The PPP is officially the first political party to finally grace the public with its manifesto ahead of polls. Choosing to stand behind its party slogan as a policy statement- “Roti, kapra aur makaan; ilm, sehat, sab ko kaam”, the salient features of the manifesto pledge to curtail hunger, rebuild the country’s economy, empowering the parliament and reconciling state institutions.

Recalling PPP’s previous tenure as the ruling government, the period was marked by allegations of rampant corruption, bad governance, economic meltdowns, nepotism and empty rhetoric. The tenure was largely defined by crippling power and gas shortages, unbridled price hikes, increasing burden of foreign loans, economic derailment and the beginning of the crumbling of important state institutions like PIA, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel and WAPDA -which ultimately gave the previous ruling government an excuse to privatize national assets. Schemes like the Benazir Income Program were a huge drain on the country budget and gave menial relief to poor families.

The current manifesto boasts of the same claim to social-democratic goals. The more promising propositions, if implemented, stand to be integrating differently-abled people into mainstream society, female empowerment, availing youth employment, promoting the agriculture sector and commitment to a new policy for renewable energy. PPP has also committed to including GB representation in the CCI, seeing through effective governance in FATA, and a return of IDPs.

However larger issues like tackling the current water crisis, introducing reforms in the financial regime and Civil -service remain nebulous and rhetorical, as will be the case with all party manifestos without the test of time. The manifesto also attempted a token mention of tackling the subject of minorities and Balochistan, without clearly underlining their stance or the more imperative concerns in either case. It also aspires to a highly optimistic foreign policy, failing to mention Pakistan’s deteriorating geo-political standing owing to the stigma of being grey-listed.

The manifesto stands to be a pivotal gauge of party commitment and performance during its term. Where the PPP party is vigorously trying to make its political comeback under Bilawal and overcome the legacy of ex-president Zardari, the manifesto itself is ambitious yet redundant at the same time. It remains to be seen whether under the aegis of Bilawal, the party will be able to commit to its fundamental ideology if given the chance to rule once again.