What do you mean by Barabri?
This is the fundamental ideology of the party. It means that all human beings have the right to a prosperous, health, happy and respected life, regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or gender. For that they all should have equal access to available resources and opportunities to create a level playing field so every person can reach his or her full potential.
What is 99%?
These are the middle and working class people of Pakistan making 99 percent of population. They produce 100 percent of the wealth of the country but have minimal in this wealth. Majority of them live without access to basic necessities of life due to inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities.
What is 1%?
These are the elite (ashrafia) of the country. They include big land lords, business and industry owners. They are enjoying the fruits of hard work of 99 percent Pakistanis and keeping them poor and ignorant. These are the people who or their representatives are sitting in our national and provincial assemblies and making laws which benefit them and their relatives and friends.
Do you have a plan to nationalize industry?
We will review the situation when we come into power. We might take charge of the commanding heights of economy and all those sectors which are not beneficial for people or against the interests of the state. We don’t have any plans to nationalize medium and small scale industry as long as there is no exploitation of the workers.
Will you do Land Reforms?
We believe land is a strategic asset that belongs to the people of this country. It is the source of most things that we need to have a satisfying and prosperous life, like food, timber, minerals, water, building material, energy etc. We build homes, places of worship, recreational facilities, educational institutions, all public places etc are built on land. We need a comprehensive land policy. Thus, we plan to do land reforms of agricultural lands, stop land mafia in urban areas and the unused land will be used for cooperative or state managed farming. Ensuring food security will be top priority for us. Foreigners will be restricted in buying and owning land in Pakistan.
How you will manage education?
Education has been universally accepted as a human right. As the world moves more and more towards knowledge economy, providing appropriate education is an existential issue. Major problems right now are education has become a business where quality education is accessible only to those who can afford it. We believe education should not be treated as a commodity to make profit. The other problems are accessibility to not just education but quality education. Unless this problem is dealt with on emergency basis with proper short and long term planning. The following issues will be addressed through proper planning:
1. Access to quality education for all children who are entering schools now.
2. Plan for 14 to 30 year old who dropped out of school and now want to restart it.
3. Plan for 14 to 30 year old who never went to school and want to acquire literacy skills
4. Skills training programs who have no desire to go to school
5. Expand the constitutional cover for education to include all and till higher education.
6. Take steps towards a nation wide uniform syllabus
7. Bring the quality of education in state run institutions so parents do not have to spend money on private education.
8. A comprehensive plan to train teachers
9. Use of technology to make education accessible to remote areas
What is your policy about health/healthcare?
Healthcare is accepted as a human right worldwide. It is state’s responsibility to ensure that all citizens have access to quality healthcare on equality basis. Right now the problems are not just access to healthcare but substandard healthcare professionals who actually cause more harm than help. Problem is much more severe and acute in rural areas which have been neglected in all aspects of life by all previous governments. Healthcare has become more of a business than service.
Healthcare has to be viewed in totality. The areas to be addressed are:
Public education about health related issues and preventive measures
Policy re acute and communicable diseases
Policy re chronic diseases
Education and training of healthcare providers including doctors, nurses, technicians and others. At this time there are no standards and guidelines which are enforced to maintain quality.
Healthcare facilities need to be upgraded
Diagnostic facilities should be accessible
Gap between rural and urban areas need to be narrowed
How would you ensure food security for all citizens?
Lack of food or hunger is a worldwide problem. Almost half the children in Pakistan are malnourished and stunted. It affects not only their physical growth but mental, intellectual and emotional wellbeing also. Pakistan is an agricultural country. There is no excuse for people to go hungry. Food should not be simply to satisfy hunger but it should be nourishing and include all necessary ingredients for a healthy life.
To ensure food security we need to have a comprehensive land policy. Unused land should be cultivated, Land reforms should be implemented, agricultural land should be protected and agricultural methods should be modernized. Water management is another important area that needs to be addressed. And then there has to be proper distribution plan for food items so that it is available to all citizens. State has to get involved and regulate food production and distribution in a fair and equitable manner.
Water is becoming a major problem in Pakistan. How will you address this?
Without water life is not possible. Water is needed to grow food, for drinking and many other daily needs. We plan to develop a comprehensive water policy which includes using existing resources more effectively, developing new ways to store water from rains, minimizing water loss thru lined canals, more effective irrigation methods. We will review our agreement with India on this issue. We have to ensure clean drinking water to everyone. In order to do this water mafia has to be tackled with. A extensive public education program about water conservation will be launched.
How to deal with huge debt burden?
Pakistan cannot get out of debt till focus it becomes financially self sufficient to a large extent. In order to become self sufficient some major initiatives will have to be taken.
State has to set up industry.
Banking sector has to be overhauled.
Land reforms have to implemented.
All non productive projects will have to be stopped
Government administrative expenses have to be curtailed.
Increase taxes on the rich
How will you handle Trade?
Trade is part of economic system. It depends on many factors including the availability of raw material, manufacturing capacity of the country, skill level of work force, availability of technology etc. But it has geopolitical dimensions. Under capitalism, major corporations and businesses mostly from the developed countries want to have trade agreement that are overwhelmingly in their favor. There are international organizations which have been established by developed countries, World Trade Organization, to ensure that this trade balance stays in their favor. In order to change the trade balance in our favor, some serious policy steps will have to be taken. State will have to get involved in manufacturing and industry as well as protecting its labor force and natural resources from exploitation. One major obstacle to our manufacturing capacity is shortage of energy.
How would you solve energy problem?
This is a complex problem which has an impact on not only day to day life of citizens but also economic health of the country. Unless this problem is resolved, Pakistan cannot event think of becoming self sufficient. In order to do that state will have to take responsibility of producing energy and setting up priorities for its distribution. It has to be taken out of private sector hand. There is a need to set up a state sponsored comprehensive research and development center which looks at the current situation, and proposes ways to develop and use indigenous renewable sources of energy and lessen the dependency on fossil fuels.
How to handle unemployment?
Unemployment is a major cause of poverty in the world. It is also highly under reported in official statistics. Further more, it is not just unemployment but also under employment which needs to be addressed. It needs a comprehensive plan.
There are many sectors which have a great potential for generating employment but it needs planning and proper execution.
It needs enhancement in education and skills training programs.
Agriculture sector has huge potential to generate employment which needs to be tapped.
State needs to set up industry, cooperative farming and businesses which can employe people
Setting up local state owned and/cooperative banking can be used to provide small loans on easy terms for entrepreneurs
Education system should be linked with market needs
Those who become unemployed due to technology should be retrained according to market needs.
And if state cannot ensure employment, it should provide unemployment benefits.
Why is Transport a responsibility of state?
Means of transport are important for many reasons, to get to work, for leisure, shopping, social relations and occasions, for travel and vacation. It is only state which can plan and develop a cohesive and comprehensive infrastructure and means of transport. Whether it should be completely free, subsidized, at cost or for profit depends on the economic situation, demographics of users, nature of travel, needs of the state and other factors. But it is responsibility of the state to ensure that all citizens have access to means of transport on equal basis.
Handling Security or tahafuz?
Security is total responsibility of the state. Law and order should be such that people should not need to hire security guards and body guards. If elite class is removed from power, with them organized crime such as land grabbing mafia, housing mafia, bahta mafia, crime rate will come down because organized crime is supported by these people in power. Unorganized crime can be handled by law enforcement agencies. Private armed organisations should be strictly banned and dismantled.
How to handle delay in justice system?
Justice is a complex concept. Justice system is meant to deliver justice. This fundamental goal cannot be achieved if money becomes a major factor in delivering justice. So, the first step is to eliminate the role of money in delivering justice. Then there are socioeconomic reasons for crime. Poverty, deprivation and exploitation are major causes which facilitates crime. Unless they are addressed, crime cannot be controlled. There can be no justice until there is economic justice. Another factor is that Pakistan has not updated its laws according to modern requirements. We have many laws on the books from colonial era. They have been maintained to benefit the current ruling class. This needs to be addressed. There are many other ways to address the disputes than courts. They need to be looked into and adopted to reduce burden on courts. The sole purpose of justice system should not be to punish the responsible party, but to find the cause and rehabilitate the responsible person. This needs establishing research and data collection systems and hiring experts in these areas. Thus, there is a need of systemwide changes which are rooted in the socioeconomic system of the country.
How to stop Corruption in government departments?
Corruption is the biggest tool in the hand of Pakistan elite. Politician sitting in the parliament promote corruption intentionally. They install corrupt government official at important posts who protect their corruption and in turn they protect them and allow them to make money what ever means they can use. Most of the government official corruption money is collected in shape of pools which is later distributed and thus corruption is organized crime in Pakistan. Which can be only handled from the top. If people’s representative are not corrupt then organized corruption will be finished immediately and proper accountability can handle minor corruption.
How to ensure democracy in Pakistan?
As we all know that Pakistan has been under dictatorship rule for almost half of its life since inception. But, the fact is that problems of 99 percent have stayed the same whether it was dictatorship or democratic rule. The reason for this is that the so called democratic governments have never genuinely represented the interests of 99 percent. Democracy does not start and end with elections and voting process. It means people truly have a say in the decision making process. It means not only that they choose their representatives but those representative are willing to listen to them even after election and stay in touch with their constituents. It also means that these representatives are from among the 99 percent, so they truly represent their interests and are willing to solve their problems. In order for that to happen, democratic institutions have to be built from ground up, rather than being top down as is the case now. We strongly believe in empowering and strengthening local governments at UC, Tehsil, District and provincial level. By this we mean that local governments should be able to make decisions, raise funds and implement local development projects as well as manage local education, health, infrastructure, transport, energy issues. They should have a say in the budget allocation at the national level for their areas. And most important of all, there should be a mechanism for these representatives to be accountable to their constituents after the election. There should be check and balances on the performance. The most effective and important mechanism to ensure this is for the 99 percent to have their own party. Barabri Party Pakistan is such a party.
How you will reduce poverty?
Our ultimate goal is to eliminate poverty. This will happen when steps are taken to prevent accumulation of wealth in fewer hands, equal access to resources and opportunities is ensured and economy is restructured to fulfill people’s needs. Some of our strategies call for improving education and skill development for youth so they have better prospects for finding jobs, creating employments opportunities, increasing minimum wage to a living wage, land reforms, increasing tax on the rich, by increasing state’s role in providing social security for people.
Where will the money to pay for education, healthcare, housing, social security and other services will come from?
It is state’s responsibility to ensure that basic needs of all citizens are met. It require setting up this at the top of state’s agenda and re-allocation of resources from one area into another, by reducing debt burden, by increasing the taxes on the rich, generating income through industrialization and overhauling banking system and ending subsidies to the rich.
If we increase minimum wages, no investor will come to Pakistan.
Investor only come to a country to make profit and more profit they do not have any sympathy with the country. We should only allow investment, which are benefit to the country, such as manufacturing industry. Consumer based investment is harmful for country’s economy. Allowing fast foods and foreign luxury brands will destroy local entrepreneurs and cause to take the foreign exchange out of country needlessly. Pakistan is a big country with a very big market, if security and corruption is controlled, manufacturing industry will happily pay reasonable wages as they will calculate it before making the investment.
What will be your foreign policy?
Prosperity of any country is attached with peace within and with its neighbors. Pakistan must pay attention to all potential sources on conflict and actively remove them. Which includes Durand line border with Afghanistan, Sur creek and Kashmir with India. Pakistan must engage in dialogues with Afghanistan and India to resolve these matters. Matter of Kashmir is very serious and sensitive and it must be solved according to the wishes of Kashmiris. That is the only way for lasting peace. Pakistan is nuclear power and arm conflict should be the last option. Pakistani defense must be strong enough to handle aggression and adventurism of any country.
Role of Armed forces in Government?
Role of Armed forces is clearly defined in our constitution. Pakistan Armed forces and related agencies are acting in the best interest of country and they must be supported and financed properly. There are many armed groups operating within the country and carrying out terrorist activities which are beyond the civil government’s ability to handle. Internal security of the country is responsibility of civilian government, if handled properly then armed forces can relieved from such duty and concentrate to the defense of the country.
Do you think there is need for new provinces?
Currently, the people in smaller provinces and under developed areas are unhappy and demand new provinces because they believe they are not getting a fair share in country’s resources or their resources are being misused. Under our policy of ensuring that all citizens are given equal access to resources and opportunities, this can be addressed to a large extent. We also believe that local people have the first right over their resources. If that is taken care of, then the issue of provinces can be resolved based on administrative needs rather than ethnic or linguistic basis.
Why A New Political Party?
At this time politics in Pakistan is revolving around personal interests and role of money and power. All major parties are controlled and led by large land owners, industrialists, businessmen, mafias and other rich and influential people or their representatives. All decisions are made by this small elite group. And by necessity, these decisions are in the interest of this elite group. Politics has become a business. These people get elected by spending money during elections to lure electorate. They have to not only recoup that money after getting elected but make profit also. This same small group, with few changes, has been controlling Pakistan’s resources, opportunities and all major institutions for the past several decades.
Thus Barabri Party Pakistan was established to be the party of middle and working class and youth, which make up 99 percent of population. For the past several decades, through a systematic and planned way, the average citizen has been sidelined from the politics of the country. They have been made to believe that their role in politics is only supportive and as followers. They only can vote for the choices put in front of them, not to become choice themselves. Barabri Party Pakistan wants to change that. It wants to put 99 percent in the driving seat. Unless this happens and middle and working class and youth become involved in politics and come in leadership position, get elected to decision making institutions where they make policies and laws to solve their problems, nothing will change in Pakistan.
Barabri Party Pakistan provides a platform and welcome all those who want to change Pakistan into a more egalitarian society, have the courage to challenge the current powers, commitment to the cause and resolve to pursue this goal, are honest and who are willing to read and learn and work hard.