture.
• Bringing the jobs to the people by ensuring geographic congruence between populations and projects.
We believe that these goals can be substantially achieved by the deployment of private capital in the framework of free markets. But we also believe that markets are not perfect and need guidance, regulation and control.
Successful economic development can take place only as the result of an effective public - private partnership. And so we believe in an expanded economic role for the government, especially in areas where it is uniquely placed to make a difference.
We will ensure that the following public service utilities remain firmly in government control and possession:
• Power generation and distribution
• Water resources
We will ensure that the government will retain a controlling equity interest in the following entities:
• Pakistan International Airlines Corp
• Pakistan National Shipping Corp
• Pakistan Telecommunications Company
• Protect nascent industries where necessary
• International finance organizations:
- Move away from needing their support
- Develop policies that are in our interest not theirs
• Fiscal and Monetary Policy:
- Conservative approach
- Seek to balance budget
- Minimize need for external support
• Boost government revenue by:
- Cutting needless expense
- Rationalizing the taxation system
- Moral Suasion
- Manage money supply to match natural growth
We are not convinced that the trade policies espoused by the likes of the World Trade Organization work to the benefit of a developing country like Pakistan. And in this regard we will seek to protect our nascent industries from competitors who are well along the experience curve.
Relationship with international finance organizations
We will maintain an independent stance in regard to international finance agencies such as the IMF and World Bank. We believe that their standard policy prescriptions can be myopic and doctrinal and do, in many cases, more harm than good.
Our ultimate objective is to wean Pakistan away from the succour they provide and rely instead on internally developed resources.
We will follow an extremely conservative fiscal policy which will seek to eliminate or severely limit any government borrowing. The operating principle of our policy will be: "If you don't have the money, don't spend it".
Our strategy will be to enhance revenue collection by rationalizing the taxation system and laws. Corruption will not be tolerated. Taxpayer money will be treated with extreme care. We believe that Pakistanis are patriotic and generous. They will not hesitate to support a government which they know will handle their hard earned money with respect.
Monetary policy will be managed to keep inflation in check while allowing for normal economic growth. Banks will be instructed to be extremely conservative. The thoughtless creation of consumer credit will be strongly discouraged.
• Tightly regulate financial markets to prevent speculative activity
• Financial Markets to be used only as a source of long term investment capital
• Develop new financing vehicles in a manner consistent with Islamic principles
• Move away from concept of 'the time value' of money
We plan to regulate markets tightly to severely limit any speculative activity. We believe the role of financial markets is to act as an intermediary in helping citizens to provide long term capital for agriculture and industrial development. Citizens, as investors, expect security and stability and accept an exposure to normal business risk. What they do not expect, or deserve, is that they become the victims of speculative, predatory and short term manoeuvres that seek to subvert the purpose for which such markets are designed.
• Fundamental reform of tax code
• ITO powers to be severely curtailed
• Will not be able to freeze accounts without court order
• Will not be allowed to summon taxpayers to their office, instead will have to seek an appointment to visit taxpayers
• The days of the Raj are over
We will implement a fundamental reform of the tax code. The existing tax code remains, in essence that inherited from colonial times. It gives sweeping powers to Income Tax Officers allowing them to 'summon' tax payers and to freeze their accounts without recourse.
The tax code Mustaqbal will enact will be fair and transparent. ITO's will not have any authority to summon, or freeze or take any other precipitous action without a court order. If they wish to interview a taxpayer they will have to seek an appointment and go to the taxpayers’ premises for a meeting. The days of the Raj are over.
We will seek to foster a 'partnership' between the state and the taxpayer. In the end, the successful running of the state, indeed its very survival, depends on the ability to collect taxes. Mustaqbal believes in the Pakistani people. We know that In return for equity, transparency, fairness and ample mechanisms for recourse, Pakistanis will rise to occasion and become model citizens and taxpayers.
• Knowledge based approach
• Develop own technology
• Private ownership
• Protection where necessary or strategically vital
• Enlist support of universities
• Set up research and technical training institutes
• Ensure adequate investment capital
Focus on maximum capture of 'value chain'. In the modern world industry is synonymous with power, wealth and influence. It is imperative that Pakistan be an industrial power Mustaqbal will seek to develop indigenous capability. Industry is not just buildings and machines. Above all it is knowledge.
We will develop the knowledge to design and build machines, and to develop and license our own industrial processes. We will break away from our reliance on foreign technology and machinery. Only then can we claim we have made progress.
It is not progress to import 100% of your textile machinery, and then claim that you have a textile industry. The same applies to all other industries. Being an industrial power means developing and owning the knowledge to build the machinery and processes used in factories and plants.
The factors we will consider in developing an industrial policy include the following:
• Knowledge and expertise - do we have it?
• Capital - sources and availability
• Target markets - local or export
• Resources - available locally or imported
• Strategic considerations - vital to sovereignty or not
• Fit with overall national economic policy:
- Raising standards of living
- Lowering unemployment
- Meeting domestic needs
• Trade related aspects
- Protection from dumping
- Need for trade barriers
We believe that the government should not own and operate industry. Its role is to guide, coordinate, allocate, assist, and enable. Accordingly, we will empower the Ministry of Industry to take a much more active role in developing and directing a coherent integrated industrial strategy.
We will have no hesitation in shielding our nascent industries from external competition whenever we deem this to be necessary.
Given that agriculture is Pakistan's economic backbone; we will seek especially to develop industries that add value to agricultural produce.
Industry is above all dependent on know-how. Hence we will insist on close collaboration between academia and industry. To this end we will allocate resources, as necessary, to develop R&D capabilities at our technical and engineering universities.
We will seek to capture as much of the 'value chain' in manufacturing within the country. This means, in general, that the starting point of all industries should be basic raw materials preferably from local sources. And the end point should be intermediate or finished goods or products to which further value addition is not possible or desirable for economic or strategic reasons.
We believe Pakistan's textile strategy in the past has been simplistic and misguided. This is what we intend:
• Become a world leader in the processing - spinning, weaving and finishing - of cotton.
• Limit severely the export of simple, low value (22 counts) yarn.
• Insist that maximum possible value addition to yarn and fabric takes place before export.
• Develop the indigenous capacity to manufacture all required textile machinery locally. Leading eventually to the complete phase out of imported textile machinery
• Amalgamate all existing cotton and textile research institutes - whether in the public or private sector - into a single public sector entity. This entity will be tasked with providing comprehensive support to the textile industry. It will conduct leading edge research on all aspects of the textile chain - starting from cotton growing, ginning, spinning etc until finishing and marketing.
Steel, non ferrous metals
The ability to manufacture, process, form, mold, draw, shape and weld metals remains the key to industrial power. To this end we do not believe that the way forward is to continue to sustain and develop legacy projects based on ancient technology and imported raw materials such as the Steel Mills complex in Karachi. The way forward is to develop several, relatively smaller, steel plants based on locally available raw material and innovative technology.
We will seek to encourage the development of high performance, value added steel alloys needed to support special industrial and defence related applications. Similarly we will seek to develop indigenous capacity in the mining and manufacture of other non ferrous industrial metals.
This includes the manufacture of cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, railway locomotives and carriages, and aircraft.
• Cars: In line with our overall transport strategy which focuses on mass transit, Mustaqbal does not deem investment in the manufacture of cars to be a priority. Accordingly, we will require the industry to consolidate and to reduce its dependence on the import of parts and components. Specifically, we will require that all automobile parts and components be made locally within a period of three years from our taking office.
• Trucks and Buses: This is an area to which we intend to attach a high priority. Buses form an integral part of our transport strategy. And trucks are critical to national development.
We find it unacceptable that such equipment is still, in large part, imported. The following measures will be taken:
• The import of finished trucks and buses will be banned with immediate effect
• Import of parts and components will be subject to gradual 'deletion' over a period of 3 to 5 years
• A complete ban on the import of engines and transmissions and related parts will go into effect in 5 years from taking office.
In order to support the introduction of locally manufactured engines and transmissions within the 5 year time frame, the Government will provide R&D support to companies and engineering universities. Such support will be used to design and build bus and truck sub-systems from purely indigenous technology and materials.
• Railway locomotives and carriages: Pakistan Railways does have some experience and facilities in building carriages. We intend to use this capability as a core on which to build a much broader entity tasked with developing and building locomotives as well as carriages.
It is vital, in line with Mustaqbal's transport policy, that Pakistan be able to build railway locomotives with indigenous materials and technology. We believe the nature of the market for locomotives will mean that this manufacturing will have to take place in the framework of a Government owned entity.
Mustaqbal envisions involving academia in R&D support both in enabling technologies and in manufacturing processes to support this vital effort.
• Aerospace: Such capability as exists today is limited to rockets and ballistic missile systems in the defence establishment. Mustaqbal will seek of course to enhance this capability in line with our Defence Policy. But we will seek further to develop capabilities in aircraft design and manufacture for both civilian and military uses.
This is clearly a very ambitious objective and cannot be achieved in the context of a single country. This is due to the heavy investments involved and market considerations. It seems to us that the way to approach this is through a pan Islamic effort. A Mustaqbal led government will make it a high priority to contact interested countries to forge such a project.
We will also make it a high priority to build on existing ballistic missile technology to develop space launch vehicles that can take a commercial payload to geostationary earth orbit.
• Ban use of A/C's in all Government offices
• Develop wind and solar power
• Build only small dams
• No to large dams such as Kalabagh
• Build 'mini hydro’s - small turbines on streams and rivers
• Develop 'clean burn' coal technology
• Support research in nuclear power generation
Energy is the life blood of an economy. The challenge is to generate and distribute energy in a cost effective, clean and sustainable way.
Mustaqbal's energy policy has two themes: Conservation and Generation.
Conservation is critical because it can yield some immediate short term benefits. These are the conservation measures that a Mustaqbal led government will take:
• Ban the use of air conditioning in all government and semi government offices (central and provincial), regardless of whether these offices are equipped with air conditioners or not. This is a luxury Pakistan cannot afford at present. The ban will result in immediately freeing up generating capacity and allow a reduction in load shedding. And, in any case, it is unconscionable that those who are supposed to serve the public sit in closed, cooled offices while the vast majority of our public may not even have access to basic services.
• Consult with architects and their associations to develop guidelines and building codes that enhance the role of natural ventilation, and encourage the use of insulating materials. The object is to obviate the need for artificial cooling.
• Consult with industry associations and energy consultants to optimize energy usage in factories. Combine this with tax breaks and other incentives to those who demonstrate energy savings.
Mustaqbal's approach in setting generating policy will seek to minimize the environmental impact of power generation. Our objective will hence be to promote renewable sources of energy wherever possible. However, existing technology will not permit us to rely entirely on renewable sources. So, it is inevitable that we will have to continue to rely on conventional methods.
Renewable include: wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal sources of energy. Some people would include hydro power in this category but we will treat this as a special case.
Wind turbines now in use are efficient and cost effective and are widely used in the developed world. In Spain, for example, on a good (i.e. windy) day, wind power contributes more than 10% of all power supplied to the Spanish grid.
The problem here in Pakistan is that we have failed to encourage or develop the technology and subsequent ability to indigenously design and manufacture wind turbines. This means that any scheme to generate power from wind in Pakistan would have to rely on imported turbines.
This is unacceptable to Mustaqbal. We will insist that all wind turbines used in Pakistan are manufactured here. This could be done through technology transfer or through indigenous R&D. We are inclined towards the latter option since the technologies involved are basic and well understood.
Pakistan, as a tropical country, enjoys plentiful sunshine all year round. This blessing must be exploited.
Mustaqbal's solar strategy has two prongs to it:
• Direct conversion to electricity by the use of photo voltaic solar cells.
• Heat capture through absorptive materials, or at the focus of concave reflecting surfaces.
DIRECT CONVERSION first: The cost and efficiency of conventional silicon based photo voltaic cells makes this method expensive and largely impractical for large scale use in a country like Pakistan.
However, Mustaqbal plans to fund basic research at our universities with the objective of developing new photo electric materials which are efficient and can be produced at a low cost.
HEAT CAPTURE, on the other hand, is something that can yield immediate results. Applications can include water heaters and stoves in remote rural areas. Mustaqbal will seek a partnership between government, industry and academia to make functional solar devices available to the rural population.
Tidal and Geothermal
These are still largely experimental technologies whose practicality has not yet been demonstrated.
Mustaqbal will review them in the context of specific geographic or regional features peculiar to Pakistan which may make either or both of them feasible.
The evidence now shows that the damage done by large hydro electric power projects outweighs the potential benefits. Large dams displace people, destroy the habitats of wildlife, and cause unpredictable environmental damage. There is also now the suggestion of potential seismic distortions in the Earth’s crust that can cause, or amplify earthquakes. Such dams are also prohibitively expensive, have limited life spans, and result in divisive political controversies.
In view of these factors, Mustaqbal is not in favour of large hydro electric dams such as the proposed Kalabagh dam. Hence a Mustaqbal led government will not build the Kalabagh dam, or any other similar project.
Mustaqbal is in favour of small scale hydro electric projects. Such projects would be designed to be 'slotted in' to fast moving river flows in rural areas and provide power to one or several villages. The equipment could be just a single shore mounted turbine attached to a generator.
The challenge is to design and build these turbines and generators locally at a reasonable cost. And then to identify locations along the entire length of all our river systems to see where such 'mini hydros' could be slotted in.
Mustaqbal will focus the nations resources to develop the technology to build and deploy the equipment needed for these 'mini hydro' projects.
We have defined 'conventional' power plants to mean plants in which power is generated either by gas or steam turbines. Gas turbine plants tend to be limited in the sort of fuels they can burn. This is because the fuel - gas or liquid - has to be burned in the turbine itself. Whereas in steam turbine plants the fuel is burned externally to produce steam which then powers a turbine. So steam turbine plants can operate on solid fuels such as coal. This means increased flexibility and generally lower costs.
Pakistan is poor in petroleum resources hence gas turbine powered plants would have to rely primarily on imported fuels. Whereas steam turbine plants could be operated from local resources such as coal.
Hence Mustaqbal believes that the preferred option for Pakistan is steam turbine plants. We also strongly believe that the technology to manufacture such plants should be developed locally.
It is worth stating that conventional power plants are large sources of atmospheric pollution. Mustaqbal will encourage the development and use of clean burning technologies that would seek to improve combustion efficiency and minimize the environmental footprint of such plants.
Nuclear power generation is a special case of a steam turbine plant. The steam in this case is generated by heat produced in a nuclear reactor.
While power produced by nuclear plants is 'clean', the danger lies in the disposal of radioactive waste produced by the reactor. Such waste is highly radioactive and can remain so for tens of thousands of years. The challenge is to store it in a manner that keeps it ‘insulated’ from the environment for this long period of time.
Mustaqbal believes that, while dangerous, nuclear power cannot be ignored as a potential source of power. We will hence continue to fund research and development in this area but will not seek to build nuclear power plants in the short to medium term.
• Recognize that agriculture is back bone of Pakistan's economy
• Improve water management
• Educate farmers
• Upgrade infrastructure and facilities in regard to:
• Review of land ownership and distribution to achieve equity and efficiency
• Improve and develop agriculture universities, research facilities and institutes
• Direct a gradual shift away from petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides
• Encourage a return to organic and traditional methods
Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan's economy. These are the central elements of Mustaqbal's agricultural policy:
• Direct a gradual shift from farming based on petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to organic and traditional methods
• Improve water management by reducing losses in transmission
• Educate farmers both in terms of general literacy and the specific technical requirements of farming.
• Upgrade infrastructure and facilities related to storage, packaging and transport of agricultural produce.
• A comprehensive review of land ownership and distribution with a view to achieve both equity and efficiency.
• Bring about comprehensive improvement in the quality of all agricultural universities, colleges and institutes.
Modern fertilizers are mostly oil based and can only become more expensive as oil inevitably becomes scarce. The same applies to many insecticides and pesticides. A return to organic farming must be contemplated and carefully encouraged.
This will not be easy. The seeds in use today have been developed for use with (now) expensive inputs. The varieties of wheat and rice and other staple crops that were cultivated before the advent of these inputs have all but disappeared. But they must be reintroduced. And not just for the sake of economics but also for the sake of the environment which has taken a huge beating from fertilizers and pesticides. Clearly this is again a knowledge based effort.
Farmers cannot do this on their own. They have to be guided and supported by leading edge research in these areas.
Much agricultural production is lost due to spoilage before it gets to market. Farmers must be provided better information about storage, packaging and transport. The materials and machinery for this must be made available. Farm to market roads and railway lines must be enhanced.
Our transport policy will involve encouraging and developing the most practical, appropriate and efficient means of transporting people and freight.
• Focus on mass transit
• Develop ground and overhead rail systems
• Promote tram and bus networks
• Discourage cars
Cities are characterized by high population densities and in general a low level of income. It is not practical or possible for everyone to own a car. Hence Mustaqbal's policy will rely on developing mass transit systems in all major cities. This will be a combination of conventional rail, overhead rail, trams and buses. Trains would operate on high density corridors. Trams and buses would then branch out of these corridors to transport people to their final destinations.
Such systems would primarily be for people movement. Freight movement within cities would still have to rely mainly on trucks. And for this purpose we would ensure that roads are built to the proper standards. Trucks operating on public roads would have to comply with maximum axle load limits to prevent damage to the roads.
• Develop intercity rail systems
• Develop supporting industry to manufacture locomotives and carriages
• Build and improve farm to market roads
Given the low income levels of most of our citizens the only sensible system that can provide transport to the vast majority of our public at a reasonable price is rail. To this end Mustaqbal vows to upgrade, develop and expand our rail networks and systems to cover all major cities. We intend to make rail the primary transport system between cities for both people and freight. The objective will be to provide fast, convenient and frequent services between most urban centres.
Our focus on the road networks will mainly be on 'farm to market' or 'farm to rail' roads. These will be upgraded and built wherever traffic densities do not justify a rail link. Such roads are critical to our primarily agricultural economy since produce must be moved quickly in order to minimize loss and wastage.
• Priority to regional relationships
• Special attention to Muslim world
• With India:
- A relationship based on dignity, reciprocity and equality
- Seek to end arms race
- Attack common problems of poverty, hunger and illiteracy
- Resolve controversial issues in a just and mutually acceptable manner
• With the US:
- Build 'bridges of understanding'
- Span the chasm of fear, suspicion and misunderstanding
- Move forward in a way that strengthens both countries
• Balanced relationship with the G8
The focus of our foreign policy will be to promote Pakistan's business interests abroad. Regional relationships will be given priority. Given that we are an Islamic Republic special attention will be given to our ties with other Muslim countries.
We will seek a balanced, just and principled relationship with the developed world.
We do not seek an adversarial relationship with India. As neighbours, with a common cultural and ethnic heritage, there is much that unites us. We seek to open doors that have remained tightly closed for more than half a century. We want to move beyond confrontation to cooperation. We seek to end the de facto arms race that obliges us both to spend a large part of our output on defence. We believe that such spending is unconscionable, especially when there remain, in both countries, large populations of the hungry, the poor, the illiterate and the homeless.
We seek a friendship based on dignity, reciprocity and equality, not on hegemony.
On the issue of Kashmir we remain committed to the UN mandated resolution of the dispute by a plebiscite amongst the Kashmiri people. This has been Pakistan's position and will remain so.
If Pakistan is in debt to any single country for its unconditional and unremitting support of the Pakistani people and nation then it is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has always stood, like a rock, with us through thick and thin. Mustaqbal acknowledges this support with heartfelt gratitude and we promise to further nurture and strengthen the ties of the heart that bind the people of Pakistan with the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia.
Iran is a friend, a neighbour and a regional power. We are bound to them by strong, historical, cultural, and religious links. We will work to develop a much closer relationship with them than has existed in the past. We reject the international ostracism that Iran has been subjected to on account of its completely legitimate nuclear program.
Afghanistan is also a close neighbour and friend. We are bound to them by the same ties that bind us to Iran. We seek to see a strong, stable, independent and democratic Afghanistan free of all foreign influence.
China is a rising world power. It has always remained a staunch friend and supporter of Pakistan. It has supported us - and continues to do so - with strong economic and technical assistance. It has stood by us in difficult times and has always been on our side in all international forays.
China has given much - since the creation Pakistan - to our nation and people. Mustaqbal thinks it is time that Pakistan now gives something back. We will explore with our Chinese friends possible areas of cooperation that would be of mutual benefit.
Russia has emerged, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of the Soviet era, to occupy a position of prominence on the world stage. Pakistan's relationship with the former Soviet Union was characterised by a certain ebb and flow. There was agreement. And there were differences. Mustaqbal believes that a strong, cordial, mutually beneficial relationship with the 'new' Russia is possible, desirable, and inevitable. We will not let the past sit in judgement of the future. We look forward to building up this relationship.
There is much that unites the Pakistani and American people. Both love freedom and hold sacred the principle of individual liberty. Both believe strongly in private enterprise. Both are entrepreneurial, creative and hard working. They are natural allies. And indeed many of us, who now have the privilege to found Mustaqbal, have spent the formative years of our lives in the U.S. as students and young professionals. Some of our best friends are Americans. And so we know that Americans are amongst the brightest, most selfless and generous people on the planet. Hence we are especially saddened that an unpopular and misguided leadership has, in recent times, rent their image, not only in Pakistan but in the whole world.
As Mustaqbal we look forward to rebuilding a relationship that now stands on the verge of collapse. We will do this by building bridges of understanding which span the chasm of reciprocal fear and suspicion, a chasm opened by a few, with narrow minds and narrower vision.
The European Union
Pakistan has always appreciated the calm, reasoned and measured influence of the E.U. in world affairs. With authority that derives from its status as the cradle of democracy, the EU has sought to spread democratic values with wisdom and dignity.
Within the EU, Pakistan has, of course, a special and historic relationship with the United Kingdom. There was much that was wrong about colonialism. But, undeniably, there is also much that we in the Subcontinent learned from the British. Mustaqbal recognizes that there is a debt, if only symbolic, that is still owed to the British. They educated our early leaders and provided the ideological framework on which were built all our institutions of state. And not least they built infrastructure where none existed. And, to their credit, many of these structures - such as the magnificent barrages on the Indus and its tributaries - still stand as lasting testimony to their ingenuity, workmanship and vision. These are people Mustaqbal wants as our friends.
• Put Pakistan's interests first
• No use of force against our own citizens
• Order an immediate end to military operations in all parts of the country
• Demand an end to all foreign intervention within our borders
• Open dialogue with all disaffected militant groups
• Seek negotiated solution that is in interests of all
Perhaps the most immediate and pernicious threat facing the country today is the insurgency in the North West of the country.
Mustaqbal is against the use of force against our own citizens in any circumstances. And we believe that such a policy will create more problems than it will solve.
A solution to the problem, and lasting peace, is only possible through dialogue. And it is imperative that we have peace, so that we can focus our collective efforts on the really existential problems of poverty, hunger and ignorance that confront us as a nation.
This is what a Mustaqbal led Government would do:
• Order an immediate cessation of military operations in all parts of the country.
• Require all foreign intervention within our borders to cease with immediate effect
• Open a dialogue with all armed non government groups with the view to secure their complete disarmament and seek their return to the democratic process.
We strongly believe that this is the only way forward for Pakistan. The approach being pursued at the present time is myopic, reckless and potentially suicidal. And, if not abandoned soon, will approach a point of no return - a point of extreme danger to Pakistan and its viability as a sovereign country.
• Compulsory primary education for all Pakistani children within 5 years
• Compulsory secondary education within 10 years
• Discourage 'rote' learning
• Employ modern education techniques that encourage thinking and creativity
Knowledge is the key. A country cannot be successful unless all of its people are educated. Our first priority is to ensure that there is no illiteracy. The way to do this is to make sure that all children receive at least a primary education. If we can give all of our children, without exception, the ability to read and write we will have taken a giant step forward. At a later stage, we will raise the target to include a secondary education as well.
• University education to be restricted only to the 'best and brightest'
• Inculcate culture of merit
• Merit to be sole criterion for entrance to all institutions of higher learning
University education is a different ball game. Our aim is to bring excellence to university education. This means that only the best and brightest will have the opportunity to go to university. We cannot have a society in which everyone is a BA or MA. This is what is happening so far. And the upshot is that these degrees are now not worth the paper they are printed on.
• Recognize that not all school leavers can go to university
• Hence aggressively develop institutions of technical learning as alternative to university education
• Launch media supported campaign to promote social acceptability of technical education and blue collar jobs in our society
In a culture that values education, it will not be an easy sell to convince people that not all their sons and daughters can go on to college. But it has to be done. Alternative technical education in diverse areas must be provided. Society needs trained auto mechanics, ac technicians, electricians, plumbers etc. just as much as it needs engineers, doctors and lawyers. Such a policy will run up against the social stigma associated with blue collar workers in our society. In this age of advertising and mass communication, we will deploy a coordinated media strategy to confront and banish this senseless stigma forever.
We will take as granted that it is the birth right of all Pakistani children to get a primary education. And, as the government, we will do everything in our power to make this a reality. It is Pakistan's good fortune that there are several very competent NGO's who have made literacy their mission. These are organizations such as The Citizens Foundation, READ, Ghazzali Trust etc. They are supplemented by countless individual efforts where dedicated people operate primary schools in depressed areas with their own resources.
We will work with these wonderful organizations and people to develop a twin pronged strategy. On the one hand we will give them all the support that they require and deserve. On the other, we will benefit from their knowledge and experience to develop and increase the number of government run schools. The goal is to achieve total geographic coverage of the country so that no child is left behind.
We do not underestimate the monumental nature of the task that we face. Building the infrastructure - the bricks and mortar - is perhaps the easy part. The real challenge is to provide the human and technical support in terms of trained teachers, appropriate curricula, and educational materials.
We recognize that the government cannot do this alone. We have to work in close partnership with the NGO's to bring about the universal coverage that we covet.
While this is the desired goal, we do not envision in the short to medium term, that all primary school children will go onto a secondary education. This is a natural consequence of setting priorities with limited resources. What we will seek to do is to emulate and further develop the models now employed by several NGO's.
This involves a 'cluster' of primary schools which are linked to a single secondary school. In this way the best and brightest coming out of several primary schools in the cluster are accommodated in the single secondary school that is the 'centre' of the cluster.
Mustaqbal recognizes that a severe deterioration has taken place in methods used to educate young minds. The world has moved on, but we, here in Pakistan, still rely on rote learning and cramming. No effort is made to instil curiosity and initiative, to stimulate impressionable minds, and to challenge them to do better.
This then is the challenge: not only to school, but to do it in a way that produces creative, discerning educated individuals who love learning and think independently. Do this, and you have secured Pakistan's future as - in the words of Mohammad Ali Jinnah - "one of the greatest nations in the world".
Countries cannot survive only on engineers, doctors and accountants. Yet it seems, in Pakistan, almost all young people want to be one of these. Successful countries need trained technicians in a broad array of disciplines: welders, metal workers, electricians, instrument technicians, ac mechanics, masons, auto mechanics, the list goes on ad infinitum. But the senseless social stigma attached to these disciplines means that most educated young people (or their parents) shun them. Never mind that in Pakistan today plumbers earn an order of magnitude more than newly qualified doctors. That is, if the doctors manage to get a job at all.
Our job - as the government - is, on one level, to impugn and refute this malignant social perversity. And, on an another, to develop the institutions to provide this crucial training.
Confronting the social stigma is by far the harder task. We propose to recruit the now omnipresent media, and specifically the very creative people of the performing arts, to develop TV dramas that portray blue collar workers as successful, equal and attractive members of our society. This just one example of the sort of broad based approach that we will take to attack this issue.
In developing the necessary technical training schools and polytechnics we will develop a public - private partnership. The private sector, represented by its various industry organizations, has to define the type of skill they need. The Government then has to play its role in licensing, setting up and supporting such schools.
Mustaqbal believes that universities have to be places of merit and learning, reserved only for the best and brightest that come out of the school system. All school graduates now expect, indeed demand that they go on to university to earn a Bachelors or Masters Degree. We disagree.
This is our policy on Universities:
• Universities will be places of merit, learning and research.
• Entrance to all universities will be exclusively on merit.
• 'Quotas', 'reserved seats', and the like will not be tolerated.
• There will be public and private universities.
• Public universities will be supported by the state so that deserving students, who do not have the financial wherewithal to attend a private college, are not denied an education.
• We will encourage a dialog between industry and academia to ensure that, in addition to 'pure' research, universities also participate in the sort of applied research that is relevant to industry.
Freedom to report
Mustaqbal Pakistan is committed to the complete editorial freedom of all media - print and broadcast.
We are especially committed to ensure that the press is not constrained by legal or other impediments from critically monitoring and reporting on the following:
• The Government and its policies
• Government officials and functionaries including the Prime Minister and President
• All political parties and their officers
• Members of Parliament at both the national and provincial levels
We strongly believe that the unbiased, transparent and truthful coverage of these agencies and individuals without fear of legal or other reprisals or consequences is vital to the functioning of any democracy.
In line with this belief, within the first year of taking office, we will undertake a comprehensive review of libel laws as they now apply in Pakistan. The objective will be to remove any unnecessary impediments which limit the ability of the press to report on matters related to government and politics.
Broader role of broadcast media
Mustaqbal would like to see the media - especially the broadcast media - play a part in the social and economic development of Pakistan and her people. We believe that the role of television and radio extends beyond news and entertainment to actively contributing to the achievement of broader social and economic goals.
The best way to explain what we have in mind is to give a set of examples where TV and radio can actively contribute to social welfare and development:
• We have talked in the section on Mustaqbal's education policy about the stigma associated with blue collar jobs in our society. One way to tackle this would be to develop TV dramas that show blue collar workers as respectable and materially successful people. We need to portray workers such as plumbers, masons, A/C mechanics as professional people who enjoy, or at least should enjoy, the same level of respect in society as doctors or engineers. And why not? They are indeed respectable professions. TV could play a powerful role in challenging this senseless stigma.
• Few people will disagree that we have a problem in Pakistan in regard to a civic sense of cleanliness. Plastic bags are strewn everywhere. It is a common sight to see trash, tissues, empty cigarette packets etc - being thrown casually on the roads by even apparently well to do people. Spitting in public places has acquired the status of a pandemic. Why cannot the media play a role here? Such a role could have multiple facets:
- Commercials could educate and guide the public
- Announcements during popular programs could denounce and lampoon anti civic conduct
- Drama could again to used to portray characters who litter or spit as socially unacceptable
• We suffer, as a people, from a lamentable lack of common courtesy. Public officials will talk rudely to visitors. The police - depending on the perceived status of the person they are 'involved' with - can either be on the giving or receiving end of an expletive laced conversation. The concept of a queue is thought to be naive. And, of course, our bad manners extend to our driving. TV and radio can play a powerful and effective role in highlighting these destructive social and civic ills and working towards their elimination from society.
These are just some examples of many. Mustaqbal believes that the people who run the media have a duty, indeed a moral obligation, to serve Pakistan and her people in the broadest possible sense of the word. We hope to work closely with the media to help focus and direct such efforts.
A sense of responsibility
With power comes responsibility. Mustaqbal believes the media - especially the broadcast media - has failed to fully appreciate its obligations towards society. One of these obligations is manifested in contributing to broader social and national objectives which we have already discussed in the previous section. Another, perhaps just as important, has to do with matching the nature and content of programming to the culture and social values of our society. And here we believe the media has acted in an irresponsible, perhaps even reckless manner.
Pakistan is a varied country. The vast majority of our people are conservative. There are, of course, also people who hold liberal views. This is not only desirable, but essential to creating an environment in which debate is encouraged and ideas are judged on their merit. Mustaqbal, as a matter of policy, strongly believes that all points of view must be respected and have a voice in the conduct of the nation's affairs.
Yet if one were to judge by the content of media programming it would appear that all of Pakistan is an ultra liberal society. An outsider would think that Pakistanis have nothing better to do than sing and dance all day. He would get the impression that women are liberated and modern.
But the reality is quite different. The sort of content that now goes out over the airwaves is not only misleading but displays a lack of respect for the feelings and values of the vast majority of Pakistanis. Some have even argued that the 'fundamentalist' backlash that now threatens to sweep across the country is, in part, a reaction to irresponsible programming.
There is another related issue. This has to do with content that is not locally produced. This includes foreign TV channels distributed by cable or received via satellite.
Here we have to ask ourselves the following: Does it make sense to beam highly provocative and inappropriate foreign content into deeply conservative Pakistani households in our cities and villages many of whose residents may be illiterate and would not have travelled more than a few kilometres from their homes? Could not such content be severely disruptive to a social fabric carefully woven over many generations?
Mustaqbal is not arguing for government control of content or information. But what we are saying is that broadcasters must exercise judgment and common sense. In the race for ratings and advertising revenues this may not be easy but, in the interest of preserving harmony in a multi cultural society, it has to be done.
In order to encourage balanced and thoughtful media programming a Mustaqbal government will set up a 'Media Committee' which will include all stake holders. This will include representatives from the media industry, from civil society, religious leaders from different religions and schools of thought. The committee will be chaired by a Member of Parliament appointed by the Prime Minister. Its mandate will be to draw up media broadcast standards. Such standards will be subject to a majority vote in the committee and will come into effect only when approved by the Prime Minister. Mustaqbal sees no role for a "Ministry of Information" in this age of instant communication. We will abolish this ministry and transfer essential functions to other relevant federal agencies.
Women in our society have something of the quality of a phantom - an illusion without material substance. They are half of our population but are treated as if they do not exist, or if they do, then as some inferior class of citizen. We at Mustaqbal are committed absolutely and unconditionally to fully empowering women as equal members of our society.
This is what we will do:
• Review all the laws with the view to identify any that discriminate in any way against women. These will be modified or annulled as appropriate.
• Introduce new legislation that will recognize women as oppressed and will provide 'affirmative action' protections and remedies.
• Review divorce laws and ensure that issues such as custody, alimony and child support are addressed fairly, and enforced strictly by the courts.
• Introduce legislation that will criminalize the abuse and battery of women within marriage.
• Root out with an iron hand traditional practices such as 'karo kari' which degrade women and treat them as commodities.
• Legislate to severely punish any form of sexual harassment in the workplace or in any other public or private forum
Some aspects of empowering women have been discussed in our policy on health care and human welfare. For completeness we repeat these here:
• Campaigns to educate women - especially in the rural areas - on sexual reproduction and methods of contraception.
• Provision of contraceptives as appropriate - male contraceptives such as condoms, or birth control pills where appropriate.
• Use the health care infrastructure (to be set up under our health care policy) to provide birth control counseling and neo and post natal care.
• Publicity campaigns targeted at women telling them that they have the right to say "No"
• Providing economic incentives that encourage families to have just two children.
Any discussion about women in our society must include a reference to Islam. It is Mustaqbal's view that Islam is often used as a tool to oppress women. This does injustice to both Islam and women. Lets be clear: Islam liberated women and provided protections where none existed before. There is nothing in the religion that can be deemed as oppressive towards women. What is oppressive is interpretations or partial readings of the sacred texts which are falsely invoked as an excuse to demean or otherwise limit women's rights and freedoms.
Mustaqbal stands prepared to challenge anyone to show us where in the Arabic texts of the Quraan or the Hadeeth there exists any limitation on the pro women agenda that we have articulated here.
In Mustaqbal's view "Human Welfare" includes the interrelated areas of health care, population planning, and education for women on sexual reproduction and neo and post natal care.
Mustaqbal believes firmly that the state must assume full responsibility for the free and comprehensive health care of all of its citizens. This should be a basic right of citizenship. We believe this to be an ambitious but not unattainable goal. There are many impediments to its implementation, not least of which are financial constraints imposed by decades of government mismanagement and corruption.
Achieving the goal of universal health care will take time and perseverance. Here is how we intend to proceed:
•Build new public hospitals in cities and towns where none now exist
•Refurbish, upgrade and modernize existing Government hospitals
•Build new clinics in all villages with populations in excess of 5000 people
Hospitals and clinics are of no use without the trained personnel to staff them. We have already mentioned in our policy on education that we will make it a mandatory condition of admission to medical school for graduating doctors to spend at least 5 years of their careers working in Government hospitals and clinics in rural areas.
Similar programs will be introduced for other health care workers such as nurses, pharmacists and medical technicians.
The Pharma industry will be given the support necessary to wean itself away from reliance on the major drug companies. This will be provided in the form of policies that encourage bio medical research at local Universities. Close communication between industry and academia will be made mandatory.
Research will also be encouraged in traditional remedies such as "Hikmat" which relies on the medicinal properties of herbs, natural essences and nectars such as honey. These remedies have been developed over the centuries through trial and experience. We need now to formalize this work and use it to provide cost effective and 'low impact' treatments to our people.
Population planning is critical, not just to providing health care, but to all aspects of life in Pakistan. West Pakistan's population in 1972, just after separation from East Pakistan was 65 million. Today - 37 years later - this figure stands at 170 million. This almost tripling of the population represents an average annual population growth rate over this period of about 2.7%. Successive governments who during this period have failed to address this runaway rate can only be characterized as criminally negligent. They are guilty of a gross and unforgivable failure to carry out the basic obligations of good governance.
So here we are today with a 170 million people who live, for the most part, on infrastructure designed for 65 million.
Recent estimates of this growth rate put it at about 2%. This is still unacceptably high. If our population were to grow at this rate - 2% - for the next 37 years it would become about 350 million by the year 2046. This would be an unqualified catastrophe. It would result in harrowing hunger and deprivation.
This growth rate must be brought to zero if we are to have any chance of giving all our people the rights and privileges that come with being citizens of any self respecting state.
Hence Mustaqbal has set itself the target to bring the population growth rate down to zero within 5 years of our taking office. This will mean bringing the total fertility rate (TFR) down to about 2.1 from its current level of about 5. The TFR is roughly defined as the number of children that would be born to a woman during her lifetime.
Bringing the TFR down to 2.1 from 5 will be a huge challenge. It will require more than anything else the education and empowerment of women.
Empowerment of Women
There can be no hope of progress in containing population growth (or for that matter of progress on any national issue) until women - all women - in our society are 'empowered'. We take this term to encompass the full spectrum of rights and privileges that women must enjoy and possess. These include education, social status and esteem, equality in the law of the land with men, and health care to suit their unique needs.
All these issues are taken up detail in our policy on women. Here, specifically in terms of, the role of women in limiting population growth, Mustaqbal will adopt the following approach:
•Campaigns to educate women - especially in the rural areas - on sexual reproduction and methods of contraception.
•Provision of contraceptives as appropriate - male contraceptives such as condoms or birth control pills where appropriate.
•Use the health care infrastructure (to be set up under our health care policy) to provide birth control counselling and neo and post natal care.
•Publicity campaigns targeted at women telling them that they have the right to say "No"
•Providing economic incentives that encourage families to have just two children.
All of this will work in conjunction with or general policies for women which include much enhanced legal rights and protection form abuse and battering.
Public Buildings and Heritage Sites
•All Governors and Chief Ministers to be removed from colonial residences
•All such buildings and grounds to be converted to public use - libraries, parks etc.
•High priority to preserving architectural heritage of the nation
Mustaqbal will regard as a high priority the preservation and maintenance of historic public buildings.
As a first step all historic residences of Provincial Governors and Chief Ministers will no longer be used for this purpose. It is inappropriate, perhaps even outrageous, that colonial mansions used by the representatives of an occupying power should continue to serve the same function in a democratic milieu.
All Governors and Chief Ministers will be moved to more modest accommodation in line with what behoves the leaders of a poor country.
The historic mansions vacated will be converted to public buildings - libraries, museums, cultural centres and the like. The ample grounds in which these buildings are located will be converted to public parks.
Buildings used as residences by the President and Prime Minister will be subject to a similar review. And to the extent that alternative accommodation can be found without significant new outlays, these residences shall also be vacated and put to more appropriate use.
A high priority will be given to preserve the architectural heritage of the country. Building permissions or modifications in sensitive or historic areas will be strictly subject to the approval of Architects associations at a National and Provincial level. Other stake holders will be invited to voice their concerns, reservations and comments.
Building codes will be strictly enforced to interdict construction where such permissions have not been explicitly granted.
• High importance to sport and physical fitness
• Special focus on children
• Build playgrounds and sports facilities for all of Pakistan's children
• Launch a national program to recruit and train young adults to be coaches, and trainers for the nation's children
• Build parks and walkways for adults and the elderly
• Launch media campaign to emphasize importance of exercise to health and mental well being
Given the huge challenges Pakistan faces today on multiple fronts, sport may seem like a trivial matter. But it is not. Sport - in some form or the other - is essential to the physical and mental well being of all our people. When played successfully by national teams it can be a source of national pride and a unifying force for all Pakistanis.
Mustaqbal will attach a high priority to sport. Our focus will not so much be on putting together a few good national teams, but rather, on getting the whole nation, young and old involved.
People of all ages must be encouraged, but the young deserve special attention. They are flexible, they are growing, they learn quickly and they are our hope for the future. Their minds and bodies need to be challenged and pushed.
It is a sad commentary on our commitment to the young that the vast majority of Pakistan's children do not have access to even the most basic of facilities. They play bare foot on rough ground or on the roads. They are exposed to danger and injury from the terrain and from traffic. They lack even basic protective equipment, guidance and training.
Mustaqbal finds all of this unacceptable. We will launch a unified national program whose objectives will be as follows:
• Build playgrounds and sports facilities in all localities - with priority for the poorest.
• Provide gear and protective equipment at subsidized prices
• Recruit and train young people to become sports trainers, coaches and guides and then deploy them countrywide.
For older people we will also launch programs to build facilities such as parks and walking tracks. And indeed, we will make it a condition of all urban planning to include parks, play spaces and walking tracks in all new urban areas.
Also for the elderly we will launch media campaigns to emphasize the importance of regular exercise to their overall health. This will have the added advantage of cutting down on health care costs.
Our sports strategy is not to produce a few champions but to get the whole nation participating regularly in sports and other physical activity. We firmly believe that if we give all of Pakistan's children playing grounds, training and equipment there will emerge an ample supply of champions. These are people who would play at a national and international level and compete with the best the world has to offer.
• Sweeping reform of concept of 'Civil Service'
• Civil Servants to serve and assist public
• Public to be treated with extreme courtesy, dignity and respect
Mustaqbal will undertake a sweeping reform of Government. The very concept of governance - as it has come to be understood in Pakistan - will be redefined. The general public has come to view the Government as an obstruction, a tool to oppress, harass, and otherwise make their lives difficult. It has become a sceptre, in the hands of a few, whose exclusive interest is to enrich themselves at any cost - and the public be damned.
No more. Civil servants will be just that: Servants of the public. Public visitors to government offices will be treated with respect and given complete cooperation. The raison d’être of government - at all levels - will be to serve the needs of the public swiftly, efficiently, and with courtesy and respect.
• Provincial Languages and Culture to be encouraged
• Provinces to be accorded respect and status as envisaged in 1973 Constitution
We will enable all provinces to maintain and develop their own unique cultures, languages and traditions. We believe this diversity represents a cultural treasure to be cherished and preserved. It is a source of strength for Pakistan. Provincial languages will be made a mandatory part of school curricula. So children will have to study Urdu, English and the language of the province in which they live.
Restoration of 1973 Constitution
Mustaqbal has vowed, in the event that it gains a super-majority in parliament, to restore the 1973 constitution in its entirety. This constitution - which is a jewel of a document - had given the provinces their full and legitimate rights in the context of the federation.
Part V of this constitution which is entitled "Relations between the Federation and Provinces", admirably defines the rights and privileges of the Provinces. Part VI, Chapter 1 is also relevant in delimiting the distribution of revenues between the Federation and Provinces.
Elected Representatives & the Cabinet
• Held to highest standards of ethical conduct
• To be professionals and exemplary citizens
• To be role models for ordinary citizens
• Will have no special privileges:
• No use of 'VIP' facilities
• No use of special number plates
• Required to deal with citizens in a self effacing and modest manner
Mustaqbal's candidates for elected office will be held to the highest standards of ethical conduct. They will be educated professionals - doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, teachers, scholars, social workers. We will select them not because they are rich, or because they wield influence or power, but because they have a track record of honesty, selflessness, professionalism and dedication to their communities and the nation.
And once elected, we will hold them to a still higher standard. Theirs will not be a victory that will be rewarded by the spoils of a cabinet position and the regalia of high office. Instead they will win the privilege to serve the people of their constituencies and the nation. They will undertake the hard, meticulous work of developing, debating and enacting a host of new legislation in fulfilment of Mustaqbal's vision of the future.
They will set the standard for ordinary citizens to admire and emulate. The practices that characterize elected representatives today will not be tolerated: Gone will be the days of special number plates on cars and blackened windows, gone will be wanton disregard for the law of the land, and 'special' unwarranted privileges.
In a Mustaqbal government cabinet positions will be held to a bare minimum. Selection to the cabinet will be based exclusively on merit. No political consideration will enter into the decision. The nation deserves, and Mustaqbal will demand, that only the best, most competent people occupy positions of public service.
• Restricted to organizations and industries
• Not allowed to be involved in politics
• Cannot be aligned with any political party
Mustaqbal recognizes the right of workers to form democratically elected unions for the purpose of protecting their rights within the context of the organizations or industries in which they work.
The primary purpose of unions will be negotiate fair and proportionate compensation, health care, retirement benefits and salutary working conditions with their employers.
We do not believe that trade unions have a role to play in national or provincial politics.
To this end, unions will not be allowed, in their electoral platforms to:
• Align themselves with any political party.
• Use symbols, flags, or any other distinguishing features of any political party in their election campaigns.
• Use pictures of any political leaders of any political party in display and promotional material for their campaigns.
• Coerce or pressure members in any way to vote for one political party or the other۔
Union leaders will be allowed, in accordance with the freedom of expression provisions of the constitution of Pakistan, to endorse and recommend to their members any party or candidates for elected office.
• Permitted only in universities
• Not allowed to be involved in politics
• Cannot be aligned with any political parties
Mustaqbal strongly believes that students - of all ages - have no business in politics. Their primary focus is, and must be; to acquire knowledge and learn the skills and discipline they will need in their lives to become exemplary citizens.
Hence we will not permit any 'student union' - in the way the term is currently understood - in any educational institution in Pakistan.
At universities - and only at universities - we will allow the student body to elect a 'student council' which will be responsible for bringing the concerns, comments, recommendations etc of students to the attention of the university administration. They will also be responsible for organizing, cultural, social, sports events etc for the benefit of the student community.
These 'student councils' will operate only within the campus. No links whatsoever will be allowed between these councils and any political parties.