PTI experienced an eventful day on Sunday, as its candidates and supporters rallied across the nation on the call of incarcerated leader Imran Khan, facing police crackdowns in several areas. Meanwhile, the party’s top leadership unveiled its election manifesto, promising radical constitutional reforms and a society where both the affluent and the underprivileged are treated equitably under the law.
The manifesto, revealed just ten days before the general elections on February 8, pledges a series of legislative reforms, including constitutional amendments for the direct election of the prime minister, reducing the tenure of the National Assembly to four years, and the Senate’s to five years.
As central leaders presented the manifesto at a news conference in Islamabad, police cracked down on PTI’s rallies in numerous cities, resulting in the arrest of scores of party workers and leaders.
Additionally, PTI pledged to establish a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ to identify and rectify historical blunders.
Addressing the news conference, PTI leader Gohar Khan emphasized his party’s commitment to introducing constitutional amendments to overhaul the prime minister’s election process and shorten the terms of both parliamentary houses.
“The prime minister will be directly elected by voters, rather than by National Assembly members,” stated Mr. Khan. He added that 50% of Senate members would be elected directly, with the remainder indirectly. The Senate’s tenure would be five years, while the National Assembly’s would be reduced from five to four years.
Furthermore, PTI vows to amend laws and introduce judicial and legal reforms. It pledges to implement Imran Khan’s vision of ‘Riyasat-i-Madina’, ensuring equal treatment under the law for all.
The manifesto, titled ‘Shandaar Pakistan, Shandaar Mustaqbil aur Kharaab Maazi Sey Chutkara’, also addresses economic concerns, emphasizing the importance of a stable government in economic recovery. PTI promises a comprehensive five-year plan to broaden the tax base, reduce expenses, and increase income. The manifesto highlights special attention to the agriculture sector, renewable energy, healthcare, education reform, population control, infrastructure development, communication systems, and anti-corruption measures.
On the foreign policy front, PTI pledges cordial relations with other nations, particularly neighboring countries, with the principle of ‘Pakistan First’.
During the press conference, PTI chairman expressed regret that many party leaders involved in crafting the 168-page manifesto over six months could not attend due to prevailing circumstances, suggesting efforts to sideline PTI from the electoral process.
Meanwhile, clashes between PTI workers and police erupted in various cities, including Lahore, Bahawalpur, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Faisalabad, and Karachi. Despite the crackdown, PTI rallies were held in several areas, with some facing violence and arrests. In Bannu, an explosion outside the residence of a PTI-backed candidate left two people injured, highlighting the tensions surrounding the electoral process.