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A Study of 2018 Manifestos of Pakistan’s Political Parties1

n Pakistan’s journey to democracy, General

I Elections of July 25, 2018 hold immense

significance. Election, in fact, is not an exercise to
vote for certain individuals, rather it is endorsement of
national agenda presented by a political party.
25% of the total capacity.3 Additionally, the T&D
losses in Pakistan are one of the highest in South Asian
countries. Given the gravity of challenges faced by
energy sector, it is a major part of the broader political
commitment of all major national political parties.
Manifestos might not hold much significant in
Pakistan’s current political culture, in the sense that Pakistan is a heavily energy dependent country.
they do not form the basis for voter decision, yet they Approximately 85% of Pakistan’s oil requirements,4
are significant because they present a well thought out 35% of Natural Gas requirements and 42% of LPG
and documented party position on issues of national requirements come from imported fuels.5 Energy
significance. import bills are thus a huge drain on the country’s
foreign exchange reserves. Over-reliance on imported
This review attempts at looking into the positions and fuels for fulfilling domestic energy needs undermines
approaches of significant political parties on issues energy as well as national security. Additionally, the
related to energy, water and environment. The average cost of electricity generation in Pakistan is
priorities and strategies of six major national parties very high owing to the expensive and inappropriate
i.e. PPP, PTI and PML-N, ANP, MMA and MQM energy mix. Against the backdrop, diversification of
have been assessed and analyzed on these important energy resources is of paramount significance. In this
dimensions of national life. regard, all parties have acknowledged the need for
shifting toward indigenous resources. PPP and PML-
ENERGY N have set the target of 5% and above 10%
Energy is one of the most ailing sectors of Pakistan’s respectively, for increasing share of renewables in the
economy marked by import dependency, substantial energy matrix. PML-N and MQM have also
shortfalls, unstable supply and huge Transmission and articulated their commitment on prioritization and
Distribution (T&D) losses. According to estimates, 51 extension of natural gas. Unanimity exist among all
million people in Pakistan do not have access to grid.2 parties on increasing share of hydro power Table.1
Even those connected to grid have unstable access to shows highlights on diversification of energy
electricity owing to the energy shortfalls, standing at resources.

Except JUI-F and Pk MAP who alleged that people of FATA weren’t as consulted as they should be. Both parties
emphasized that they weren’t opposed to the reforms, but the process under which merger was taking place.
Energy Access Outlook, WEO 2017 Special Report.
Hasnain, K. (2017). Electricity shortfall soars to 5000 MW. Dawn.
Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18.
Petroleum Industry Report 2016-17

Table.1. Diversification of Energy Resources
Extending Coal Shifting toward indigenous coal (PPP, Page 31, PTI, Page 31, ANP Page 16; PML-N,
Base Page 33)
Increasing share of Renewable Energy to 5% by 2023 (PPP, Page 31)
Increasing renewable share to > than 10% (PML-N, Page 31)
Alternate Promote off-grid solar and cluster-based mini grid for remote areas (PML-N, Page 31)
Energy Create a clean energy fund (PML-N, Page 31)
Harness indigenous green energy resources (PPP, Page 31, PTI, Page 31, ANP Page 16)
Production of energy though wind, solar and Geo Thermal sources (MMA-page 6;
MQM, Page 17)
Expand local gas and LNG supply to more than 10 bcfd (PML-N, Page 33)
Expand LNG portfolio and explore shale potential (PML-N, Page 33)
Revive Oil and Gas exploration (PTI, Page 31; MQM, Page 16)
Oil and Gas Re-prioritize use of Natural Gas (MQM, Page 16)
Drastically improve management of Oil and Gas sector (MQM, Page 16)
Undertake cheap projects of Gas and electricity from Iran, Qatar and Central Asian
Countries (MQM, Page 16)
Expedite construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam (PPP, Page 29; PML-N Page 35; PTI, Page
Hydro Power 40)
Construction of new dams with national consensus (MMA, Page 05; MQM, Page 19)

Transmission and distribution losses in Pakistan’s promised reducing T&D losses as well as doubling the
power distribution is another major challenge. transmission capacity through south-north and
Circular debt and load-shedding are largely an Gwadar-Nawabshah pipelines. PTI has also
outcome of these losses. On T&D losses, PPP has acknowledged the gravity of the problem and has
more voraciously advocated the need for revamping proposed deployment of efficient technologies in
the existing infrastructure. The party has proposed dispatch for minimizing line losses. ANP has
restructuring of DISCO’s and modernizing & committed investment for upgradation of transmission
repairing of the ageing T&D infrastructure. It has also infrastructure. Table.2 shows the highlights of
committed to facilitate provinces for have their own commitments on T&D losses.
separate grids. On the same matter, PML-N has

Table 2. T&D Losses

Invest in the improvement and upgradation of power infrastructure especially
transmission lines (ANP, Page 16)
Capacity Building Double transmission capacity through a south north and Gwadar-Nawabshah pipelines
(PML-N, Page 33)
Restructuring electricity distribution companies (PPP, Page 32)
Curtailing Losses Curtailing line losses (MMA, Page 05)
Repairing and modernizing existing transmission network (PPP, Page 32)
Allowing more efficient technologies to get precedence in dispatch. (PTI, Page 31)
Facilitating provinces to have their own grid systems for T&D (PPP, Page 32)
Devolution Devolving both generation and supply of electricity to provinces (ANP, Page 16)

All parties have committed to address key challenges toward hydro power, PML-N seems more focused on
facing the energy sector such as diversification of expansion of local gas and LNG portfolio.
energy mix, elimination of Circular debt and
minimization of T&D losses However, slightly On the theme of T&D losses, where PML-N has
different strategies have been carved out for resolving committed toward capacity building, PPP and PTI
these issues. have shown more interest in revamping and
modernizing existing infrastructure and ANP seems
To varying degrees, all parties have signaled their more inclined towards strengthening provincial role in
support on diversification of energy resources. While capacity building as well as management of energy
consensus exist among all parties on extension of coal sector.
base, harnessing of Renewable energy and shift

WATER In the wake of the water scarcity, building reservoirs

across the country has become imperative. All parties
Pakistan has been ranked among top ten countries with have signaled their support for construction of dams.
lowest access to clean water.6 Only 25% of the PPP, PML-N and PTI have particularly committed to
population presently have access to quality drinking construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam. PML-N has also
water.7 Additionally, the country is facing serious committed to building of Mohmand Hydro Project.
water scarcity challenges. The per capita surface water Whereas MQM, has also indicated renovation and
availability has declined to 1000 cubic meters, desilting of Tarbela and Mangla Dam. Table 3 shows
compared to 5,260 cubic meters in 1951.8 With the the roadmaps on water resource management,
projections of further decline, Pakistan is expected to presented by contesting parties.
be one of the most water stressed country by 2040.9
Besides, climatic changes have further compounded
these challenges.

Table.3 Water Storage

Increase storage by building reservoirs (PPP, Page 29; PTI, Page 40; PML-N, Page
35; MMA, Page 5; ANP, Page 16, MQM, Page 16)
Building and Expedite construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam (PPP, Page 29; PML-N Page 35; PTI,
Renovating Dams Page 40)
Construct Mohmand Hydro Power Project (PML-N Page 35)
Renovate and desilt Tarbela and Mangla Dam (MQM, Page 16)

The situation of drinking water is also deplorable in as a top priority by PTI. The party has specifically
the country. Forty percent (40%) of the overall deaths prioritized water situation in Karachi. Moreover, as
and 50% of the diseases are attributed to dirty water per their commitments, in the short term, clean
intake.10 Inadequate focus on water quality is drinking water campaigns will be immediately
primarily responsible for this anthropogenic initiated, where households will be provided with
contamination of water. Management strategies and purifying solutions. Further, the manifesto emphasizes
focused oversight on protecting water resources from that in the long term, comprehensive reforms will be
contamination is thus of paramount significance. undertaken for upgradation of infrastructure and
Given the alarming situation of water quality in the elimination of pilferage from pipelines at “Karachi
country, PML-N has stated establishment of water Water and Sanitation Board”. Later, similar initiatives
standards for effective monitoring of water quality. will be undertaken across the country. The party has
The party has also claimed setting up of desalination also resolved to strengthen role of local bodies in
plants in Karachi. PPP, MMA and MQM have ensuring clean drinking water to all. Table.4 shows
committed to addressing the issue of water logging party approaches on water quality management.
and salinity. Resolving water crisis has been enlisted

“The Water Gap — The State of the World’s Water 2018”
“Drinking water crisis in Pakistan and issue of bottled water, Actioned Pakistan, 2005.
National Water Policy, 2018.
Water Resource Institute, 2015.
Drinking Water Quality Status and Contamination in Pakistan, BioMed Research International, Volume 2017.

Table. 4 Water Quality Management

Devise effective water quality monitoring systems (PPP, Page 29)

Establish standards for drinking water quality (PML-N, Page 35)
Adopt best technologies for treatment of water and effective water quality monitoring
(PPP, Page 29)
Increase national spending on water and sanitation (PTI, Page 48)
Improving Water Set up Reverse Osmosis plants for ensuring clean water supply to coastal areas of
Quality Karachi (PML-N, Page 35)
Addressing water logging and salinity (PPP, Page 29, MMA, Page 16; MQM, Page 19)
Support local bodies to provide filtration plants through public-private partnership
model (PTI, Page 48)
Upgrade infrastructure pipelines in Karachi (PTI, Page 48)
Launch campaigns to generate and manage demand for safe water (PTI, Page 48)

In the absence of appropriate regulations on water committed to launching awareness programs on

conservation, water imbalances in terms of demand- promoting water conservation. PPP and PML-N, both
supply gap have further worsened. A 2017 report by have aimed at promotion of rain water harvesting
Indus River System Authority revealed gross technology as well as lining of water canals. PML-N
mismanagement of water as it observed that “Pakistan has also proclaimed developing of high yielding water
dumps water worth approximately $21 billion into the crop varieties, which consume less water. ANP has
sea each year due to lack of water conservation also enlisted water conservation as its top priority
system”. Water conservation thus sits at the heart of (p,15) Table.5 entails details on party approaches
water insecurity challenges. PPP and PTI, both have pertaining to water conservation.

Table.5 Water Conservation

Line water canals, (PPP, Page 28; PML-N Page 35)
Promote rain water harvesting technology, (PPP, Page 28; PML-N, Page 35)
Develop High Yielding crop varieties that consume less water (PML-N, Page 35)
Smart interventions for cutting water losses in Agricultural sector (PTI, Page 40)
Incentivize adoption of water efficient farming technologies (MMA, Page 16)
Tariffs Revise water tariffs for reducing wastage (PML-N, Page 35; MQM, Page 19)
Awareness Awareness campaigns on water conservation (PPP, Page 28; PTI, Page 40)

Additionally, a National Water Policy was formulated managing water resources. Unanimity exists among
by the outgoing government. In this regard, both all parties on building of dams for enhancing storage
PML-N and PTI have committed to foster support for capacity. Strong convergence could be particularly
implementing the policy. PTI has chiefly focused on observed, in the approaches of PML-N and PPP.
addressing the institutional weaknesses and has
claimed to strengthen Ministry of Water Resources However, the manifestoes are silent on prospective
and resolve issues pertaining to water treaty. MMA water tariff structure. An efficient water tariff is key
has also committed to planning, for resolving water to optimum utilization of resources. PML-N has
shortages. merely mentioned revising of water tariffs for
reducing water storage. With the existing negligible
The analysis reveals no major divergences in the water taxes and flat-fee charges, no incentive exists
relative party positions on the recognition of the nature for judicious water consumption. The new
of water related challenges nor in the approaches on government will have to go away with the culture of
tackling the stated problems. Encouragingly, most free supply of water, if the goal of water conservation
parties have proposed effective roadmaps on is to be accomplished.

ENVIRONMENT There is serious paucity of data on quality of air.
Collection of regular data on the ambient quality is
Pakistan faces potential air quality challenges. mandatory for its appropriate monitoring. In this
Concentration of toxic air pollutants in urban area is regard, PML-N has committed to strengthening of
way above safety thresholds. Urban air pollution in the institutions for objective measurement of air quality.
country is amongst world’s worst, significantly The party has also indicated promotion of urban
damaging peoples’ health. Pakistan has taken 3 slots forestry. PTI as well as MMA has claimed to
among the world’s top 20 most polluted cities.11 Also, undertake task of clean air. In this regard, PTI has
the 2018 “Environmental Performance Index” has particularly set a very ambitious target of planting 10
ranked Pakistan at 169 among 180 countries.12 Air billion trees in 5-year time. MQM has also articulated
quality thus remains a leading threat to public health its plans on promoting extensive forestation. Both,
in the country as more than 22,600 deaths and 5 PTI as well as PPP have asserted to promote public
million childhood illnesses annually are attributed transport which in turn will discourage rise in
directly or indirectly to air pollution in the country.13 individual motors, ultimately reducing pollution.
Table 6 presents salient points I on the subject in the
manifestoes of major political parties.

Table.6 Air Pollution

Strengthen institutions for objective measurement of air quality (PML-N, Page 49)
Oversight Implement initiatives for stopping pollution (PTI, Page 50; MMA, Page 8)

Promote urban forestry (PML-N, Page 49)

Green Growth Planting 10 billion trees in 5 years (PTI, Page 50)
Extensive forestation (MQM, Page 24)
Pollution from Promote clean transport (PTI, Page 50)
Transport Discourage individual motor vehicles (PPP, Page 39)

Pakistan has also been ranked among top 10 most party has also expressed its intention of securing funds
vulnerable countries to climatic changes. Annual for its INDC commitments. Both PPP and PML-N
mean temperature in the country has increased by 0.5° have aimed at promotion of agricultural resilience
C in the past few decades and is expected to further against climate change. PTI has committed to
rise by 3- 5°C. Floods and droughts have become quite mainstreaming climate risks in decision making as
frequent. By the end of this century, sea-level in the well as internalizing of environmental costs in
country is expected to rise by 60 cm’s.14 In the given economic decision making. Table 7 shows the overall
background, PML-N has claimed to strengthen party approaches on dealing with the existential
relevant institutions dealing with climate change. The problem of Climate Change.

World Health Organization, 2016.
Environmental Performance Index Report, 2018.
Martin P, Nishida J, Afzal J, Akbar S, Damania R, Hanrahan D (2006) Pakistan strategic country environmental
assessment, vol 1. South Asia Environment and Social Development Unit, World Bank, Washington.
Climate Change Profile of Pakistan, Asian Development Bank, 2017

Table.7 Climate Change
Establish and strengthen working of Pakistan Climate Change Council, Pakistan
Climate Change Authority and Pakistan Climate Change Fund (PML-N, Page 49)
Institutional Mainstream climate risks into decision making (PTI, Page 50)
Response Internalize and integrate true environmental costs (PTI, Page 50)
Implement National Climate Change Policy (PML-N, Page 49)
Secure funding for INDC commitments (PML-N, Page 49)
Enforce strict emission targets (PML-N, Page 49)
Cut Emissions Cut carbon emissions by 10% before 2023 (PML-N, Page 49)
Establish a Green Growth Task Force under the Prime Minister’s cell to facilitate
necessary legislation and implement the Green Growth Agenda (PTI, Page 49)
Green Energy Promote green energy (PPP, Page 40; PTI Page 50; PML-N Page 31, ANP Page 16,
MMA 6, Page; MQM, Page 17)
Build industrial base in climate-related technology with Chinese partnership (PML-
Climate-Proof N, Page 49)
Infrastructure Develop climate proof infrastructure (PTI, Page 50)
Protection of sea and coast lines (MQM, Page 24)
Agricultural Promote agricultural resilience against climate change (PML-N, Page 49, PPP Page
Resilience 39

In addition to the above two issues, PPP, PML-N and trail of MMA and ANP. Again, the commitments on
PTI have also clarified their positions on environment environment shy away from addressing issue of
conservation. PML-N has claimed to enforce strict assigning resources to the relevant institutions for
emission targets and cut carbon emissions by 10% implementation of the National Environment Quality
before 2023. The party has also committed to Standards (NEQS) for regulating air quality, which
introduce wetland conservation policy as well as to are already in place. PTI has also aimed at
declare at least 10 Marine protected areas. Both PPP internalization of unaccounted damages of economic
and PTI have expressed their intentions on banning activities on environment and health into pricing
non-degradable plastics.15 mechanisms.
Wide ranging commitments have been made on Some contradictory statements in the electoral
environment, by contesting parties, where diverse agendas could be observed, where all parties on one
approaches have been unveiled. On Air pollution, PTI hand are advocating further extension of the coal base
and PML-N, both have committed to focused in the energy matrix and on the other hand are
oversight and green growth for improving air quality. pledging to cut emissions and address climate change
On the theme of climate change, PML-N has on priority base. The carbon dioxide content of coal
supported strong institutional response and strict technologies makes it the largest pollutant of all
emission cuts. PTI has revealed a cohesive Green conventional fuels. Again, not a single party has
Growth Agenda, for which a specific task force will affirmed to Intended Nationally Determined
be established. However, unanimity exists among all Contribution (INDC) that falls under Article 2 of Paris
parties on promotion of green energy. Agreement. PML-N has merely mentioned securing of
funds for these commitments.
Despite of the country’s vulnerability to climate
change, the issue has barely featured on the campaign

PPP, Page 40; PML-N, Page 49

CONCLUSION a common practice, globally. However, not a single
political party appears to have estimated the cost nor
The analysis reveals no major divergences in the discussed any other financial aspects of their proposed
relative party positions on the recognition of programs. Aligning policy goals with possible
challenges and their nature. Nevertheless, slight financial avenues is key to realistic endeavors and will
divergences do exist in the approaches on tackling of be a real challenge for the new government.
the stated challenges.
Overall, while contesting parties have articulated
Though commitments by all parties are cloaked with approaches differently, the differences are not starker,
optimism, yet uncertainty prevails on the “How” which should make a positive case for the
aspect. Committing to grandiose aspirations for implementation of agendas even in case of hung
attracting maximum number of voters in manifestos is parliament.

Prepared by:
Naila Saleh
Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad.

For queries:
Syed Nadeem Farhat, Senior Research Coordinator, |