Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI) in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung produced a report on critical challenges facing the country. The report titled Pakistan: Mapping The Policy Agenda contained extensive policy recommendations for the government covering the following areas: Economy, CPEC, Energy, Water crisis, Extremism/Terrorism, Education, Health, Access to Justice, Climate Change, Foreign Policy, Defense, Freedom of Expression/Media and civil military relations.
Leading experts in respective fields contributed to the report. These included Ex Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, former defense secretary Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik, Ex-DG ACCDA Khalid Banuri, Muzzafar Talpur (Oxfam), Barrister Sarah Belal, Ex-VC UHS Prof Dr Mubashar Malik (Health), Musharraf Zaidi, Raza Rumi, Prof Sajjad Bokhari, Amir Rana, Syed Muhammad Ali & Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri. Muhammad Asim, CFA; Awais A. Sattar, CFA; & Seemab Shehzad, CFA have authored the chapter on Economy.
The publication, moreover, contained IPI’s institutional recommendations and analysis of the manifestos of political parties with a view to explore common ground for cooperation between government and the opposition on critical challenges confronted by the country.
The report was launched on September 10, 2018 in Islamabad.
Politicians from across the political divide participated in the event that was widely attended by academia, think tank community, media, political activists and foreign diplomats based in Islamabad.
The speakers during the event called upon the government to adopt a collaborative and consensus building approach for addressing national issues. They underscored the need for improving the implementation aspect of the policies.
Speaking at the launch ceremony PML-N leader Senator Mussadiq Malik said he hopes that PTI government will continue with the infrastructure projects, initiated by the previous government, for the benefit of common man. Citing the example of the efforts of the previous government on power generation, he said, the new administration should now address the problems in transmission and distribution. He further said that a holistic view of security should be taken instead of looking at the things through the narrow securitized view.
PPP General Secretary Senator Farhatullah Babar praised the publication as “remarkably refreshing” and noted IPI’s recommendations regarding Nuclear Posture Review, extremism and terrorism and mainstreaming of banned organizations. He, however, regretted that the issue was not recommendations, but that of the will to implement them. He called for introspection on who was formulating the policies and who was expected to implement them.
Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar of Balochistan Awami Party regretted that Pakistan, despite making immense sacrifices in the war on terror, was still being maligned. He said there were elements within the country, who were propagating that particular view and urged them to have a broader look at the affairs.
Senator Sitara Ayaz of Awami National Party underscored the need for internal stability. She called for strengthening of the Parliament and urged the government to place a greater focus on addressing the problems facing the country.
Allama Raja Nasir Abbas of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen pointed out that national institutions were weak and the government would have to undertake a massive reforms program for revitalizing them. He appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s assertion that Pakistan will not fight others’ wars and said that it marks a strategic shift.
Maulana Amin Shaheedi of Ummat-e-Wahida asked the new government to show political courage for tackling some of the deep rooted problems and have confidence in national resources rather than looking outwards for assistance.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf’s Nadeem Afzal Chan said the country would have genuine democracy once the political parties that are the building blocks of this political fabric become democratic in their organizational structures.
Executive Director IPI Prof Sajjad Bokhari said: “As the constitutional democracy takes roots, new Parliament and government have their work cut out for them to assert democratic supremacy. Democratic consolidation is still work in progress, and it will be undoubtedly, marred by events”. He further said: “Democratic leaders and civilian policy-makers, thus, have an added responsibility of actually delivering on campaign promises and earning necessary political capital and policy space to affect change. It is here, that, this report comes in handy for Pakistan’s new leadership and policy-makers.”