Electing competent and honest leadership

The article was published on May5, 2013 before elections. Sorry for delayed posting.

Voting values
While the ECP and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes, what are the merits and demerits voters should consider before choosing their future representatives?
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-05-05-2013/pol1.htm#3

A week later, on May 11, 2013, 86.18 million Pakistani voters — 48.59 million male and 37.59 million female — will elect their representatives for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies who would subsequently choose the next federal and provincial executives.

This exercise carries immense repercussions for over 180 million people as their fate will be left at the discretion of these elected representatives. This necessitates both quantitative and qualitative improvement in voting standard.

While tax evaders, defaulters and the corrupt couldn’t be sifted during the scrutiny process, voters are now the only hope to block their entry into power corridors. They will have to come out in large numbers and elect the best amongst candidates.

However, for multiple reasons — rampant corruption, joblessness, insecurity, poverty, maladministration, unawareness, corrupt practices that manipulate elections, terrorism and the like — voters stand disillusioned with political system that has resulted in low voters’ turnout in previous elections, coming as low as 20 per cent in different constituencies.

In the 2008 general elections, though voters’ turnout was 50 and 48 per cent in Islamabad and Punjab, it was 44 per cent for the country and only 31, 31 and 33 per cent in Balochistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively. Women comprise around 44 per cent of the registered voters but have been mostly kept from using this basic right in the past.

The total number of voters has gone up from 80.7 million in 2008 to 86.1 million this year, but analysts foresee a low turnout due to terrorist attacks/threats, ban on transportation facility for voters by the candidates and voters’ distrust in elections and disappointment with politicians.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes. With increase in the number of overenthusiastic young voters, the emergence of the PTI on the electoral landscape, a comprehensive security plan put in place for polling day, chances of massive women polling (candidates and parties concluded written agreements inhibiting women from casting votes in the past. But this time no intra-parties’ agreement has surfaced so far) and with almost all the parties participating in elections, hopefully the turnout would be good enough, between 50-55 per cent in this election.

Voters generally look at the candidate’s personal caste, character or performance, his party and its manifesto or his own personal interests at the time of voting.

Some, especially diehard workers, say parties’ performances and manifestos, rather than candidates’ characters, should be the main concern for voters because parties form governments and ultimately decide things. But the rest — the swinging majority — have their own priorities.

“The problem is parties are run by their leaders and their selected buddies. If the party is in wrong hands, they would violate rules, its manifestos and national interests for their political interests and will ruin institutions by nepotism and favouritism and use the national exchequer senselessly for self/party aggrandisement. So, a party shouldn’t be supported if its leadership and candidates’ character and competency are questionable,” says Shakirullah Khan, a lecturer.

“Some parties seek votes over slogans of religious revolution, sectarianism or support terrorists in one way or the other. Supporting them is tantamount to dividing the state and society on the basis of sects, religions or creed. Can we endure such an environment,” he argues.

Others say development work, provision of jobs and contracts, financial assistance to the needy, personal liaison with the constituents or good oratory skills should be the basis for supporting a candidate.

“But what if all this is done by a corrupt politician. Obviously, this support is driven by selfishness. Pakistan owes its retarded growth, rampant poverty and financial weakness to these flawed priorities on part of the voters. By supporting such candidates, one may end up getting benefits but this will leave the country’s resources, people and fate in the hands of senseless rulers, so it cannot be a choice of a patriotic voter,” says Muhammad Iqbal, another voter.

Independent candidates were the fourth largest group in 2008. They polled 11 per cent votes in National Assembly and 26 and 24 per cent votes in Balochistan and KP assemblies. Being the main source of horse-trading, they must never be voted for. There are always some persons with good reputation amongst the candidates, but they come from parties whose performances were dismal.

“But even if a noble fellow who is contesting from a bad party is sent to his/her parliamentary party and parliament, he/she will be a misfit there amongst most of the self-centred colleagues. Party discipline is another hindrance. If the party decides on a thing that he/she finds obnoxious, he will either have to conform or risk expulsion. If he accepts, corruption will continue as earlier,” according to Shah Hasan, another voter.

But Iqbal responded the personal abilities and character rather than the candidate’s party affiliation should be the guiding factor for voters. Ignoring all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases while voting, they must vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence.

Vote is a sacred trust and casting vote is mandatory. By voting someone, we testify to his character and abilities and authorise him to decide and work on our behalf. It is as if we engage a lawyer who obviously cannot be a person who can be bribed, intimidated and bought, Iqbal said. “Even if they have been nominated by popular and reputable parties, voters should reject candidates who are corrupt, loan-defaulters and tax-evaders. And they should support competent persons even if they are contesting on tickets of ‘bad/corrupt’ parties.”

Voters should continue with their determination not to send corrupt elements to parliament. This obviously is a long route. But slowly and gradually it will become a norm and most of the electorate will follow suit.

People are heard criticising corrupt leaders, but they too are equally guilty of preferring them over the incorruptible, competent and trustworthy substitutes. If parties ensure awarding tickets to ‘electables’ (not necessarily competent and honest candidates), it is because the electorate too has been accepting their nominees. It’s very shameful that electorate goes on to elect the very candidates, who were disqualified for having fake degrees. This practice of siding with the corrupt must end.

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Original text of the article

Election: choosing competent & honest representatives

By Tahir Ali

A week later, on May 11, 86.18 million Pakistani voters –48.59mn male and 37.59 female – will elect their representatives for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies who would subsequently choose the next federal and provincial executives.

This exercise carries immense repercussions for over 180mn people as their fate will be left at the discretion of these elected representatives. This necessitates both quantitative and qualitative improvement in voting standard.

While tax evaders, defaulters’ and the corrupt couldn’t be sifted during the scrutiny process, voters are now the only hope to block their entry into power corridors. They will have to come out in large numbers and elect the best amongst candidates. 

However, for multiple reasons – rampant corruption, joblessness, insecurity, poverty, maladministration, unawareness, corrupt practices that manipulate elections, terrorism and the like – voters stand disillusioned with political system that has resulted in low voters’ turnout in previous elections, coming as low as 20 per cent in different constituencies.

In the 2008 general elections, though voters’ turnout was 50 and 48 per cent in Islamabad and Punjab, it was 44 per cent for the country and only 31, 31 and 33 per cent in Baluchistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively.

Women comprise around 44 per cent of the registered voters but have been mostly kept from using this basic right in the past.

Total number of voters has gone up from 80.7mn in 2008 to 86.1mn this year but analysts foresee a low turnout for terrorist attacks/threats, ban on transportation facility for voters by the candidates and voter’s distrust in elections and disappointment with politicians.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes. With increase in the number of overenthusiastic young voters, the emergence of PTI on the electoral landscape, a comprehensive security plan put in place for polling day, chances of massive women polling (Candidates and parties concluded written agreements inhibiting women from casting votes. But this time no intra- parties’ agreement has surfaced so far) and with almost all parties participating in elections as against 2008 when several boycotted the process, hopefully the turnout would be good enough, between 50-55 per cent in this election.

Voters generally look at the candidate’s personal caste, character or performance, his party and its manifesto or his own personal interests at the time of voting.

Some, especially die-hard workers, say parties’ performances and manifestos, rather than candidates’ characters, should be the main concern for voters as it is parties that form governments and ultimately decide things. But the rest -the swinging majority- have their own priorities.

“The problem is parties are run by their leaders and their selected buddies. If the party is in wrong hands, they would violate rules, its manifestos and national interests for their political interests and will ruin institutions by nepotism and favouritism and use the national exchequer senselessly for self/party aggrandisement. So, a party shouldn’t be supported if its leadership and candidate’s character and competency are questionable,” says Shakirullah Khan, a lecturer.

“Some parties seek votes over slogans of religious revolution, sectarianism or support terrorists in one way or the other. Supporting them is tantamount to dividing the state and society on the basis of sects, religions or creed. Can we endure such an environment,” he argues.  

Others say development work, provision of jobs and contracts, financial assistance to the needy, personal liaison with the constituents or good oratory skills should be the bases for supporting a candidate.

“But what if all this is done by a corrupt. Obviously, this support is driven by selfishness. Pakistan owes its retarded growth, rampant poverty and financial weakness to these flawed priorities on part of the voters. By supporting such candidates, one may end up getting benefits but this will leave the country’s resources, people and fate in the hands of senseless rulers, so it cannot be a choice of a patriotic voter,” says Muhammad Iqbal, another voter.

Independent candidates were the fourth largest group in 2008. They polled 11 per cent votes in National Assembly and 26 and 24 per cent votes in Baluchistan and KP assemblies. Being the main source of horse-trading, they must never be voted for.

There are always some persons with good reputation amongst the candidates but they come from parties whose performances were dismal.

“But even if a noble fellow who is contesting from a bad party is sent to his/her parliamentary party and parliament, he/she will be a misfit there amongst most of the self-centred colleagues. Party discipline is another hindrance. If the party decides on a thing that he/she finds obnoxious, he will either have to conform or risk expulsion. If he accepts, corruption will continue as earlier. If he doesn’t, he’ll be sent packing for indiscipline,” according to Shah Hasan, another voter.

But Iqbal responded the personal abilities and character rather than the candidate’s party affiliation should be the guiding factor for voters. Ignoring all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases while voting, they must vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence.

Vote is a sacred trust and casting vote is mandatory. By voting someone, we testify to his character and abilities and authorise him to decide and work on our behalf. It is as if we engage a lawyer who obviously cannot be a person who can be bribed, intimidated and bought, he said.

 

“Even if they have been nominated by popular and reputable parties, voters should reject candidates who are corrupt, loan-defaulters, tax-evaders, are themselves rascals or are supported by rogues, run illegal businesses, use abusive language against opponents, are incompetent, known violators of law or support the extremists and terrorists. And they should support competent persons even if they are contesting on tickets of ‘bad/corrupt’ parties,” he said.

“Of course initially, the men of character will face tough resistance in their parliamentary parties’ meetings and parliament. Perhaps they would be asked to remain quiet or quit the seat. Suppose he/she resigns or is forced to quit over principles, the electorate in the bye-elections must reject the party’s candidate if he/she is not as competent and honest as that one or better support another whose one is better.”

According to him, this will be a lesson for all. “The corrupt will never dare compete elections in future. Parties too will never award tickets to candidates on the basis of their electability but would decide on the basis of their character and capabilities to impress the transformed electorate. The men of character so elected will then be in majority. It will bring a soft revolution in the country’s political and economic landscape. Decisions will then be taken on the basis of merit. Parties’ leadership will no more be in the hands of the corrupt but in competent and honest hands.”

Voters should continue with their determination not to send corrupt elements to parliament. This obviously is a long route. But slowly and gradually it will become a norm and most of the electorate will follow suit.

People are heard criticising corrupt leaders but they too are equally guilty for preferring them over the incorruptible, competent and trustworthy substitutes. If parties ensure awarding tickets to ‘electables’ (not necessarily competent and honest candidates), it is because the electorate too has been accepting their nominees. It’s very shameful that electorate go on to elect the very candidates, who were disqualified for having fake degrees. This practice of siding with the corrupt must end.

 

Challenges to PTI KP government

Change they need
The new government in KP faces big challenges anyway, but they become even bigger because of the PTI’s promises
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-19-05-2013/pol1.htm#6

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stunned all and sundry with its performance in the recently held elections. Though it couldn’t sweep elections across the country as predicted by Imran Khan, it became the biggest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PTI is going to form a coalition government in KP with Jamaat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and some independent members.

The PTI contested elections on the agenda of change. Its manifesto pledges, inter alia, devolution of power, zero tolerance for corruption, improvement of economy through reforms in energy, expenditure, revenue sectors, institutional reforms, accountability and governance reforms. It promises human capital development, skill development and a welfare state and says the state will provide uniform system of education for all, equal opportunity and a social safety net for the poor. It also promises to banish the VIP culture and rightsizing of the government and so on.

The PTI will initiate changes across the board in the first 90 days of its government, according to its manifesto.

The PTI government in KP can both be an asset and a liability. Though Imran Khan says the PTI government will be a model one, governance is certainly being seen as a big challenge in the province. However, all agree that the PTI future is directly dependent upon the performance of its government and its ability to deliver on its agenda of change.

The PTI has had announced several policies and manifesto. It should implement them but it will be difficult unless these are followed by a pragmatic plan of action — a vision that could serve as a guide for the party government and its workers. The PTI has prepared an action plan for ‘Naya Pakistan’ which is generally thought of as unrealistic.

In its bid to attract the young voters, the PTI leaders spoke of lofty ideals that generated high expectations. Living up to these expectations of the young supporters will be a herculean task for the PTI and its government.

Unless the gap between the ground realities and lofty ideals espoused by the PTI is bridged on emergency basis, the party will risk losing its youth even if its performance is better than the previous governments. However, this idealism can be an asset if supported by a realistic plan of action.

Most of the young PTI supporters are idealists. They have little knowledge of how our political system works. They were heard saying the PTI will lash the corrupt in public, will dismiss and replace Zardari immediately after polls, or that Imran will become prime minister/president immediately after election results are announced or that police and patwari system will be abolished.

Analysts say drone attacks, security problem, bad performance of other parties and the PTI slogan of change were the major factors in its victory. Change is, however, a complex phenomenon.

When Imran talks of change, he doesn’t mean he will disband the present system. Instead, he believes in working within the framework of the constitution and law to achieve his objectives. So, in fact, he is for reform and not overturning of the present system of election and governance in the country. Unfortunately, most of the PTI supporters don’t know this. When they will see that the same structure of government, with patwari, police, clerks etc, continues, they will get disillusioned.

Loadshedding, terrorism, restoration of peace, economic development, and reduction in poverty, inflation and joblessness are some major challenges facing the PTI.

According to Muhammad Khan, a Batkhela-based academic, the PTI will have to improve law and order situation through government-militant talks. Besides de-radicalisation and economic empowerment of people, the government will also have to deal with foreign militants.

“It will have to reduce loadshedding for which a short and medium term power generation plan based on micro-hydro power stations will have to be launched. It will have to introduce reforms in different departments to stop corruption and ensure transparency. To eradicate poverty and joblessness, it will have to start an emergency programme for small businesses that ensures interest-free small loans and technical training to youngsters to start their businesses. And most of all, it must prefer collective mega projects for community development.”

“The PTI will now have to deal with Taliban directly and help shape Pakistan’s Talibans’ policy. It will be exposed for the first time to militants. Will it still talk of talks if Taliban continue to challenge the state? Will Imran be able to bring peace to KP, stop drone attacks, eliminate loadshedding and improve economy and livelihood? For this, he will have to engage with other parties and the federal government. This necessitates a change in his style. He will have to be broad-minded, careful in his utterances and tolerant of others. Is Imran prepared to do that,” asks another academic who wished anonymity.

“Leniency and patience are the keys to success. The tension between the JUI and the PTI and the PML-N and the PTI must subside. Political differences must never become personal enmity. They should have working relationship. The PTI leadership and workers must shun bigotry, show magnanimity by accepting others and start doing issues-based politics instead of attacking personalities,” he adds.

According to a political worker, for dearth of experienced men in its ranks, the PTI won’t be able to establish a strong government. Only Pervez Khattak, Yousaf Ayub and Sardar Idrees have served as ministers. Another PTI MPA-elect Yasin Khalil had worked as nazim of a town during the Musharraf era.

“However, inexperience is not the only problem. Internal tensions between the old and new guards, represented by Asad Qaiser and Pervez Khattak respectively, is another problem. The PTI has opted for Khattak, a new comer, and neglected the committed and old Qaiser for the CM slot and has thereby risked its agenda of change. It will be deemed as injustice to the old guards. I think the two PTI allies — JI and QWP — have experienced members and would be the real beneficiaries of the setup,” he adds.

Then coalition government has its own compulsions. The PTI CM will have hard time to reconcile the conflicting interests of allies. “Selection of competent bureaucrats on merit for running the province will not be easy for dearth of officers, allies’ interests and internal rivalry between the old and new groups in the PTI,” he says.

There are other challenges too. In its expenditure reforms, the PTI had pledged ‘symbols of pomp and glory’ (e.g. Chief Minister and Governor Houses) will be shut down and put to public use. While it will need support of the federal government for closing the latter, the former can be easily shut down as the PTI incumbent will be occupying it.

It had also vowed to ‘limit’ perks of ministers, members of assemblies and civil bureaucrats and eliminate all discretionary funds and development funds for the parliamentarians. Will its MPAs let it do so?

During the previous Awami National Party government, the PTI had demonstrated against and urged the ANP to halt the Nato supply line. Will it be able to do that now when it is in power itself? The promise of uniform system of education is also uncertain. Will it be done by banning private schools or by privatising public schools? And rightsizing of government departments may well entail making many jobless.

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Challenges to PTI government in KP

By Tahir Ali

Pakistan Tehreeki Insaf (PTI) stunned all and sundry with its performance in the recently held elections. Though it couldn’t sweep elections across the country as predicted by Imran Khan, it became the biggest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PTI is going to form a coalition government in KP with Jamat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and some independent members.

PTI contested elections on the agenda of change. Its manifesto pledges, inter alia, devolution of power, zero tolerance for corruption, improvement of economy through reforms in energy, expenditure, revenue sectors, institutional reforms, accountability and governance reforms. It promises human capital development, skill development and a welfare state and says the state will provide uniform system of education for all, equal opportunity and a social safety net for the poor. It also promises to banish VIP culture and rightsizing of the government and so on.

PTI will initiate changes across the board in the first 90 days of its government, according to its manifesto.

The PTI government in KP can both be an asset and liability. Though Imran Khan says the PTI government will be a model one, opinions differ on as to whether the PTI will be able to form one. However all agree that the PTI future is directly dependent upon the performance of its government and its ability to deliver on its agenda of change.

PTI has had announced several policies and manifesto. It should implement them but it will be difficult unless these are followed by a pragmatic plan of action –a vision that could serve as guide for party government and its workers. The PTI has prepared an action plan for ‘Naya Pakistan’ but it is generally thought of as unrealistic.

In its bid to attract the young voters, the PTI leaders spoke of lofty ideals that generated higher expectations.  Living up to these expectations of the naive young supporters will be a herculean task for PTI and its government.

Unless the gap between the ground realities and lofty ideals espoused by PTI is bridged on emergency basis, the party will risk losing its youth even if its performance is better than the previous governments. However, this idealism can be an asset if supported by a realistic plan of action.

Most of the young PTI supporters are idealists. They have little knowledge of how our political system works. They were heard saying PTI will lash the corrupt in public, will dismiss and replace Zardari immediately after polls, or that Imran will become prime minister/president immediately after election results are announced or that police and patwaris system will be abolished.

Analysts say drone attacks, security problem, bad performance of other parties and the PTI slogan of change were the major factors in its victory. Change is however a complex phenomenon.

When Imran talks of change, he doesn’t mean he will disband the present system. Instead, he believes in working within the framework of the constitution and law to achieve his objectives. So, in fact he is for reform and not overturning of the present system of election and governance in the country. Unfortunately most of the PTI supporters don’t know this. When they will see that the same structure of government, with patwari, police, clerks etc, continues, they will get disillusioned.

Loadshedding, terrorism, restoration of peace, economic development, and reduction in poverty, inflation and joblessness are some major challenges ahead of PTI.

According to Muhammad Khan, a Batkhela-based academic, PTI will have to improve law and order situation through government-militant talks, de-radicalization, economic empowerment and integration of the local and naturalisation of foreign, militants.

“It will have to reduce loadshedding for which a short and medium term power generation plan based on micro-hydro power stations will have to be launched. It will have to introduce reforms in different departments to stop corruption and ensure transparency. To eradicate poverty and joblessness, it will have to start an emergency programme for small businesses that ensures interest-free small loans and technical training to youngsters to start their businesses. And most of all, it must prefer collective mega projects for community development.”

“PTI will now have to deal with Taliban directly and help shape Pakistan’s Taliban’s policy. It will be exposed for the first time to militants. Will it still talk of talks if Taliban continue to challenge war on the country. Will Imran be able to bring peace to KP, stop drone attacks, eliminate loadshedding and improve economy and livelihood? For this he will have to engage with other parties and the federal government. This necessitates a change in his style. He will have to be broad-minded, careful in his utterances and tolerant of others. Is Imran and PTI prepared to do that,” says another academic who wished anonymity.

“Leniency and patience are the keys to its success. The tension between JUI and PTI and PML-N and PTI must subside.  Political differences must never become personal enmity. They should have working relationship. The PTI leadership and workers must shun bigotry, show magnanimity by accepting others and start doing issues-based politics instead of attacking personalities,” he adds.

According to a political worker, for dearth of experienced men in its ranks, PTI won’t be able to establish a strong government. Only Pervez Khattak, Yousaf Ayub and Sardar Idrees have served as ministers. Another PTI MPA-elect Yasin Khalil had worked as nazim of a town during Musharraf era.

“However, inexperience is not the only problem. Internal tensions between the old and new guards, represented by Asad Qaiser and Pervez Khattak respectively, is another problem. PTI has opted for Khattak, a new comer, and neglected the committed and old Qaiser for the CM slot and has thereby risked its agenda of change. It will be deemed as injustice to the old guards. I think the two PTI allies –JI and QWP – have experienced members and would be the real beneficiaries of the setup,” he adds.  

Then coalition government has its own compulsions. The PTI CM will have hard time to reconcile the conflicting interests of allies.

“Selection of competent bureaucrats on merit for running the province will not be easy for dearth of officers, allies’ interests and internal rivalry between the old and new groups in PTI,” he says.

There are other challenges. In its expenditure reforms, the PTI had pledged ‘symbols of pomp and glory’ (e.g. Chief Minister and Governor Houses) will be shut down and put to public use. While it will need support of federal government for closing the later, the former can be easily shut down as PTI incumbent will be occupying it.

It had also vowed to ‘limit’ perks of ministers, members of assemblies and civil bureaucrats and eliminate all discretionary funds and development funds for the parliamentarians. Will its MPAs let it do so?

 During the previous Awami National Party government, PTI had demonstrated against and urged ANP to halt the NATO supply line. Will it be able to do that now when it is in power itself?

The promise of uniform system of education is also uncertain. Will it be done by banning private schools or by privatising public schools? And rightsizing of government departments may well entail making many jobless.

PTI has indeed given a vision of change to its workers and raised their confidence but like some others, they lack sportsman spirit. They must be taught to respect the ideals and leaders of other parties and learn the art of discussion and tolerance. Unfortunately, by its loose talk, brandishing political opponents as fraudsters, unpatriotic, corrupt and inefficient, some political leaders have inculcated a culture of intolerance and accusations in the youth of the country.

Handbook for winners and losers in elections

The article was published on May12 2013 when election results were pouring in

verdict
Handbook for winning and losing candidates
If you or your party has won, ask your supporters to remain within the limits of law. Bury the hatchet. Visit all your fellow contestants and build a democratic, moderate Pakistan
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-12-05-2013/pol1.htm#1

By the time these lines are published, the country would have sailed through the exciting process of general elections — peacefully, fairly and transparently, one hopes.

Everyone who contests elections is ultimately a winner or a loser. Obviously, there can only be one winner amongst the contesting candidates. And if that one is not you, accept the verdict of the electorate and your defeat wholeheartedly.

Otherwise, there will be no difference between you and the extremists who, instead of allowing people to vote as per their sweet will, imposed their choices over them by attacking some parties and asking the people to remain away from them.

Don’t build conspiracy theories or indulge in allegations of rigging for rationalising the win of your opponent. And never indulge in anti-polls campaign as anti-democracy forces would surely benefit from it as has always been the case during the past.

Build new sound precedents. For example, call or visit your victorious opponent to felicitate him/her over the victory. We have something to learn from the developed countries in this regard. Candidates there indulge in criticising the opponents but once elections are held, the loser readily accepts the defeat and congratulates the winner.

And if you or your party have won, ask your supporters to remain within the limits of law and morality. Be patient, caring and unselfish. Bury the hatchet. Invite or better visit all your fellow contestants together. Ask them to guide and help you in serving the masses. Take their feedback as to what were the most important and urgent items on their agenda had they won. Keep in touch with them. This will help you better serve your constituency.

This is what democracy demands to take roots in our country: the spirit of tolerance, conciliation and cooperation on part of both the loser and winner.

With the ECP independent, the print and electronic media highly active and vigilant, voters lists cleared of bogus votes, elaborate arrangements made for conducting free and transparent elections and the people resilient to vote and so on, no party or candidate would continue to harp on the theory of massive rigging or establishment’s interference in favour of some parties to reject the polls results.

All this had made it impossible for parties or individual candidates to indulge in taking over polling stations and rigging on a massive scale as was witnessed in some previous elections.

We have had enough of selective morality. We have had several times been hit by the ‘I don’t accept’ mentality. Pakistan was dismembered mainly for the fact that Sheikh-Mujeebur Rehman-led Awami League, the winner of the 1970 election, was not allowed to form government as per the mandate given to it.

Similarly, in 1977, the military took over as the opposition agitated against the alleged rigging in elections. The period between 1988 to1999 was characteristic of an acute political polarisation between the major parties with Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto.

Between 1988 and 1999, five governments were sworn in against the required/normal two. It was because the PPP and the PML-N wasted no opportunity in dislodging the other by indulging themselves in palace intrigues, and horse-trading, etc.

Going by the principles of popular sovereignty and representative democracy, no one can justify the shenanigans of the religious and political leadership during these years. Some religious figures, unabashedly, played in cohort with the establishment. Routed by the people in 1993, a religious leader didn’t accept the people’s verdict against his wishes and continued his famous Dharnas and ‘million marches’ until the elected government of Benazir Bhutto was dislodged. Then he boycotted the next polls for he wanted elections be preceded by accountability. He didn’t own up these results either because he wanted something else.

The PPPP, the ANP and the MQM, no doubt, didn’t get the level playing field for the TTP threats. There were fears they might go for the boycott, but luckily sanity prevailed. But I am unconvinced if these attacks and threats had any worthwhile negative impact on their final results. Instead, they were judged on the basis of their performance during the previous government. And as the Pakistani electorate usually supports those who are on the receiving end and done wrong to, they might have, instead, gained from the sympathy wave.

The other parties, which the TTP didn’t target, relished freedom to organise rallies and conduct elections campaign the way they wanted. They felt happy for the leverage they got vis-à-vis their counterparts and hoped to capitalise on it. But as it became certain their freedom might not benefit them as they wished, some parties and leaders started talking in strange terms.

For example, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the JUI-F chief, warned that non-state actors would decide the destiny of Pakistan if moderate politics of the JUI-F were blocked. He said the JUI-F was the hope of the nation and the country but conspiracies were being hatched to keep the JUI-F out of the democratic politics. “If our path is blocked, the people would lose faith in parliamentary politics and hence democracy and the country will lose enormously,” he added.

A worker of another religious party recently told me his party chief said if his party path was blocked, they would reconsider their strategy for bringing a change in the country. He quoted the leader as saying that opinions differ on the point as to whether change can be brought through elections or other means. “Some argue otherwise. But I fear if the path of our party was blocked, they would gain majority and I would be hard-pressed to conform,” he said.

What this practically means? Isn’t it a bare warning to the people: Elect us or you would be strengthening those who are against democracy? Can a democratic leader talk this way?

Despite several issues associated with democracy in Pakistan — rigging, horse-trading, role of money in elections, dynasties and feudalism, weak legal framework to impose election laws, etc — democracy is arguably the best ever system of election, governance and accountability contrived so far.

Elections afford the people an opportunity on regular intervals to dismiss those in power if they fail to deliver. It is for the safety, welfare and empowerment of the masses and, thus, cannot be discredited.

The future is now in your hands. Give confidence and hope to the nation that has seen little to cherish in the past. Help build a democratic, moderate and tolerant Pakistan by being a role-model for the nation.

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Original text of the article

Burying the hatchet Or Needed a democratic behaviour

By Tahir Ali

By time these lines are published, the country will have sailed through the exciting process of general elections –peacefully, fairly and transparently, one wishes.

Everyone who contests elections is ultimately a winner or loser. Obviously, there can only be one winner amongst the contesting candidates. And if that one is not you, If you were a candidate but lost elections, accept the verdict of the electorate and your defeat wholeheartedly. Otherwise, there will be no difference between you and the extremists who instead of allowing the people to vote as per their sweet will, imposed their desires/choices over them by attacking some parties and asking the people to remain aloof from them.     

Don’t build conspiracy theories or indulge in allegations of rigging for rationalising the win of your opponent. And never indulge in anti-polls campaign as anti-democracy forces would surely benefit from it as has always been during the past.

Build new sound precedents. For example, call or better visit your victorious opponent along with your supporters to felicitate him/her over the victory.

We have something to learn from the West in this regard. Candidates there indulge in scathing, though not depraved, criticism of the opponents but once elections are held, the loser readily accepts the defeat and congratulates the winner.

And if you or your party have won, ask your supporters to merry but within the limits of law and morality. Be patient, caring and unselfish. Bury the hatchet. Invite or better visit all your fellow contestants together. Ask them to guide and help you in serving the masses. Take their feedback as to what were the most important and urgent items on their agenda had they won. Keep in touch with them. This will help you better serve your constituency.

This is what democracy demands to take roots in our country: the spirit of tolerance, conciliation and cooperation on part of both the loser and winner.

With the ECP independent, the print/electronic media highly active and vigilant, the Establishment neutral, having no darlings, voters lists cleared of bogus votes, elaborate arrangements made for conducting free and transparent elections and the people resilient to vote and almost all parties took part in elections despite threats, no party or candidates in its/his right senses would continue to harp on the theory of massive rigging or establishment’s interference in favour of some parties to reject the polls results.

All this had made it impossible for parties or individual candidates to indulge in taking over polling stations and rigging on massive scale as was witnessed in previous elections.

We have had enough of selective morality. Win, yes. Defeat, no. We have had several times been hit by the ‘I don’t accept’ mentality. Pakistan was dismembered mainly for the fact that Sheikh-Mujeebur Rehman-led Awami League, the winner of the 1970 election, was not allowed to form government as per the mandate given to it.

 Similarly in 1977, the military took over as the opposition agitated against the alleged rigging in elections (there were indeed some genuine complaints of elections rigging then, but my emphasis is on the fallout of the anti-poll campaign).

The period between 1988 to1999 was characteristic of an acute political polarisation between the major parties with Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto alternatively siding with the establishment against the other.

Between 1988 and 1999, five governments were sworn in against the required/normal two. It was because the PPP and PML-N wasted no opportunity in dislodging the other by indulging themselves in palace intrigues, horse-trading and playing as the scions of the establishment against the political opponents with impunity. This behaviour on their part was anything but democratic or in consonance with the notion of popular sovereignty –that it is the people who have the ultimate right to elect their rulers and no one else.

Going by the principles of popular sovereignty and representative democracy, no one can justify the shenanigans of the role of religious and political leadership during these years. Some religious figures unabashedly played in cohort with establishment. Routed by the people in 1993, a religious leader didn’t accept the people’s verdict against his wishes and continued his famous Dharnas and ‘million marches’ until the elected government of Benazir Bhutto was dislodged. Then he boycotted the next polls for he wanted elections be preceded by accountability. He didn’t own up these results either because he wanted something else.

The PPPP, ANP and MQM, no doubt, didn’t get the level playing field for the TTP threats. There were fears they might go for the boycott but luckily sanity prevailed. But I am unconvinced if these attacks and threats had any worthwhile negative impact on their final results. Instead, they were judged on the basis of their performance during the previous government. And as the Pakistani electorate usually supports those who are on the receiving end and done wrong to, they might have, instead, gained from the sympathy wave.      

The other parties, who the TTP didn’t dislike and target, relished freedom to organise rallies and conduct elections campaign the way they wanted. They felt happy for the leverage they got vis-à-vis their counterparts and hoped to capitalise on it. But as it became certain their freedom might not benefit them as they wished, some parties and leaders started talking in strange terms.

 For example, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the JUI-F chief, warned that non-state actors would decide the destiny of Pakistan if moderate politics of JUI-F were blocked. He said the JUI-F was the hope of nation and country but conspiracies were being hatched to keep the JUI-F out of the democratic politics. “If our path is blocked, the people would lose faith in parliamentary politics and hence democracy and country will lose enormously,” he added.

A worker of another religious party recently told me his party chief said if his party path was blocked, they would reconsider their strategy for bringing change in the country. He quoted the leader as saying that opinions differ on the point as to whether change can be brought through elections or other means. “Some argue otherwise. But I fear if the path of our party was blocked, they would gain majority and I would be hard-pressed to conform,” he said.

What this practically means? Isn’t it a bare warning to the people: Elect us or you would be strengthening those who are against democracy? Can a democratic leader talk this way?

Despite several drawbacks associated with Pakistani. brand of democracy –rigging, horse-trading, role of money in elections, dynasties and feudalism, absence of economic liberty for the poor majority, weak legal framework to impose election laws etc – democracy is arguably the best ever system of election, governance and accountability contrived so far.  It affords the people an opportunity on regular intervals to punish those in power if they fail to deliver. It is for the safety, welfare and empowerment of the masses and thus cannot be discredited for the looting and plunders of ‘democratic leaders’.

The future is now in your hands. Give confidence and hope to the nation that has seen little to cherish in the past. Help build a democratic, moderate and tolerant Pakistan by being a role-model for the nation.

Review of PPPP performance

Review of PPPP performance

performance
Facts and fudging
Economists are reluctant to buy what the PPP ads boast about the last five-year performance on economy
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/apr2013-weekly/nos-21-04-2013/pol1.htm#1

The Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) recently published advertisements in newspapers and issued its manifesto for the 2013 elections wherein it enumerated its achievements during its last five-year rule.

Economic experts, however, reject these claims and accuse the regime of fudging the figures, mismanagement, poor governance and fiscal indiscipline.

The national economy is still faced with low revenue receipts, declining tax to GDP ratio, rising current expenditure, dying foreign direct and local investment, low annual GDP growth rate, rising debt to GDP ratio, acute power/gas crisis and the inefficient and sick public sector entities (PSEs).

Though the PPP claims reducing inflation to 9.6 per cent, it remained in double digits, hovering between 11-15 per cent during the last five years. As per the Ministry of Finance (MoF) figures, overall consumer price index and food CPI increased from 100 points in 2008 to 175 points and 196 points in January 2013. The IMF says inflation in Pakistan will return to double digits by the end of this fiscal year.

Food insecurity is on the rise. As per the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the BISP, 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure.

According to Dr Muhammad Yaqoob, former State Bank governor, the economic conditions of an average family have become worse due to rising prices, large-scale unemployment and shortage and the rising cost of gas and electricity.

The PPP had vowed to establish a fair tax system. It claimed raising tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2 trillion in 2012. Though revenues have increased in quantity, as per 2012-13 fiscal policy statement (FPS) of the MoF, total revenues were 14.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 which came down to 12.4 per cent in 2012.

The government has been unable to meet any of the revenue, expenditure and deficit targets over the last five years. For indecisiveness or self-centredness, it failed to levy tax on agriculture and impose reformed general sales tax as it didn’t want to annoy the industrial, business or agriculture lobbies and political allies. Most of its leaders allegedly avoided fulfilling their tax responsibilities, thus setting bad precedents for others.

The party claimed foreign remittances are now $14 billion against $6.4 billion in 2008. But “the rise partly reflects the diversion of black money and illegally-held capital abroad through remittance channels without any fear of being questioned about the sources of the funds. Moreover, there has been an inevitable need for workers abroad to send more remittances to support their families against rising inflation,” according to Dr Yaqoob.

According to FPS, the real GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2007. It came down to 3.7 per cent in 2008. From 2009 to 2012, it was recorded at only 1.7, 3.1, 3.0 and 3.7 per cent respectively.

The PPPP, in its 2008 manifesto, had pledged a sound debt policy and that the future generations won’t be overburdened with excessive debt.

But instead, the public debt — both domestic and foreign debt — has more than doubled in the last five years. It borrowed more than all the previous governments combined. The public debt was Rs4.8 trillion in 2008 but reached Rs12.6 trillion by June 2012. The tax to GDP ratio which was 55.4 per cent in 2007 was at 61.3 per cent in 2012. Total debt is now over Rs13 trillion.

Every Pakistani baby was born with a debt of Rs30,000 in 2007. Today he/she carries a debt of over Rs80,000.

The debt rose up by 21 per cent per annum despite the fact that fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act of 2005 had asked for reducing debt to GDP by 2.5 per cent annually to be able to keep Debt to GDP ratio below 60 per cent by June 2012-13.

If the IMF standby arrangement programme hadn’t remained suspended over the last three years, Pakistan’s external debt of $66 billion would have been jacked up by another $5-6 billion during the time.

The SBP second quarterly report for 2012-13 states that the government was unable to meet its self-imposed quarterly limit of zero net budgetary borrowing from the SBP.

Pakistan’s domestic debt servicing is climbing and is now the biggest single expenditure item. Similarly, its external debt servicing will reach $6 billion in the current and to $7 billion in the next fiscal year.

The party claims to have reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008. But if compared with 4.4 per cent in 2007, it rose to 5.3, 6.3, 6.0 and 6.6 per cent respectively in the next four years. The IMF estimates fiscal deficit will be 7.0-7.5 per cent of GDP as against the government target of 4.7 per cent. According to Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a leading economist, the fiscal deficit reached as high as 8.5 per cent last year.

The manifesto claims Forex reserves are now $13.2 billion against $8.2 billion in 2008, but according to Dr Khan, the SBP’s Forex reserves stand at $6.69 billion on April 5. “Pakistan must retire $0.838 billion to IMF by June 30. With little or insufficient external inflows, the SBP’s reserves may fall to $5.8 billion by June 2013. The SBP has borrowed $2.3 billion from commercial banks in the forward market and if we adjust it, the SBP’s reserves would be $3.5 billion by then — sufficient to trigger a crisis of confidence.”

The party claimed it reduced interest rate from 15 per cent in 2008 to 9.6 per cent in 2013. Industrialists and experts doubt this. Nevertheless, the rate spread — the difference between return on deposits and lending rates — is still very high in Pakistan.

In 2008, the rupee was 62.61 against the dollar. The PPP left it at 98.98 by March 15, 2013. This has, besides causing price-hike locally, increased public debt and made imports costlier.

Instead of restructuring or privatising the loss-making PSEs, the PPP government kept on doling out hundreds of billion annually to these entities. Most of the PSEs were allegedly handed over to political cronies and were further destroyed by large-scale inductions by treating them, as Dr Khan put it, as employment bureaus.

Though the party claims having added 3600MW to the national grid, the country continues to face acute energy shortage. It has made life miserable for the people, halted industrial development and estimated to have inflicted a loss of Rs3 trillion to the country during last five years.

Over Rs1.8 trillion doled out to the power sector for financing circular debt would have sufficed to complete several projects that would have solved much of the energy problems.

The PPP had promised growth of business and industry with equity and making private sector as engine of growth. But Pakistan’s industrial sector and the private sector was badly hit by lawlessness, policy inaction and shortage of energy.

In 2007, large scale industrial production was 8.7 per cent which came down to 4.1 per cent in 2008 and to minus 8.2 per cent in 2009. In 2010, it again increased to 4.81 per cent but then declined to 1.14 per cent in 2011 and 1.02 per cent in 2012.

Economic growth was three per cent per annum during the PPP tenure against seven per cent per annum in the preceding five years.

Dr Khan said investment rate also continued coming down during the last five years and declined to a 50-year low at 12.5 per cent of GDP from 22.5 per cent in 2006-07. Industrial growth stagnated at near zero per cent against 12.4 per cent per annum in the preceding five years.

During FY09, foreign direct investment fell to $3.72 billion and further to $2.20 billion in 2010 and $1.63 billion in 2011.

…………………….

Original text of the article.

Reviewing PPPP performance on economy

By Tahir Ali

The Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) recently published advertisements in newspapers and issued its manifesto for the 2013 elections wherein it enumerated its achievements during its rule.

Independent economic experts however reject these claims and accuse the regime of, inter alia, fudging of figures, mismanagement, poor governance, self-centredness and fiscal indiscipline.

The national economy is still faced with low revenue receipts, declining tax to GDP ratio, rising current expenditure, dying foreign direct and local investment, low annual GDP growth rate, rising debt to GDP ratio, acute power/gas crisis and the inefficient and sick public sector entities (PSEs).

Inflation

Though PPP claims reducing inflation to 9.6 per cent, it remained in double digits, hovering between 11-15 per cent during the last five years. As per the ministry of finance (MoF) figures, overall consumer price index and food CPI increased from 100 points in 2008 to 175 points and 196 points in January 2013. The IMF says inflation in Pakistan will return to double digits by the end of this fiscal year.

Food insecurity is on the rise. As per the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the BISP, 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure.

According to Dr Muhammad Yaqoob, former State Bank governor, the economic conditions of an average family have become worse due to rising prices, largescale unemployment and shortage and the rising cost of gas and electricity.

Revenue

The PPP had vowed to establish a fair tax system. It claimed raising tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2tr in 2012. Though revenues have increased in quantity, but as per 2012-13 fiscal policy statement (FPS) of the MoF, total revenues were 14.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 which came down to 12.4 per cent in 2012.

The government has been unable to meet none of the revenue, expenditure and deficit targets over the last five years. For indecisiveness or self-centredness, it failed to levy tax on agriculture and impose reformed general sales tax as it didn’t want to annoy the industrial, business or agriculture lobbies and political allies. Most of its leaders allegedly avoided fulfilling their tax responsibilities, thus setting bad precedents for others.

Foreign remittances

The party claimed foreign remittances are now $14bn against $6.4bn in 2008. But “the rise partly reflects the diversion of black money and illegally-held capital abroad through remittance channels without any fear of being questioned about the sources of the funds. Moreover, there has been an inevitable need for workers abroad to send more remittances to maintain their families for rising inflation,” according to him.

GDP growth

According to FPS, real GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2007. It came down to 3.7 per cent in 2008. During 2009 to 2012, it was recorded at only 1.7, 3.1, 3.0 and 3.7 per cent.

Public Debt

The PPPP, in its 2008 manifesto, had pledged a sound debt policy and that the future generations won’t be overburdened with excessive debt.

But instead, the public debt –both domestic and foreign debt –has more than doubled in last five years. It borrowed more than all the previous governments combined. The public debt was Rs4.8 trillion in 2008 but reached Rs12.6tr at June 2012. The tax to GDP ratio which was 55.4 per cent in 2007 is now at 61.3 per cent in 2012. Total debt is now over Rs13tr.

Every Pakistani baby was born with a debt of Rs30,000 in 2007. Today he/she carries a debt of over Rs80000.

The debt rose up by 21 per cent per annum despite the fact that fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act of 2005 had asked for reducing debt to GDP by 2.5 percent annually to be able to keep Debt to GDP below 60 percent by June 2012-13.

If the IMF standby arrangement programme hadn’t remained suspended over the last three years, Pakistan’s external debt of $66bn would have been jacked up by another $5-6 billion during the time.

The SBP second quarterly report for 2012-13 states that the government was unable to meet its self-imposed quarterly limit of zero net budgetary borrowing from SBP.

Pakistan’s domestic debt servicing is climbing and is now the biggest single expenditure item. Similarly, its external debt servicing will reach $6bn in the current and to $7bn in the next fiscal year.

Fiscal deficit

The party claims having reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008. But if compared with 4.4 per cent in 2007, it rose to 5.3, 6.3, 6.0 and 6.6 per cent in the next four years. The IMF estimates fiscal deficit will be 7.0-7.5 percent of GDP as against government target of 4.7 percent. According to Dr Khan, fiscal deficit reached as high as 8.5 percent last year.

Foreign exchange reserves

The manifesto claims Forex reserves are now $13.2bn against $8.2bn in 2008 but according to Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a leading economist, the SBP’s Forex reserves stand at $6.69bn on April 5. Pakistan must retire $0.838bn to IMF by June 30. With little or insufficient external inflows, the SBP’s reserves may fall to $5.8bn by June 2013. The SBP has borrowed $2.3bn from commercial banks in the forward market and if we adjust it, the SBP’s reserves would be $3.5bn by then– sufficient to trigger a crisis of confidence.”

Interest rate

The party claimed it reduced interest rate from 15 per cent in 2008 to 9.6 per cent in 2013. Industrialists and experts doubt this. Nevertheless, the rate spread –the difference between return on deposits and lending rates –is still very high in Pakistan.

Rupee devaluation

In 2008, the rupee was 62.61 against the dollar. The PPP left it at 98.98 by March 15, 2013. This has, besides causing price-hike locally, increased public debt and made imports costlier.

Bleeding PSEs

Instead of restructuring or privatising the loss-making PSEs, the PPPP government kept on doling out hundreds of billion annually to these entities. Most of the PSEs were allegedly handed over to political cronies and were further destroyed by large-scale inductions by treating them, as Dr Khan put it, as employment bureaus.

Energy imbroglio

Though the party claims having added 3600MW to the national grid, the country continues to face acute energy shortage. It has made life miserable for the people, halted industrial development and estimated to have inflicted a loss of Rs3tr to the country during last five years.

Over Rs1.8 trillion doled out to the power sector for financing circular debt would have sufficed to complete several projects that would have solved much of the energy problems.

Industrial, economic growth and investment

The PPPP had promised growth of business and industry with equity and of making private sector as engine of growth. But Pakistan’s industrial sector and the private sector was badly hit by lawlessness, policy inaction and shortage of energy.

In 2007, large scale industrial production was 8.7 percent which came down to 4.1 percent in 2008 and to minus 8.2 percent in 2009. In 2010, it again increased to 4.81 percent but then declined to 1.14 percent in 2011 and 1.02 percent in 2012.

Economic growth was three percent per annum during the PPP tenure against seven percent per annum in the preceding five years.

Dr Khan said investment rate also continued coming down during the last five years and declined to a 50-year low at 12.5 percent of GDP from 22.5 percent in 2006-07.  Industrial growth stagnated at near zero percent against 12.4 percent per annum in the preceding five years.

During FY09, foreign direct investment fell to $3.72bn and further to $2.20bn in 2010 and $1.63bn in 2011.

Corruption

Corruption was rampant. Hajj scam, Pakistan Steel plunder, railways corruption, rental power loot and others scams remained the talk of the town.  Anti-corruption bodies were however made dysfunctional by their politicization. Transparency International estimated Pakistan lost over Rs8.5tr in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the previous government.

………………..

Achievements of PPPP

The new PPPP’s manifesto and advertisement have listed its accomplishments during the 2008-13 government.

“We inherited a bubble economy based perilously on consumer credit, stock market speculation, property mark-ups, non-transparent privatization and foreign aid. Inflation stood at 25 per cent, making the poor dangerously vulnerable to local and international shocks.”

“We lowered inflation to single digits standing at 9.6 per cent in 2013; raised tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2tn in 2013; We cut the fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 6.6 per cent in 2013(more robust as compared to India’s 8.7 per cent and the USA’s at 8.9 per cent); we kept public borrowing under 60 per cent of GDP; turned a current account deficit of $14bn in 2008 to a surplus of $62bn in 2013; investor confidence grew as the Karachi Stock Exchange index surged to 18,000 points in 2013 from 4,800 points in 2008 ( but the advertisement says it rose up from 5220 points in 2008 to 18185 points in 2013);  Forex reserves were $8.2bn in 2008 but are now $13.2bn (but the advertisement says these increased from $6bn in 2008 to $16bn in 2013); foreign remittances are now $14bn against $6.4bn in 2008; reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008; disbursed Rs 70bn amongst 75 lac deserving families BISP besides other pro-poor programmes; signed the Pak-Iran agreement on Gas Pipe Line, handed over Gowader Port to China; increased exports from $18 in 2008 to $29bn in 2012; the rural economy went up from Rs50bn in 2008 to Rs800bn in 2013; we added 3,700 MW of power to the national grid during our tenure and launched Mangla, Tarbela extension and other projects; increased pays of public sector employees by 158 per cent; foreign investment increased and so on.”