ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party Senator Behramand Tangi on Monday said that former president Asif Ali Zardari made international leaders Pakistan’s friends for the benefit of the country.

However, he said, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made personal friends and did not care for the national interest.

In a statement, he warned that Pakistan was fast becoming isolated in the world. “The government instead of opening the doors of the governor houses should open the doors of employment for the jobless,” he contended. The lawmaker criticised the government for making task forces on all issues, saying this was just a ‘drama.’

Meanwhile, politicians from across the political divide the same day called upon the government to adopt a collaborative and consensus building approach for addressing national issues and place special emphasis on improving the implementation aspect of the policies. They were speaking at the launch ceremony of Islamabad Policy Institute’s publication ‘Pakistan: Mapping the Policy Agenda 2018 -2023’. The publication outlines policy options for the new government to tackle challenges in 16 key areas of the governance. The book has been themed ‘Governing Pakistan Better’.

The publication contains think tank’s institutional recommendations and analysis of the manifestos of political parties with a view to explore common ground for cooperation between government and the opposition on critical challenges confronted by the country.

It, moreover, has 16 policy papers written by leading experts. The areas covered in the publication include economy, CPEC, energy, water crisis, extremism/terrorism, education, health, access to justice, climate change, foreign policy, defence, freedom of expression/media and civil-military relations.

The publication, which was a culmination of a yearlong research project, was published in collaboration with a German organisation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Speaking at the launch ceremony Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Senator Mussadiq Malik said that he hoped that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government would continue with infrastructure projects initiated by the previous government for the benefit of the common man.

PPP leader Farhatullah Babar praised the publication as remarkably refreshing and noted that the IPI’s recommendations were regarding nuclear posture review, extremism and terrorism and mainstreaming of banned organisations. He, however, regretted that the issue was not recommendations, but that of the will to implement them. He called for introspection on who was formulating the policies and who was expected to implement them.

Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar of Balochistan Awami Party regretted that Pakistan, despite making immense sacrifices in the war on terror, was still being maligned. He said that there were elements within the country who were propagating that particular view. He urged them to have a broader look at the affairs.

Senator Sitara Ayaz of Awami National Party underscored the need for internal stability. She called for strengthening of the Parliament and urged the government to place a greater focus on addressing the problems facing the country.

Allama Raja Nasir Abbas of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen pointed out that the national institutions were weak and the government would have to undertake a massive reforms programme for revitalising them. He appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s assertion that Pakistan would not fight others’ wars and said that it marked a strategic shift.

Maulana Amin Shaheedi of Ummat-e-Wahida asked the new government to show political courage for tackling some of the deep-rooted problems and have confidence in national resources rather than looking outwards for assistance.

PTI’s Nadeem Afzal Chan said that the country would have genuine democracy once the political parties that are the building blocks of the political fabric become democratic in their organisational structures.

Executive Director IPI Prof Sajjad Bokhari said, “As constitutional democracy takes roots, new Parliament and government have their work cut out for them to assert democratic supremacy. Democratic consolidation is still work in progress, and it will be undoubtedly, marred by events”.