ISLAMABAD – Speakers at a seminar on ‘Relevance of Manifesto in Political Dynamics of Pakistan’ termed the manifestos presented by political parties for general elections 2013 as exaggerated statements pertaining national issues and superficial as far the question of their implementation is concerned.The seminar held here on Monday under the aegis of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) was first in the series of bringing into discussion the manifestos of mainstream political parties and their impact on the electorates in the run up to the general elections. Speaking at the occasion, Dr Abid Q Suleri, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute regretted that political parties particularly those who were in the opposition failed to give shadow cabinet and belied the notion of opposition is the government in waiting. According to him, the missing element in every party’s manifesto appeared to be a deliverable plan of action as to how the party is going to implement one policy statement or the other on important national issues.Asif Saeed Memon of SDPI raised the questions on promises made in manifestos by various parties and said there is dire need of analyzing the policy failures or policy successor of the past 5 years. Citing policy statement on the education sector, he said, every party is now promising an increase in budget for education to 4 percent of GDP, which is exactly the same pledge they made five years ago without achieving any goal. He said there is also a mismatch between voter’s preferences and promised deliverables by political parties in their manifestos, hence, a lose-lose situation for the social sectors particularly education and health.Raza Rumi, Director Jinnah Institute, said after an historic completion of five years by a democratically elected government and country’s edging closer to a rare democratic transition, the next step is to move towards larger agenda of political reforms. “The reforms must start with democratization of political parties through intra party elections; establishing a transparent system of party funding and expenditures and strict adherence to the promises made in the manifestos by political parties,” he added. He was of the view that political parties have failed to become institution largely due to continuous disruption of the democratic system by military dictators and non-existent democratic culture within the political parties.He expressed the hope that after first democratic transition the political parties would learn that the path to real democracy goes through democratization of their own rank and files.Talking about the manifestos presented by political parties in 2008, he said, most of the parties missed out on engaging youth, which are currently half of the Pakistani voters. Mosharraf Zaidi, renowned analyst and development professional discussed the relevance of manifestos with a focus on education. He said PPP promised in its 2008 manifesto right to education for children from 5 to 16 years of age. Unfortunately, after 5 years almost 25 million students are out of school. In the latest manifesto PPP promised to increase adult literacy rate from 54 per cent to 85 per cent. He exclaimed as how and from which head the PPP procured budget allocation to achieve its goal of 85 per cent literacy in the country by 2018.