Home Latest News PTI’s Election Manifesto Seeks to Reduce Terms of Parliament

PTI’s Election Manifesto Seeks to Reduce Terms of Parliament

Party leader Gohar Khan unveils raft of ‘promises’ requiring constitutional amendments

by Staff Report

Screengrab of Gohar Khan’s press conference

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday issued its manifesto for the Feb. 8 general elections, vowing to implement a series of legislative reforms requiring major constitutional amendments, including reducing the tenure of the National Assembly to four years and introducing a “direct election” for the prime minister.

Unveiling the manifesto in a press conference, PTI leader Gohar Khan said if his party were voted into power, it would introduce changes aimed at implementing party founder Imran Khan’s vision of a “Riyasat-e-Madina” in which the rich and poor were treated equally under law. Dubbed ‘Shandaar Pakistan, Shandaar Mustaqbil aur Kharaab Maazi Sey Chutkara,’ (Glorious Pakistan, Glorious Future and Liberation from the Unpleasant Past), the 168-page manifesto has many aspirational goals that appear unachievable without at least a two-thirds majority or significant cross-party support.

In its manifesto, the PTI has pledged to establish a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to identify and address past mistakes. Gohar said the party also wanted to reduce the tenure of the National Assembly from five to four years and that of the Senate from six to five years. “The prime minister will be directly elected by voters, rather than by the members of the National Assembly,” he said, adding the PTI also wanted 50 percent of Senators to be directly elected.

According to Gohar, the PTI’s greatest focus would be the economy, as it was necessary to achieve stability. The party, he said, would issue a five-year plan aimed at bringing more people into the tax net and reducing the burden on existing taxpayers. “We will reduce expenses and increase income. Privatization [of government entities] will be carried out, along with an austerity plan,” he added.

Noting that around 70 percent of the population was involved with agriculture, he said the party would give special attention to the sector. Much like manifestos issued by the PPP and PMLN, the PTI also pledged to increase the share of renewables in energy generation. It also vowed to re-introduce the health cards scheme.

On education, Gohar said the sector would be reformed to link education with the job market. The PTI similarly called for population planning, and vowed to raised spending on social sectors to 3 percent of GDP from the existing 1 percent. He pledged to improve infrastructure and the communication systems and eliminate corruption.

The PTI leader said the party wished to adopt a “Pakistan First” policy for foreign relations, adding cordial relations should be maintained with all nations, especially neighbors.

“Our manifesto is one nation, one law, and equality for all,” he said. “There cannot be two laws in one country,” he said, stressing on the need for rule of law. Lamenting that the country’s existing laws were “outdated,” he said the party would protect fundamental rights by bringing changes to criminal law and introducing a new system for investigations. “The Code of Criminal Procedure will be reformed so that the people are protected,” he added.

During the press conference, Gohar also lamented the “lack of a level-playing field” for the PTI ahead of the Feb. 8 polls.

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