THE IDEOLOGY OF MUTTAHIDA QUAMI MOVEMENT (MQM)
Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) believes in Realism and Practicalism. Acceptance of reality with an open heart is Realism, a concept based upon the philosophy of its Founder and Leader Mr. Altaf Hussain. Based on Realism positive achievement made through ideologically supported pragmatic programs is called Practicalism.
The short history of Pakistan will show that the country has been ruled throughout by feudal lords, waderas and bureaucrats belonging to the two per cent privileged population of the country. This class dominates the country’s political life, the administrative services, the military establishments, the economy and the general decision making process, while the 98 per cent under-privileged population is denied its rightful share in the exercise of political and economic power in running the affairs of the state. Being politically disadvantaged and economically handicapped this sector of the society is unable to find a place in the assemblies and the corridors of power in the country. As a consequence, it remains perpetually deprived and alienated.
It just plays second fiddle to the ruling class. It is obliged to vote for them, make up the crowd in their political gatherings and processions, raise slogans and resort to appreciative clapping to their soulless and hackneyed speeches, containing promises which are never meant to be fulfilled.
According to the Constitution of Pakistan, every citizen has the right to participate in elections and represent the people in the assemblies. However, the two per cent privileged class has made the entry of the remaining population to the assemblies well nigh impossible. Lavish expenditures on political campaigning have rendered elections as a rich man’s game in which the less fortunate class cannot compete. All major political parties routinely voice sympathy and concern for the poor but refuse to accommodate them in the assemblies and national power structure. Thus the poor workers despite sincere work and sacrifices remain perpetual bystanders.
In the above circumstances, therefore, real democratic culture could not be established in Pakistan. Real democracy means the rule of the majority or in other words Government of the people, by the people, for the people. But strangely in Pakistan even in the name of democracy, the same two per cent privileged class manages to induct its members into the assemblies and other positions of power, while the 98 per cent of the lower and middle class population is totally deprived of its genuine representation.
The democratic system has not developed strong roots in Pakistan, as the two per cent privileged class now ruling the country has neither any concern for the masses nor any genuine love for the democratic institutions. Their primary objective is to remain in power and protect their interests at all costs.
Naturally, therefore, people belonging to such a mindset neither resist undemocratic and unconstitutional activities in the country nor feel any compunction in readily accepting and recognising illegal governments, so long as their personal interests are protected and they are also allowed a share in the booty.
If we look at the record of the various governments of Pakistan since its inception, we will easily notice that be it a democratic government or martial regime, it has always been monopolised by the same two per cent privileged class of the country. As a clever move, this class has inducted its members into all major political parties of the country. This ensures their permanent link with the power irrespective of which party is in the government at a given time. This monopolistic plan of the two per cent privileged class is the main cause of the instability in the democratic institutions of the country. The two- per cent ruling class mainly comprises of the feudal lords, While the remaining 98 per cent population consists of the poor, oppressed and deprived ones. It is now for the people of Pakistan to judge and decide as to how this small self-centred two per cent ruling class could solve the problems faced by the 98 per cent. Isolated and insulated from the masses, this class is totally unaware of the sufferings, agonies, anxieties as well as the aspiration and hopes of the poor and oppressed people. The living standards and the life style of the privileged class are poles apart from the way of life of the less fortunate and alienated people. In fact there is hardly any meeting point between the two of them. The members of this privileged class spend millions of rupees to get elected to the national and provincial assemblies. Hence, their first priority on coming to power is to recover their capital spent on the election campaign, of course, along with compound interest and dividends. They have little time and energy for resolving the problems of their constituencies. For them, power and privileges are the main objective in coming into politics, they do not hesitate to compromise our principles and ideologies and willingly indulge in all kinds of undemocratic practices in order to maintain their hold on the establishment.
As the elected people from the elite class on reaching the corridors of power work only for the interest of the two- per cent population, the masses who elected them find their problems unresolved. They are consequently becoming more rich. They are accumulating wealth with both hands. New land holdings are being acquired, prestigious bungalows, villas are being purchased within the country and abroad, and factories are being established with dubiously acquired capital.
MQM, therefore, feels strongly that Pakistan can never prosper unless the prevailing corrupt political, economic and social system is brought to an end. It is certain that under the existing set up, the people of Pakistan cannot move ahead towards prosperity nor can there be any stability in the democratic system. It is possible only when the 98 per cent poor and middle class people get united and adequately represented in the assemblies and places of power through qualified, honest and committed people belonging to their own class.
The under privileged majority in the country should therefore realise that if they want deliverance from the clutches of the exploiting class and also wish to see the country stable and prosperous then they should elect representatives from their own ranks. Prima facie, it is a difficult task as without wealth any success in elections is next to impossible. But this is really not true. MQM has shown the way.
In the political history of Pakistan, MQM has demolished this antiquated system of thinking. Accepting the facts and realities as they exist in the country, MQM adopted the path of Practicalism and finally made a breakthrough. It succeeded in sending a large number of lower and middle class educated members to the provincial and national assemblies from Karachi, Hyderabad and other urban centres of Sindh without any monetary burden on the part of the incumbents. MQM feels that having shown the way the poor and middle class individuals in other regions of the country should also try to reach the assemblies. But to achieve this, it is necessary that the lower and middle classes of the country should adopt the MQM philosophy of Realism and Practicalism. They should be ready to make a concerted struggle and be prepared for sacrifices. Once the lower and middle class dominates the assemblies, we shall be able to bring about true democracy in the country and solve the problems of the oppressed masses.
WHAT DOES MQM WANT?
Ideologically speaking, MQM is not a proponent of Socialism, Communism or unbridled Capitalism. It only believes in Realism and Practicalism. By adopting this philosophy it desires to establish an economic system based on free market economy in accordance with the spirit of democracy. MQM seeks drastic reforms in all sectors including agriculture, industry, commerce, education, health, defence, finance and judiciary. These are considered essential for the solidarity, security, progress and prosperity of the country as well as for the welfare of the common man. MQM wants to see total elimination of corruption, bribery, injustices, tyranny, exploitation, illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, drug trafficking and other such social evils. It aims to introduce a comprehensive program to make Pakistan prosperous and stable, and create a just society in which opportunity to progress and prosper is available to all, without discrimination.
While the MQM primarily espouses the cause of the 98 per cent poor and middle classes, it does also recognise the two- per cent elite class as useful citizens of the country. It has no intention to take away their legally acquired wealth. Its objective is to evolve on the principle of Realism and Practicalism a just system in which all classes of the country should feel themselves fully secured. Without taking any thing away from the men of status, the poor and middle class people should have the opportunity to come out of the quagmire of poverty through merit and hard work. Additionally, the system should be free from exploitation, hatred and injustices. Furthermore, adherence to any particular cast, creed, language, ethnicity, sex, sect and religion, should in no way prejudice any one’s fundamental or human rights.
DETAILS OF MANIFESTO
MQM has issued its 18-point Charter of Demand seeking the rights of all the citizens of Pakistan along with the rights of the Mohajirs. MQM hereby presents its manifesto to the people of Pakistan for the prosperity of Pakistan and the welfare of its people. MQM urges the people of Pakistan to extend their full support to the party to help it correct the wrong doings of the past 50 years and to build a new Pakistan based on solid ideological foundations and true democratic traditions.
1. NATIONAL INTEGRATION
MQM wants to see national integration flourish and is of the view that without establishing a just and equitable system, national integration and the concept of Pakistan as one nation can never be achieved. MQM is of the view that mere slogans and sermons cannot consolidate and concretise national integration. To achieve this object all unjust policies and laws have to be abolished. It is through these discriminatory laws that injustice and exploitation is being perpetuated on the basis of language, ethnicity, culture, territory, nationality and religion against certain segments of the society. Whenever any class of people is unjustly treated, it gives rise among them a sense of deprivation and alienation which in turn weakens the bond of national integration. MQM therefore desires that all such unjust laws and policies should be dispensed with allowing all citizens of the country to enjoy the benefits of justice. Only then a feeling of belonging and a sense of national integration would flourish.
MQM wholeheartedly accepts the cultural, linguistic, regional, racial and religious identities of all citizens of the state. To deny such distinctions and identifications is tantamount to denying reality. Realism and Practicalism further assert that by accepting all these identities, the injustices can be eliminated thereby bringing the various communities of the country closer to each other. National integration will also strengthen as a consequence. It is therefore imperative to recognise and accept the constitutional rights of Sindhi, Punjabi, Pakhtoon, Mohajir, Baloch, Saraiki, Brohi, Makrani and all other nationalities, fraternities, lingual, cultural and religious units to provide them justice so that the fervour of national integration could grow and kinship develop.
MQM desires that by mutual co-operation in the spirit of give and take and with consensual approach, steps be taken to formulate and execute such development programs by the federal and provincial governments in which every region of the country is able to participate and effectively share its benefits and that no class of the populace should feel left out and bypassed.
In today’s world, education is the basic and most important factor to achieve progress for a nation. Well-educated nations in the world enjoy dominance over other nations. Nations lacking in education cannot achieve advancement. It is deplorable that since the inception of Pakistan successive governments paid very little attention to education. Even today the country’s budget provides meager sums for education, and as a result more than 70 per cent of the population of our country has remained illiterate.
If we desire to see Pakistan a developed, prosperous and dignified country then we have to make full use of our resources and ensure education is made available to every citizen as without education no one can expect the country to be progressive and prosperous.
MQM also wants to make education easily available throughout the country by making full use of all the available resources on an emergency basis, whereby within five years the rate of literacy could be enhanced, to at least 70 per cent. This target is not impossible. With determination and good intentions desired results can be achieved. Korea and some other under-developed countries are a good example to follow. In this connection MQM wants to take the following steps:
In all towns and villages a network of schools and colleges needs to be set-up and for this purpose not only should government resources be utilised on a large scale but also non-governmental organisations and other private sector institutions should be encouraged in setting up the educational institutions throughout the country. With a view to achieving this objective, mutual co-operation among such organisations and institutions should be organised by forming a common platform under the government’s supervision and help. By granting more powers and providing enhanced resources to the elected local bodies their role in the education, up to primary and secondary level should be increased and the framework and scope of these institutions to be enlarged and used to full potential. As an additional step, the federal and provincial governments should provide grants to the elected local bodies. The education up to primary level should be made compulsory and free; and all the textbooks should be provided free of cost to primary students.
The prices of secondary and higher education textbooks need to be considerably reduced, so as to enable even the poor families to meet the expenditure on education with less burden. The educated people in general and youth in particular should be encouraged to form voluntary organisations to help and launch a crusade against illiteracy and campaign to ensure education for all. Allocation in the budget for education to be increased adequately to achieve these goals.
Private educational institutions need to be encouraged to ensure their educational standards and by making legislation so as to upgrade and not allow them to become only businesses and profit making organisations. Merit should be the predominant factor in selection as MQM considers that education is a social service and should not become a trade.
A net work of libraries should be established in all the cities and towns of the country. These libraries should be linked with each other through a well-connected system, including mobile libraries for the villages outside urban areas, to provide benefit to rural areas.
MQM wishes to establish new universities, colleges, medical colleges, engineering colleges, technical institutes and other higher educational institutions in accordance with the increasing need of the population in a systematic and planned manner, on a regular basis. The present distribution of grants, given by the University Grants Commission to the universities of the country should be made fair and equitable.
In every part of the country, especially in villages, towns and small cities, more and more vocational training centres should be established so that the younger generation and women can acquire useful skills. Special measures must be taken to develop scientific research and in this regard the private sector should be encouraged in an organised manner.
Elimination of dual education system
The educational system of our country suffers from dual standards. In our country, advance education seems to be the right of children belonging to the rich ruling elite and bureaucrats, while the education system and the facilities for the middle class and down trodden people are that of second and third grade. Education for the rural population has been made difficult where it is considered to be the right of the children of feudal and tribal lords only. MQM believes that no one should be deprived of a good standard of education and therefore, we have to abolish this dual system of education and standardise the education system throughout the country. MQM believes that whilst Pakistan belongs to all, then why is the educational standard for all Pakistanis not equal?
Unfortunately, the fees and expenditure of a good standard school is beyond the reach of the 98 per cent poor and middle class people. The standard of education of the schools where the children of 98 per cent poor and middle class receive their education is extremely backward in comparison with private and grammar schools and other schools.
MQM wants the education standards of government and municipal schools where the 98 per cent of poor and middle class people of the country send their children for education to be raised to the standard of Grammar Schools. This is not beyond the realm of possibilities because MQM as an experiment has made some municipal schools in Karachi on an equal footing with top class schools.
MQM understands that to raise the standard of education, the method of appointment of teachers and increase in their salaries is vital. MQM wants to bring the pay scale of the teachers to a level that not only the good and qualified teachers are easily available but they should also feel proud in joining the teaching profession and enjoy a comfortable standard of living. In order to achieve this objective the teachers should be graded separately from other government employees.
It is necessary to point out here that government affairs and its administration are being conducted in the English language. In our country, owing to the dual educational system, the medium of instruction is usually in two languages. In State schools from primary level onwards the medium of instructions is usually Urdu, commonly known as Urdu Medium Schools. Whereas in good quality, expensive and private schools the medium for instructions is always English, these schools are termed as English Medium Schools. Invariably, the government and administrative jobs go to the people who have knowledge of English and for top positions only those people are appointed who have fluency in English language. The majority of the population in the country gets its education in Urdu language and does not know the English language at all or certainly does not have the fluency in English language. For this reason a great majority of the population is deprived of applying for top jobs despite the fact that they are quite capable of carrying out the functions. They are deprived of these positions because of the dual standards of the education system. In order to involve the majority of the public in all modes of administration so they can participate in the running of the country, the dual standards of education has to be eliminated. The medium of education should be the same in English medium schools and Urdu medium schools with a view to getting rid of the superiority which the English medium schools have taken for granted over the Urdu medium schools. Having removed the difference between the Urdu and English medium schools, MQM wants to introduce an education system where all citizens participate equally without any sense of deprivation so they can utilise their abilities to the full and everyone would have the right to qualify and hold any suitable position.
Good health and good education is necessary for a strong and healthy society. In order to provide the poor with medical facilities it is essential that from small towns to small villages and small cities to the big cities in all areas and localities a network of small health units should be installed. These units should become the centre for health and in this way at State level every citizen’s health and care would be ensured. In other words a system taking the form of National Health Scheme would be established.
In every district at least one government hospital should be set-up and in rural areas health centres comprising of at least 20 beds should be established wherein maternity services would also be provided.
With a view to removing the shortage of essential medicines and a reduction in prices, private investment and local manufacturing in pharmaceutical industries should be encouraged.
To provide medical care for the poor people, non-governmental, social and welfare organisations and institutions from the private sector should be encouraged. MQM wants the present conditions of State controlled hospitals and health centres to improve. Furthermore, in order to improve the deficiencies in administrative matters, the involvement of bureaucracy should be minimised and the hospitals should be under the control of professionals.
4. FOREIGN POLICY
MQM believes in an independent and non-aligned foreign policy and wishes to promote close and friendly relations with neighbouring countries and the rest of the world.
MQM wants to strengthen the defence of the country by making it unassailable. It is the MQM’s view that immediate compulsory military training should be introduced so that every citizen may share in the defence of the country. Such policies should be formulated that will enable every individual of every region of the country to be recruited into the armed forces for the defence of the country. MQM wants to make Pakistan self-sufficient in the production of armaments for its own use.
The prevalent judicial system of our country is such that the poor oppressed masses face enormous difficulties in obtaining justice. Invariably, lawsuits drag on indefinitely and as a consequence the accused has to stay in prison for many years. Similarly, the person involved in litigation has to face great hardships. For this reason thousands of innocent people are still languishing in jails awaiting their trials to conclude. It is, therefore, essential that the people be provided inexpensive and expeditious justice. Hence the judicial system has to be organised on scientific and modern basis. The judicial process and methodology should be simplified. The number of judges and courts should be increased accordingly.
MQM has a firm belief in the independence of judiciary. Without independent judiciary, a democratic society cannot develop. MQM wants to make judiciary independent of the administration.
MQM wants to abolish all the special courts from the country. All the cases should be tried in the established courts of law. Special courts negate the concept of independent judiciary. Because the judges are appointed by the administration and their transfer and salaries are fixed by the government, their services are used for political aims and objectives. The independence of judiciary and the principles of justice demand that all special courts are abolished forthwith.
MQM believes in the independence of the press and is opposed to all such policies which impede the freedom of press and news media. The independence of the press and media is one of the indispensable elements for the development of a democratic society. MQM believes in positive and constructive journalism and wishes to see the Press free from all governmental and non-governmental shackles and restrictions. MQM also wants to see the standard of living of journalists to improve along with other people in Pakistan. MQM is totally against yellow journalism and wants the journalists of the country to form an independent commission which would effectively eliminate the curse of yellow journalism from the country.
MQM is against government control of the media and wants radio and television to be freed from government control. These institutions should be represented as the voice of the people and not the State or the Government. These institutions should play their role in reporting correctly, prepare the people ideologically, and encourage them to form their own opinions.
8. HUMAN RIGHTS
MQM has a firm belief in human rights and demands that the fundamental rights as incorporated in the Constitution of Pakistan must be fully respected. Pakistan is facing embarrassment throughout the world due to repeated violations of the human rights by the successive governments. MQM is of the view that all citizens of the country must be granted equal rights irrespective of their cast, colour, creed, race, language, religion, region, culture, faith, sect and sex or any political affiliation. In order to check the violations of human rights, MQM wants judiciary to be independent and free. MQM wants at government level an independent effective institution to be established that would investigate alleged violations and breaches of human rights in the country. The institution must have the authority to take action against any Government or the State functionary or employee wherever necessary and to institute proceedings through the court of law. From MQM’s point of view, race, language, colour and region should not be considered while appointing people for industry, trade and commerce, whether in government institutions or non-governmental organisations. The criteria should be merit and merit alone for obtaining employment. MQM wants to see the end of child labour and desires that realistic and practical steps are taken, and policies formulated, whereby child labour is wiped out from the country forever.
MQM wants to establish a system in the society whereby all citizens may lead their lives in accordance with their religion, faith and belief. MQM is against exploitation and injustices in the name of religion, faith and sect. It also aims at providing full protection to religious minorities.
10. MINORITY RIGHTS
MQM wants the rights of minorities in the country to be protected like all other citizens and they should be allowed to live honourably. The genuine grievances of minorities should be redressed.
11. FEUDAL SYSTEM
It is MQM’s view that without abolishing the feudal system, Pakistan cannot progress. The country would go from bad to worse economically due to the antiquated and tyrannical feudal system. That is why MQM wants to see the end of the feudal system in Pakistan.
Twice in the past, attempts were made to enforce agricultural reforms but because of the grip of the feudal oligarchy those reforms could not be carried out. It is, therefore, essential that the ceiling for landholding be established and effective land reforms be implemented.
With a view to dismantling the feudal system in Pakistan, MQM is in favour of limiting the ownership of agricultural land. This is necessary to establish an egalitarian system in the country and until such time that the feudal system is totally eliminated the following actions are necessary:
There has been an immense progress in the agricultural sector in the world on a scientific basis but in our country agriculture is the most outdated sector of its kind.
In our country 70 per cent of the total population is involved in agriculture but the poor peasants who cultivate the land are treated like slaves. The feudal lords are the sole beneficiaries of the agricultural produce. After their round the clock labour the poor peasants get just about enough to survive.
In the development of the feudal culture many other problems have been created in the country. Due to the contemptuous feudal mentality, hundreds and thousands of acres of land are not being cultivated because the feudal have more land then they need and they cannot, and do not want to cultivate their entire holdings. They are still not prepared to hand over their land to peasants for cultivation of food and other necessities. The situation causes a great loss to the nation. Patriotism demands that whosoever holds surplus land and is not in a position to put it under cultivation, they should either cultivate this land in the interest of the country or distribute such surplus land to the peasants free of cost or at an affordable price.
With this in mind, MQM wants the Government to take such steps that the landowners would cultivate all the land they possess. If they fail to do so then a “non-cultivation tax” should be levied on every single acre of land not cultivated and this tax should be collected for the benefit of the peasants.
MQM wants that the government to take steps and ensure that every single inch of cultivatable land should be cultivated with a view to increasing the agricultural productivity so that the nation becomes self-sufficient in food and other agricultural produce. This would also enable us to export our agricultural produce.
To achieve this increase in agro-products, all available resources should be put to use to mechanise agriculture on modern scientific methods. In this regard the foremost objective of all concerned is to provide education about agriculture to the peasants. To achieve this, the Government with the co-operation of non-governmental and social organisations must start a campaign for adult education in villages for the peasants and their families. In this regard there should be an appeal to educated young people to come forward voluntarily. Moreover, some basic and easy courses on scientific farming are to be made available to the peasants.
The development of industries in areas relating to agriculture should be enhanced. For instance the fertiliser factories, agricultural machine tool factories and similar industries should be established in the rural areas. For making the country self-sufficient in agricultural produce it is essential to raise the living standard of the peasants. MQM wants to end the exploitation of peasants and stamp out the use of forced labour which is tantamount to slavery in villages. To achieve this MQM wants peasants working on the land of feudal lords to be recognised by the law as agriculture labour or farm labour. New labour laws should be introduced in this regard and strictly enforced.
It is MQM’s policy to provide peasants with a share of the agriculture produce on similar grounds as the industrial labour in town gets a share in the profits from industries.
MQM is in favour of levying tax on agricultural income and wants to improve the system of collecting ‘Ushr’ tax in the country. An effective system of monitoring agricultural loans procured from Banks and other financial institutions should be introduced. This is because the feudal lords often use agricultural loans for their personal use rather than agriculture.
Water logging, salinity and irrigation system
MQM desires that immediate attention must be paid to updating the irrigation system and the cleansing of canals etc. to increase the agricultural produce. With the consensus of all provinces, and keeping in mind the agreed formula for the distribution of water, new canals should be dug to cultivate barren land. A system for the disposal of the surplus water from the canals is to be strengthened so that the water level should not rise.
A comprehensive plan needs to be introduced for solving the salinity and water logging problems and in this connection the maximum number of tube wells should be installed.
13. TRADE AND INDUSTRY
Industrial development and progress is an essential ingredient for the prosperity of the country. MQM is against the nationalisation of industries and favours privatisation for healthy competition. MQM is not anti-capitalist or anti-industrialist but it does not want the accumulation of wealth in a few hands only and thereby opposes monopoly and monopolistic trends in society.
MQM is of the view that such policies should be formulated whereby small industries are established and small investors are encouraged to participate without undue restrictions.
MQM wants to see cottage industries flourish in the country and wants the Government to encourage the setting-up of such industries in every city, town and village. Such policies should be adopted that a network of cottage industries is established in every corner of the country. This would result in a reduction in unemployment and enhancement of national productivity and income.
MQM wants to see Pakistan enter into the industrial era and transform into a modern industrial society. For this purpose policies should be formulated which would readily establish industries throughout the country without unreasonable legal impediments and bureaucratic interference.
MQM wants to see that by introducing a “one-window operation”; the people should have access to all the safeguards, advantages and protection for the development of industry. The loans for the setting-up of industries should be made easier and simpler to obtain and land should be made available at a reasonable rate. The taxation system should be made simple and easy to understand.
A uniform industrial policy should be drafted for the entire country with a view to establishing industries in the rural areas. Special incentives should be provided such as land at minimum rates and the supply of water and electricity to the industries in those rural areas. Also in rural areas the industrialists and their employees must be provided with safety and the protection of the law.
MQM desires to formulate such policies at government level whereby safeguards should be provided for industries countrywide. By keeping in mind the country’s prevailing conditions, international markets and the country’s resources, policies based on Realism and Practicalism should be formulated to increase exports and decrease reliance on imports, especially of readymade goods.
In order to develop domestic trade and industry, MQM wants to see effective steps taken to check smuggling, and people who are involved in these heinous activities should be severely punished.
14. LABOUR POLICY
MQM is against all kinds of exploitation of the labour force and wants to provide them with their rights so that the labour force can live a peaceful and prosperous life and play their role to increase the national productivity.
For the progress of the country and welfare of the labour force it is essential that the industrial sector be cleansed completely of the prevailing ‘contractual system’.
MQM wants to see an end to every form of forced and bonded labour in the country. Similarly, the curse of child labour should come to an end forthwith.
To improve the economic condition of the labour force and to inculcate a sense of belonging, the labour force needs to participate in the profits by owning shares in the industrial units. This policy would undoubtedly increase productivity of the units.
MQM wants the salaries and wages of labourers to increase in accordance with the cost of living and price rises in the country. Policies should be formulated for the welfare of the labourers and the education of their children, and for the care of their families in case of sickness and subsequent rehabilitation.
MQM wants to see an increase in productivity that can be achieved by allowing labourers to join trade unions for their rights, so they can work hard and actively play their role in the development of the country.
MQM feels that there is a need for reforms in the labour laws of the country so that they can be made compatible with the laws of the ILO (International Labour Organisation).
15. CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
MQM is in favour of a parliamentary form of Government and wishes to see elected institutions becoming strong, stable and authoritative. The legislation should be made through the Parliament.
Since anomalies in the Constitution impede the continuity and stability of the democratic framework and tend to harm and restrict the role of elected parliament, MQM desires that inconsistencies and contradictions in the Constitution of Pakistan should be corrected through consensus as a result of discussions with all the political parties in the country.
MQM wants to see a balance in the powers vested in the president and the prime minister of the country and it considers that the spirit of democracy requires that absolute power should not be in an individual’s hand, be it the president or the prime minister.
MQM wants to provide constitutional protection for the elected local bodies throughout the country. MQM wishes to have such amendments in the constitution as may ensure reservation of seats for women in the Senate, National and Provincial Assemblies and Local Bodies on a permanent basis. MQM is of the view that every adult citizen of the country has a democratic right to franchise. MQM strongly feels that the people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) must also have the same right as other parts of the country where the elections are conducted on the basis of adult franchise. At present the minimum voting age in our country is 21 years. MQM’s point of view is that if a person of 18 years is considered adult and issued an identity card, then he or she should also have a right to vote. The constitution therefore needs to be amended to reduce the voting age to 18.
16. PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY
MQM is in favour of maximum provincial autonomy and, therefore, wishes that power be transferred from the centre to the provinces and from the province to the elected local bodies so that the people of every part of the country feel involved in government affairs.
On the question of provincial autonomy, MQM wants consultations and discussions to be held with the leaders of all the provinces to seek an appropriate and reasonable solution acceptable to all regions of the country without weakening the Federation.
17. LOCAL BODIES
With a view to solving problems at local level, thereby generating a feeling of participation by the people of all regions in the country, MQM favours making local elected bodies strong and more effective by promoting the concept of “Local Self Government”.
The elected local bodies are basic institutions for the welfare of the people. Such bodies are close to the people who have easy access to them; they can be extremely helpful and effective in solving local problems. But these institutions have very limited authority for solving problems of the common man. Local bodies do not have the powers and are dependent on the provincial government in this matter. In most cases they are obliged to obtain the consent of the provincial governments, so much so that even their budget has to be approved by the provincial government. The provincial governments also have the powers to dissolve the local bodies at any time. The result is that the local bodies are completely at their mercy and, therefore, cannot serve the people appropriately.
MQM’s view is that the system of government should be so organised that the citizens of all regions can participate in the national affairs. It is, therefore, essential that power and authority is transferred from federal level to provincial level and from provincial level to the elected local bodies.
MQM wants to see the elected local governments strong, effective and respected. It is therefore, necessary that the elected local bodies are allowed to exercise greater authority and financial independence in line with other developed countries of the world.
MQM wants the local self-government system to be given constitutional protection. All major cities including Karachi and Lahore need to be given the status of Autonomous Metropolitan Corporation as it is elsewhere in the world. For the establishment of effective local bodies, it is essential to hold elections in accordance with the stipulated terms of the Constitution.
For the progress of a country it is essential to have comprehensive planning on realistic lines. It is regrettable that there has been no focus on future planning in our country since 1947. The government administration has been run on an ad-hoc basis and it is still the case today. For the development of the country it is vital to get rid of this system and definite plans should be formulated for future development in all walks of life. In this connection it will be necessary to re-organise the Planning Commission and make it more independent and effective.
19. CENSUS AND ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES
To conduct the affairs of the country in an effective and efficient manner it is essential that a correct census be carried out so that definite plans could be drawn up on the basis of facts and figures. MQM wants that census to be conducted in the country on a modern scientific basis, regularly. In this regard it is also essential that past mistakes and injustices are not repeated and shortcomings in the existing procedure are corrected. A Census has not been conducted in the country for a long time. As a result the country has been faced with new problems all the time. Although the country’s population has increased significantly, it is regrettable that the national and provincial constituencies have neither been increased nor re-demarcated in accordance with the rise in population. The number of people in every constituency has increased and the elected representatives cannot effectively deal with all the problems faced by the people. It is, therefore, essential that the number of constituencies are increased and adjustments made in the national and provincial assembly seats in accordance with the revised population ratio in different constituencies.
20. POPULATION PLANNING
The rapid growth in the population is extremely harmful for the progress and prosperity of the country. Therefore, MQM wants immediate effective measures to be taken to control the increase in population. Furthermore, new problems are being created due to migration of rural population to the cities. In order to deal with this effectively, MQM wants to take realistic measures to resolve these problems.
21. STRANDED PAKISTANIS
The stranded Pakistanis have been living a poverty–stricken life since 1971 in Bangladeshi camps. Their only crime is that they believed in patriotism and they still want to return to their own country, Pakistan. It is regrettable that successive governments did not pay attention to this humanitarian and national problem. Some political leaders exploited the situation for their political gains and had no real interest in solving the problem of repatriation. In fact, those who oppose the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis actually oppose the Two Nation Theory which was the basis for the division of India and creation of Pakistan. MQM’s point of view is that the stranded people in Bangladesh are patriotic Pakistanis and should be brought back home, forthwith.
MQM gives full support to the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir and wishes the Kashmir issue to be resolved in accordance with the UN Resolutions and according to the will of the people of Kashmir. MQM condemns the human rights violations in Kashmir and is of the opinion that Pakistan must use her influence at every level to obtain peaceful settlement of this Issue.
MQM is in favour of equal rights for women. Without active participation of the women in national affairs, the progress of the country is not possible. It is, therefore, essential that women are encouraged to participate in all walks of life.
MQM wants seats for women to be reserved on permanent basis in the Senate, National and Provincial Assemblies and also in the Local Bodies. A provision in this respect should be made in the Constitution.
MQM wants the repeal of all laws and wants to discontinue the policies, which tend to discriminate against women. Moreover, the curse of dowry should be eliminated with effective legislation.
Vocational training centres should be set up throughout the country where women can be taught and trained in different arts and skills. MQM wants to create such a social structure and system in the country whereby women could play their full role in national development.
In our country the problem of unemployment, especially of the educated class has become very serious. Hundreds of thousands of educated youths are currently unemployed. MQM, therefore, wants steps to be taken to solve such an urgent problem with a long-term definite plan.
MQM wants that more and more industries should be established in the country, especially small and cottage industries to resolve the problem of unemployment.
Vocational training centres should be set-up for the youngsters to learn different skills to enable them to stand on their own feet.
To set-up small businesses, young people should be given soft term loans. Indiscriminate down sizing of public sector organisations resulting in unemployment should be stopped.
25. MONETARY DISCIPLINE
For establishing an effective monetary system in the country, improvement in banking systems, stability of the currency and effective monitoring of government malpractice, it is essential that the office of the Governor of the State Bank is made free from government control. Therefore, MQM wants the powers of the Governor of the State Bank enhanced and those powers to be given constitutional protection.
26. REDUCTION IN EXPENDITURE
In Pakistan the 2 per cent ruling class has been ruling over the 98 per cent poor and oppressed people since the inception of the country. They have not only ruled, but have also used the State resources and national exchequer for personal gains, because a major portion of the State exchequer has been utilised on wasteful luxuries and personal benefits. The national exchequer is almost entirely depleted. In order to replenish the exchequer working people are further burdened with heavy taxes and loans are obtained from foreign countries at exorbitant rates.
For not providing basic necessities to the people, the government put forward the justification that it lacks resources, whereas, billions of rupees are spent on the luxurious life style of top bureaucrats, ministers and members of the ruling party, the government advisors and their families. Millions of rupees are spent on medical treatment overseas for these people. The same privileged class also obtains huge loans from nationalised banks.
Millions of rupees are spent to win over the favours of opposition party members in the Assembly. The national exchequer is also being plundered to pay for expensive functions, tea parties, luncheons and dinners. Billions of rupees are spent on luxury cars, villas, bungalows and foreign tours for those who are in position of power. Expensive plots of land are distributed among the ‘favourites’ at give-away prices. It is because of such extravagant unnecessary expenditure that our country today is facing severe economic crisis. MQM wants to see an end to this extravagant expenditure on luxury items. The Government sends, at its own expense, the very rich feudal lords and bureaucrats and their families for trips abroad and for medical treatment. This practice must be discontinued. Luxurious costly functions and extravagant dinners should be stopped. On foreign tours, instead of a huge entourage the representatives concerned should travel with a minimum of staff to reduce unnecessary costs. The extravagance on fleets of vehicles and the houses of ministers, advisors and their secretaries must be stopped. The practice of distributing plots of land to favourites of ministers and government officials should also be stopped. The loans given to the privileged class must be recovered from them. Tax evasion must be eliminated and every extravagance on luxury items should be stopped.
27. TAXATION SYSTEM
An outdated and defective system for the collection of taxes exists in our country. For that reason the country is deprived of billions of rupees in taxation every year. Due to the inadequate policies, billions of rupees find their way into the pockets of government officers and bureaucrats rather than the government treasury. What is immediately needed is to establish an effective and simple system which will tend to minimise the tax burden upon the people on one hand but controlling tax evasion on the other, thereby, creating an increase in tax recovery.
Furthermore, for the collection of taxes in a better way, and to eliminate corruption immediate steps should be taken to formulate a simple and effective system where room for corruption is minimised. Instead of imposing exorbitant new taxes without due consideration there should be a levy of taxes that are endurable to the tax payers, so the tax payer would not be tempted into corrupt practices and tax evasion.
It is absolutely essential to extend the tax recovery framework to all classes of society with the aim of increasing State income and reducing the burden upon poor people. The system must be extended to all classes of people so they can play their role in contributing to the State exchequer. Unnecessary burden upon a particular class or a few classes must not be imposed. In this regard the enforcement of tax on agricultural income would be a step in the right direction.
The MQM point of view in this regard is that instead of increasing the burden upon existing taxpayers to meet the increased monetary requirements of the country, a positive policy should be introduced to promote and increase production in the country. The increase in productivity would subsequently lead to an increase in imposition and recovery of taxation revenue. Instead of concentrating on the levy of further taxes, efforts should be concentrated on making tax recovery efficient, enabling the country to increase its Revenue income.
In order to eliminate corruption, MQM is in favour of an independent and autonomous Accountability Commission. Along with this, MQM wants to strengthen the office of the Auditor General by making it independent and effective. MQM also wants that immediate steps to be taken according to the findings of the report of the Auditor General.
29. FOREIGN LOANS
It is a matter of grave concern for every patriotic Pakistani to realise that our country is sinking, day by day under the heavy burden of foreign loans. We continue to procure loan after loan but have nothing to show for it. The loans are not utilised for the projects they have been obtained for. Loans are misappropriated through ineffective planning, malpractice and corruption. Little developmental work is seen because such a small amount is spent on the projects for which these loans are procured. Due to defective planning and corruption, we have not been able to achieve the economic advantages these loans could provide us. Little development is seen because bureaucrats and corrupt politicians embezzle the funds earmarked for the repayment of previous loans and the rest is misappropriated by bureaucrats and corrupt politicians. Due to the blatant corruption and embezzlement not only is the burden of foreign loans upon the country growing constantly but no developmental work is being carried out either. MQM wants to see a drastic reduction in dependence on foreign loans and to inculcate zealous participation by the people in promoting national development programs. Furthermore, corruption, irregularities and defective planning should be wiped out from the system. Such policies to be formulated that would prove to be helpful in making the country self-sufficient, to an extent that reliance on foreign loans can come to an end.
30. INCREASE IN SALARIES
Whenever there is a price hike or inflation in the country, the worst affected are the lower paid workers in the society. Already, due to lower salaries and hyperinflation this class is disproportionately burdened. MQM’s stance is that the salaries of the lower paid workers must increase in proportion to the inflation rate to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living.
MQM is in favour of privatisation in the national economy. MQM supports the principle and practice of privatisation. It demands that all decisions for privatisation must be taken in the national interest. No decision must be taken which may be against the interests of the national economy. MQM wants to be sure that on privatisation the interest of the employees of the organisations that are privatised are fully safeguarded and job security is provided.
MQM wants the income that is produced through privatisation to be earmarked for the payment of foreign loans and not utilised for the revenue expenditure of the Government.
MQM is in favour of the rule of merit in every walk of life and wants this to be compulsorily adopted at all levels for the sake of the country’s progress. MQM wants to see all laws and policies that are inconsistent with the rule of merit, including the Quota System, to be repealed forthwith. This unjust Quota System has not been contributing anything for the welfare of the poor people, on the contrary the 2 per cent privileged class has been taking advantage of it at the expense of the people living in backward areas. MQM wants to see that in all industrial, commercial, fiscal, municipal government and non-governmental organisations, employment should be given on the basis of merit alone.
It is MQM’s stand that in order to bring progress to the people of backward and underdeveloped areas; it is essential to remove the crutch of the Quota System. Instead, schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions, industrial units and health centres with up to date facilities should be established in these areas, so that these regions are brought at par with the rest of the country. The people could then compete on the basis of merit. In this regard, special funds should be earmarked from the national exchequer, for the progress of the backward areas.
33. DRINKING WATER
It is extremely regrettable that in this modern age vast numbers of people in our country are deprived of clean drinking water. In order to solve this problem, MQM wants to establish a special fund from the national exchequer and a comprehensive plan to be formulated whereby the citizens of all regions, town and cities in the country would have access to clean drinking water. Furthermore, in coastal areas and the cities on the seashore desalination plants should be installed.
In the world today, procurement of energy has become extremely important. Those countries in the world are regarded as strong and stable who are self-sufficient in energy requirements. Regrettably, our country is far behind in this field and is seriously deficient in energy. With every passing day this crisis is becoming more acute.
In order to solve the problem of energy, MQM wants to build more dams, atomic power houses and thermal power stations to increase the electricity supply by utilising the country’ resources. It also wants to see exploration work for oil and gas be accelerated, the efficiency of existing dams and their capacity be enhanced, and the transmission system for electricity and gas improved and efficiently integrated. MQM wants the private sector to be involved in the development of the energy industry, at the same time ensuring that electricity and gas would still be available at an affordable cost to the lower paid people.
35. COMMUNICATION AND TRANSPORT
In order to make communication and transport easier and for industrial and social progress it is essential that the transport system is improved and made safer. To achieve this, the transport system in the cities must change over to modern modes. The condition of roads must improve and new bridges and flyovers should be built. The road building methods should be improved and new roads and highways be constructed.
The railway system in the country is in a desperate condition. It is necessary that revolutionary changes are brought about to the entire railway system. In short, following the pattern of the developed countries of the world, a massive transport program should be adopted, on the lines of the Mass Transit Program. The shipping industry in the country should also be promoted so that they may be able to build more ships.
36. HOUSING POLICIES
In our country the housing problem has taken a very serious turn. MQM wants a comprehensive and effective policy to be formulated enabling every citizen of the country to have a plot or a house at an affordable price so that everyone may have some where to live. To achieve this objective, it is essential that the private sector be given incentives to build cheaper and affordable houses.
37. POLICE AND INTERROGATION CENTRES
In our country, the Police Administration has totally collapsed. For this reason crime is on the increase and the law and order situation is deteriorating day by day. There is only one way to improve the situation, that is, the entire Police system should be restructured on scientific basis. MQM wants to restructure the Police system in such a way that educated people are attracted to join the Police force.
MQM is in favour of local policing in all regions because people who join the Police Department locally and perform their duties in their locality, would be more able to control crimes in the area. MQM says that Policemen should be recruited from the District they live in. Matriculation should be made as a minimum qualification for entry into the Police force.
There should be sufficient increase in the remuneration of ordinary Policemen, and steps should be taken for their economic betterment so that they may lead their lives honourably and not be tempted into corruption and bribery.
In the Police service an effective method of accountability must be set-up so that necessary actions may be taken against Police officials violating the laid down laws. Let the Administration of Accountability (Ehtesab) not only be applicable to lower ranking officers but should also be extended to higher ranking Police officers.
The Police department must be structured on modern scientific lines. Today, the civilised world regards the act of violence towards accused persons as barbaric and many countries of the world prefer scientific and psychological methods of interrogation. It is a matter of great regret that in our country the interrogation centres have torture cells where the detainees are subjected to such brutal tortures that during the course of interrogation they die. Despite such illegal and inhuman practices, enquiries are not conducted into such cases, let alone punishment meted out to guilty officials. With a view to correcting this deplorable situation it is essential to eliminate all government sponsored torture cells in Police stations, forthwith. For the purpose of interrogation modern scientific and psychological methods should be employed. Moreover, such laws should be passed which would award severe punishment to the officials who are guilty of torture during interrogation. In this regard the powers and discretion of courts of law should be extended so that the aggrieved parties may get speedy and effective justice.
38. PRISON ADMINISTRATION
The prisons are established with a view to punish the convicts as well as to reform them. In our country, the administration of prison is such that convicts do not come out reformed but as hardened criminals. It is, therefore, essential that the administration of prisons be reformed extensively so convicts come out of prisons reformed and not as hardened criminals. It is, therefore, necessary that in prisons there should be facilities for educating the convicts.
The under-trial prisoners should not be subjected to rigorous labour in confinement.
The convicts should have adequate facilities for medical treatment.
The prisoners should be provided with an adequate diet in accordance with the requirement for good health.
The inmates should have facilities for exercise and study.
Every prisoner should be taught a skill so that when he comes out of the prison he could make an honest living.
In prisons, narcotics are freely available and used. In some cases more narcotics are available in prisons than outside. A system of administration should be evolved that narcotics cannot reach the inmates.
Prisoners do not bring with them items of daily use nor do the prison authorities provide them. The prisoners, therefore, adopt unlawful methods to acquire those items. It is, therefore, necessary that the prison authorities provide the items of daily use to the prisoners.
The hardened criminals and accidental or occasional criminals should be kept separately in prisons.
There should be an improved procedure for the meeting of family members and relatives of the prisoners.
Due to the shortage of vehicles in the prison administration prisoners are not brought to the courts for hearing and therefore the cases are prolonged unnecessarily. It is, therefore, essential that the vehicles and personnel should be made available in sufficient number for the prisoners to be brought to the courts for hearing.
The practice of inhuman brutal torture upon prisoners should be stopped forthwith.
The convicted prisoners are not compensated for their hard labour. It is right and proper that upon completion of their sentence they are paid adequately for their work, so on leaving the prison they could start leading a decent life.
In jails there is no one to care for female prisoners and the Authorities treat them extremely inhumanely. It is, therefore, essential that women prisoners be given due justice and atrocities upon them to be stopped forthwith.
In order to end brutalities and atrocities in prisons, a team comprising of High Court Judges should be appointed who would carry out surprise visits to the prisons. Respective Chief Justices should make the appointment of these judges so that the malpractice can be stopped.
39. ELECTION COMMISSION
MQM considers that to hold free and fair elections it is essential that the Election Commission be autonomous, independent and all-powerful. In order to achieve this MQM wants that the Election Commission to be provided with constitutional protection.
40. FLOOR CROSSING
In the politics of our country the shameful act of floor crossing is endemic. The sapling of democracy is being severely harmed and democracy has become a joke. Through floor crossing and horse-trading millions of voters are being mocked. To prevent floor-crossing it is an urgent requirement that there should be a legislation that if any member of the assembly joins any party other then the party on whose ticket he was elected, his seat is declared vacant.
41. DRUGS AND NARCOTICS
It is unfortunate that the curse of drugs and narcotics has spread throughout the country. As a result, instead of providing the younger generation with health, diet and education, they are being poisoned by narcotics. Millions of people have become addicted to drugs. In this heinous trade of drugs, some highly placed and influential people are also involved.
In order to save the country from destruction, it is imperative that the curse of drugs and narcotics should be rooted out. It is, therefore, essential that irrespective of status and influence, whoever is involved in narcotics trade should be subjected to the severest punishment. MQM wants not only to eliminate this curse but also wishes to establish centres where drug patients could be rehabilitated free of charge.
42. PROMOTION OF SPORT
MQM wants to promote healthy tendencies by paying special attention to the promotion of sports in society and to achieve this object immediate and positive steps must be taken.
MQM further wants the selection of coaches and officials in the institutions for national sports and the players for national teams to be selected only on merit.
By promoting tourism we can greatly increase the State’s foreign exchange earnings. MQM wants the coastal areas, northern regions and other likely tourist attractions to be developed so that tourism may flourish.
Furthermore, all the necessary measures be taken for the protection of Moenjodaro, Harrapa, Taxila and other archaeological sites of the country.
44. OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani citizens from various parts of the country have been living abroad for employment or businesses. These Pakistanis are not only enhancing the good name of the country with their skills but are also sending hard-earned foreign exchange to Pakistan. They have been playing a vital role in the economic stability of their country. Regrettably, to this day no Government in the country has paid any attention to solve their problems. These Pakistanis face tremendous difficulties in obtaining passports, visas and acquiring travel documents from the Pakistani Embassies and High Commissions abroad. In particular, the behaviour of the Pakistani staff posted in the Embassies and High Commissions is most unfriendly and discourteous. It is also a general complaint that these Embassies and High Commissions do not offer any help to any overseas Pakistanis in hardship. On the other hand, even in Pakistan no Government has ever produced a concrete plan to take advantage of the services and expertise of Pakistanis working abroad. The Government has not taken any concrete measures for housing and residential projects to attract overseas Pakistanis to make investments. As a result amongst these Pakistanis there has been a great deal of unrest.
MQM wants there to be a definite plan and program to solve the genuine problems of overseas Pakistanis and to get maximum benefits from their services and abilities. The overseas Pakistanis can play a positive role in the progress and prosperity of the country. In this regard it is essential that steps are taken to remove all the shortcomings existing in the Pakistani Embassies and High Commissions abroad.
It should be noted that to solve the problems of overseas Pakistanis, there exists a Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis but only the Government officials, top bureaucrats and other people who have permanent links with the establishment seem to benefit from this ministry. MQM wants steps to be taken to ensure that this Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis is not abused, fulfils its proper role and solves the problems of Pakistanis living abroad.