It is rare that heat of summer and general elections reach to Pakistan at the same time. As the date of the general elections 2018 has set, the political sloganeering will further echo despite a slight rise in the mercury by next month. It is however to be bore in mind that future of the country is important than enduring the heat of July.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had penchant for democracy and she used to say “democracy is the best revenge”. But democracy is the best revenge to totalitarianism if it holds the corrupt mafia accountable and improves the life of a common man. Since a decade, there is a democratic rule in the country but it has been politically anemic and thus a common man’s life is still miserable. Apart from courts and NAB, the power to hold corrupt politicians accountable also rests in the hands of masses – the power to reject those politicians by not giving them vote in elections who don’t deliver despite elected. This is revenge. This is accountability.

In this perilous time, it is pertinent to say that vote should be given to manifesto and not to party. This is a watershed moment to decide the future of this benighted country as out of 105 million registered voters, 46 million voters are youth between the age brackets of 18-35 years, according to ECP. It is upto the youth of Pakistan to decide whether party loyalties matter or a better manifesto does?

What could be a better manifesto that truly alleviates Pakistan’s grave problems? Be it PPP, PTI, MMA PMLN, ANP or any other political party of Pakistan, a vote for better manifesto will be a step forward towards a better Pakistan.

As an ordinary young Pakistani and a true democrat, I will not sell my vote in the name of caste, creed and fugacious perks. I will not be forced by elders of my family or jirga to vote for a particular candidate. This is how every educated and sane mind of Pakistan should do this time, at least. Let’s make it easy for the people of Pakistan to vote with brains, rather than heart. Let’s make it even feasible for the people how to choose the best manifesto to vote.

For me, the foremost point of any manifesto should be to push Pakistan out of foreign and local debt. The gloomy fact is that external debt of Pakistan elevated to $91761 million in 2018. That means, every single Pakistani is in debt of 120,789 rupees. Despite the rhetoric of better economy spun by PMLN, the debt on each Pakistani has increased 32% in last five years. A strategy to enhance revenue collection by imposing direct and transparent wealth tax is needed. External debt can only be shattered if a robust tax reform to be implemented that bring potential tax evaders in the loop of tax. I will vote for the manifesto that prioritizes this thorny issue.

Small provinces and better administration is of paramount significance in governance. The dilemma of bad governance in Pakistan is congruent to exceptionally large administrative units with unequal distribution of resources among provinces. Turkey has 81 provinces for better administrative framework, Indonesia has 34 provinces. In Pakistan, it is requisite to form new provinces on the basis of population size. New and more than one provinces to be formed out of Punjab, Sindh and KPK. A strong policy and robust leadership is needed to initiate this herculean task. Manifestos that gives importance to this momentous issue to be voted in this election.

James Freeman Clarke said, “A politician thinks about the next election and a statesman thinks about the next generation.” One of the major threat the world is facing now is the depletion of water reservoirs. Pakistan is one of its victims. Sadly, no politician and state department have given this issue a much heed. The meager number of dams in Pakistan will be inadequate to fulfill the need of Pakistanis by 2025 when population will escalate exponentially and water reservoirs will be deficient. Politicians have wasted last couple of decades in debating in proposition and opposition of building new dams. A national consensus is direly needed to address this issue because water scarcity is an imminent danger that Pakistan is facing. Moreover, climatic changes and its effects on Pakistan might be brutal in years to come. Excessive deforestation and no such wise policy of reforestation will strike severe repercussions on our climate. Only visionary minds can think about such paramount issues which have been neglected in the past. Every sane brain at least thinks about this burning issue and vote for manifesto that has given importance to this problem. If much heed isn’t paid to this issue, every Pakistani will suffer from its ramifications. I will vote for dams and forestation.

Being a young Pakistani, I will vote for manifesto that gives ample importance to education and health. From primary education to higher, the quality education and equal opportunities to be granted to each Pakistani. Despite high claims and hollow slogans, the literacy rate of Pakistan is in shambles. No drastic improvement has yet been noticed by surveying agencies. With more than 25 million children out of school, gender imbalance in education, poor infrastructure and low quality of education in government schools vividly depict the priorities of governments in the past. Likewise, public hospitals around the country also paint a sorry state of affairs. Without improving literacy rate and rendering basic health facilities to people, politicians and parties can’t deserve the right to be voted. Pakistan’s spending on education as a percentage of GDP was 2.3% in year 2017 which was lowest in South Asia region. Only the manifesto to be voted in this election is the one that gives high priority to education and health.

Conclusively, all these issues are directly linked with every Pakistani of having whatsoever strata in the society. If a candidate asks for your vote on your doorstep, asks for his party manifesto first. I will vote for manifesto. Will you?