The Green Party’s Chairperson, Liaquat Ali Sheikh, tells us about the upcoming local elections in Pakistan.
Pakistan right now
Corruption is pervasive. “My home province Sindh is one of the best examples in the world for corruption and bad governance, largely due to the consolidation between the dominant parties” says Liaquat. The current government under the Pakistan Peoples Party absorbs opposition groups by behaving like a mafia; either buying the opposition with bribes and government appointments or oppressing the opposition by putting their leader and supporters in jail and grabbing their property until they surrender. While most leaders of small parties will be bought, new political groups continually emerge with new strategies of resistance, which is very good and gives us collectively more ability to oppose the regime.
Sindh is also one of the most resource rich provinces of Pakistan, generating the nation’s largest percentage of tax revenue generated by Sindh’s large sugarcane industry and Karachi’s metro population of nearly 24 million. Despite Sindh’s wealth it also has the worst education indicators in the country. While the rest of Pakistan’s provinces progress, Sindh basic services degrade due to bad governance.
Consequently, Sindh’s major parties know they are not popular and have resorted to delaying elections as much as possible until March 2016; whereas the rest of the nation will complete local elections in 2015.
The Pakistan Green Party:
The Pakistan Green Party will advance more than 100 candidates in elections across the country starting with KPK province in May.
The Green Party candidates will develop localised campaigns using colourful images to explain their policies addressing the unique issues of each province.
The KPK campaign focuses on deforestation, local economy and waste management. To address KPK’s problems with water heating, the Green Party will highlight the opportunities of community solar heating which will also reduce firewood consumption. The Green Party also proposes new waste management systems with recycling programs in each neighbourhood. By contrast large parties focus on international issues and relations with the United States, while failing to address basic community needs.
The Pakistan Green Party’s campaign will focus on positive solutions, youth-oriented participatory democracy and a hopeful future.
Liaquat says, “overall I am happy, always positive. It will take time. We don’t know if we will become part of this big political system or whether it will take some years more. There are still many big issues like open coal mining which gives us momentum to keep trying.”
The Pakistan Greens are dedicated to building democracy at a grassroots level, showing the benefits of healthy competition in elections, and lowering the age of councillors from 18 to 16 years will give youth more opportunities to be leaders in our society through peaceful democratic means.
“We try to bring in new ideas so that people can start talking about important issues which are not currently in the political topics, like health, water, air pollution, waste management, education, and livestock,” says Liaquat.
To facilitate learning about Pakistan and Pakistani Green politics, an international friends of Pakistan Green Party network will soon be launched.
For now, the Pakistan Green Party is busy training candidates and creating colourful campaign posters that will bring their policies to life!
02/25/2015 – 04:22