Islamabad: Senator Sherry Rehman, the Vice President of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), on Saturday officially launched the party’s manifesto ahead of the 2024 general elections, lauded Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for unveiling a visionary and people-centric pledge, and urged the masses to rally behind the youth leader for transformative change, steering away from the politics of hatred and divisiveness.
The manifesto, titled “Chuno Nai Soch Ko,” outlines a comprehensive plan for inclusive development and transformative change, centering on economic gains anchored in social justice.
She said: “After extensive consultations with all regions of the country as well as civil society stakeholders and experts, the PPP has launched its manifesto for 2024 with a clear message for inclusion and transformational change based on prioritizing economic gains premised on social justice, the creation of employment opportunities, and a strong focus on providing both growth and relief to the most vulnerable sections of the population.”
Senator Rehman stressed that given the situation of the country, business as usual is no longer an option, nor could the country wait for trickle-down, supply-side economic policies for any transformative change.
“We cannot wait for the rich to get far, far richer before they allow their wealth to filter down to the landless, the poor, the unemployed, and the unempowered.”.
“While we will incentivize entrepreneurs and encourage public-private partnerships for creating and governing substantive health and education initiatives for quality services that reach all, we will seek to burden share with those who can afford it. It’s time for strategic re-sets, and we are ready to harness the clean energy of local solar parks, divert wasteful spending, and create a Pakistan that grows and adds value to change the lives of our citizens.”
In discussing the imperative of inclusive economic growth, Senator Rehman emphasized that investments must be encouraged and enabled to ensure the benefits of growth reach every stratum of society.
“Resources have to be mobilized to give way for distribution that is fair, for the labor and women and farmers that turn the wheels of our country to earn a decent, living wage and not just become destitute or victims of health traumas and climate disasters overnight to eke out a subsistence living that leaves children malnourished, with a high percentage still prey to disease and stunting,” she said.
She added that, as mentioned in the manifesto, the party will ensure that all Pakistanis can send their children to good local schools, and make sure that healthcare is available to all for free.
“The focus on young people, women, and the socially disadvantaged, with incentives, support, and an enabling environment for change, has been a core theme for creating prosperity in Pakistan by flattening social pyramids and empowering the growing numbers of the vulnerable and the poor in the country,” she said.
“We are clearly seeking to address the growing food and water insecurity challenges in our country, the lack of jobs and vertical growth opportunities for our young, underemployed workforce, while seeking viable solutions for chronic and systemic issues that hamper our public social services as well as addressing those emerging global issues that look likely to pose risks to our economy and social fabric.”
The senator further said that the PPP aims to roll out a diverse range of programs addressing issues such as food insecurity, healthcare accessibility, social safety net expansion, and initiatives like the youth card (Jawan Mustaqbil), along with comprehensive offerings to support farmers (Khushal Kisan) and laborers (Mazdoor ko Mehnat ka Sila), ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the people.
“By giving them resilient homes and ownership of those homes, as has already begun in Sindh post-flood areas, we will change them into home and small land owners, with women as the actual title holders of these new assets. We will provide social protections under the BISP, expand the existent projects, and empower young people by providing financial support and training, as well as creating youth centers in every district.”
She said that along with diversifying Pakistan’s manufacturing base to spur value-added exports while putting agriculture, technology, and green energy at the forefront, the PPP will bring the country back to the food surplus it had done under its previous tenures.
“We believe in speaking to all kinds of voters, including people who have previously voted for other parties or young people who have never voted. We don’t want to govern only for PPP supporters, we want to help all Pakistanis. We want a new style of politics, where politicians focus on helping the people instead of helping themselves and other elites.”
Rehman stressed that the party’s Ten-Point Economic Agenda, launched in the early part of the campaign by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, had formed the heart of its new thinking on creating a social contract with the people of Pakistan, who have been struggling with soaring inflation and climate and social distress on the ground.
“None of the points have been just thrown together to create a manifesto without a plan to implement the cross-cutting themes, but instead bolstered by thought leadership on how the economic space to fund the people’s agenda for strategic re-sets of our human capital and resources to grow and add value to change the lives of our citizens,” she said.
“An example is the 300 units of electricity point. We will power this change by harnessing the clean energy of local solar parks for every area, which is entirely doable if we create the right plans and move ahead with conviction instead of a government that muddles along in a state of strategic drift. Funding for programs that spur growth, protect people, and create livelihoods will not come overnight but should be made possible by diverting billions of rupees of wasteful spending and elite subsidies.”
She said that it will need political will and public consensus that we need to reboot Pakistan’s growth and governance.
“There is a clear vision for addressing the challenges the future will hold both at home and abroad.”