LAHORE – Unveiling his party’s manifesto for the election 2013, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif Thursday asked the people for the 1997-like ‘heavy mandate’, promising in return to make the country one of the top 10 world economies.

Introducing their programme, the PML-N president pledged almost everything to everyone. But he claimed the new manifesto was not an assortment of unrealisable and misleading dreams, rather it carries pragmatic programmes based on ground realties to bring about revolutionary development in every sector of the national life.

Accompanied by the top party leadership from all over the country amid a huge media presence, Nawaz said if the people voted his party into power, it will fix the economy, reform taxations system, curb terrorism and end the energy shortage within two years.

Revolutionary reforms will also be brought in education, health, trade, agriculture, information technology, science, industry, infrastructure and other sectors and practical measure will be taken to improve the lot of youth, women, labourers and minorities.

Nawaz said Pakistan needs economic foundations which meet demands of the modern world and the PML-N has a team of experts to lay that ground and implement the programme to make the country one of the leading economies of the world.

He said their target on coming to power is to take the country’s exports to $100billion with the help of the private sector, raise the tax ratio to 15 per cent of the GDP, take the growth rate up to six percent, decrease inflation to eight per cent, gradually set the minimum wages at Rs15,000, lay down an industrial net in the country and revamp PIA, Railways and other national institutions.

Given a heavy mandate again, Nawaz said they will take solid decisions essential to take the country forward, as he stressed that only a strong government can take firm decisions. “We got a heavy mandate in 1997 and made the country a nuclear power, and if given the same again, the party will make the country an ‘invincible economic might’,” he resolved.

Replying to a question on drone attacks and absence of their mention in the document, he said his party strongly believed the attacks are against sovereignty and independence of the country and is not ready to tolerate them at any cost.

To a question on the presentation of defence budget in the parliament, he said like other countries in the world, his party will also present that budget in the parliament. But he said his party is committed to making defence stronger and meet every real need of the forces in this respect.

About extension in the service to the army chief, the PML-N chief said whether it is chief of Army, Navy or Air Force, the principle of seniority will be followed unless there is any legitimate problem about the senior most. “We need to learn a lesson from the past,” he said, obviously referring to the extension given to General Musharraf during his government.

To another question, he downplayed the need for unification of Muslim League factions, saying that all Muslim leaguers are switching over to his party.

Asked about the Pak-Iran gas pipeline agreement and the present government’s bold stance over the issue in the face of fierce US opposition, Nawaz appreciated the agreement and said his party’s policy would be independent of any permanent East or West alignment, but based on pure national interest. He said it is the right of any country to meet its energy needs from wherever it can.

He recalled that in May 1998, sanctions were imposed on Pakistan when in fact they should have been imposed on India because it compelled Pakistan to conduct nuclear tests by exploding its nuclear devices first. But then his government came out of the sanctions, he added.

He said today Pakistan stands isolated in the world and it needs to join the world again and no one should object to the efforts in this regard.

Nawaz said they recognise that the challenges facing the nation are immense and therefore they, even after winning election with majority, would like to take all other stakeholder along. He stressed that a national policy to be followed by all was a must to defeat terrorism and address the problem of law and order.