Where leading Pakistani parties stand on core issues
We took a look at the party manifestos of Pakistan Muslim League-N, Pakistan Movement for Justice (known as Tehreek-e-Insaf) and Pakistan People’s Party ahead of Saturday's election. Here is where they stand on some core issues on foreign and domestic policy: See related article.
|Pakistan Muslim League-N||Pakistan Movement for Justice||Pakistan People's Party|
|Slogan||Strong economy, strong Pakistan||New Pakistan||Bread, clothing and shelter
A nation safe from terror
Education, health and employment
May the name of democracy be exalted
|Policy toward United States||Party leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif wants harmonious relations with the United States, his advisers say, but not at the expense of Pakistan's national interests. "Economic weaknesses are forcing us to go begging bowl in hand, while foreign states undertake unilateral strikes on our territory," the party platform says. Elected officials will set foreign policy, not the military, it says.||Imran Khan's party says he would "extricate Pakistan from the U.S.-led war on terror policy" and end CIA drone-fired missile attacks on Pakistani soil. "Pakistan will endeavor to have a constructive relationship with the U.S. based on Pakistan's sovereign national interests and international law, not on aid dependency," the party manifesto says. It pledges "supremacy of civilian authority" over the powerful military.||The ruling government says it has restored sound relations with the United States and NATO after a rocky two years. It will continue what it the party calls a "more enduring, balanced and clearly defined partnership with the U.S." But, the manifesto says, "We take clear and unambiguous issue with all encroachments on our air space and landas violations of our sovereignty, including drone attacks conducted by foreign governments."|
|Other foreign policy||Sharif would foster business ties with India and resume implementation of the Lahore Declaration of 1999 that committed Pakistan and India to the pursuit of "durable peace," settlement of the Kashmir issue and talks to prevent nuclear war. In rallies, Sharif emphasizes that his 1998 decision to conduct nuclear tests -- over stern U.S. objections -- forced India into a dialogue with Pakistan.||Engage with India on nuclear deterrence "to prevent a spiraling nuclear arms race in the region." The manifesto also says, "Progressive detente with India will benefit both countries if centered on conflict resolution and cooperation, especially in the field of energy."||Pakistan will maintain its historical ties with Iran and China, the party says. The government also would continue to liberalize trade with India and resolve "all outstanding issues," including Kashmir. And, the manifesto says, "We believe that a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is fundamental to Pakistan's stability, and we will support every Afghan-led initiative that is in pursuit of this ideal."|
|Economy||Sharif promises to draw on his experience as a businessman, privatizer and tax reformer to boost national growth. The party provides a highly detailed economic revival plan, including an approach on the energy crisis, which has dragged down several industrial sectors, to produce results "in minimum time." It says electricity and natural gas "can be supplied to all urban and rural consumers continuously at an affordable price."||If elected, Khan vows to declare a national emergency in respect to the energy crisis and government corruption and spending, among other problems. "Electricity and gas shortages to be eliminated" within the party's first five-year term, says the manifesto. He promises "investment friendly" economic policies, yet says he also would build an "Islamic welfare state" with a wide social safety net, including free primary health care for the poor.||The party takes issue with arguments that its stewardship of the economy for the past five years was disastrous, but promises to do better -- including lowering food prices and "increasing the availability of energy and improving governance," the platform says. The party also pledges to make Pakistan "a business destination" and double the country's current 2.9 percent growth rate by 2016.|
|Insurgency||"Neither militancy nor terrorism can be countered by mere use of force," the party says. Accordingly, Sharif has shown support for negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban, who want to overthrow the state, but he also is hawkish on national defense: "[T]he needs and requirements of our Armed Forces would be met under all circumstances," the document says.||The party pledges to convince militants to disarm and begin peace negotiations, and to provide more resources to the economically deprived tribal areas and Baluchistan province, where the army is fighting a nationalist insurgency. Khan would reach out to Baluch exiles and seek "a political solution, not a military one," the platform says.||"Launch an active campaign to prevent Pakistan from being used as a base for terrorist activities. Dismantle militant groups that create parallel entities within the state in an attempt to impose their writ," the manifesto says. In his formal political debut in March, party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari declared, "We have brought democracy and we will be ones to protect it. ... We will go to the place where a bright and progressive Pakistan awaits us."|
|Social issues||The party says it would boost political rights and social benefits for deprived populations of the tribal areas. Sharif would put religious schools under the sway of the state through financial assistance -- an unrealized goal when he was last in power -- "to bring their syllabus and standards in conformity with the mainstream education to improve the employment prospects of Madrassa students."||Ensure equal legal status for women and provide incentives for girls' education. The manifesto promises to help "the deprived, the dispossessed and the discriminated against." There will be "zero tolerance" for abuse, threats or violence toward minority groups. "Hate speech and literature will be banned," the manifesto says.||The party will remain true to its socialist roots, it says. "The work of the PPP would not be complete until everyone was provided roti, kapra, makan (food, clothes and homes)," Bhutto Zardari said in his speech, invoking a slogan used by his grandfather, party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The manifesto endorses "empowerment of all citizens" and fundamental rights for minorities, the vulnerable and the dispossessed.|
|Official campaign video|
SOURCE: Staff reports. Wire photos. GRAPHIC: Richard Leiby, Anup Kaphle and Bill Webster - The Washington Post. Published May 8, 2013.