Friday, January 2, 2009

20 things I want of my government

It's easy to watch this government stumble through its first year in power and criticize everything it does. But the other day I wondered whether instead I could come up with a list of things I expect from the government, a sort of political agenda of my own. I don't expect that many things on this list will come about but that isn't really the point.

I have realized over time that Pakistanis expect vastly different things from their government. Some want the government to leave us entirely alone, others want it to impose their particular morality on everyone else and yet others want it to provide each and everything in life to them. In sharing my expectations of the government, I am hoping that others will share theirs too. I am extremely curious about what most Pakistanis would like to see from our government. And maybe, just perhaps, someone in the government might be curious too...?

Without much further ado, my list:
  1. Repeal of the Eighth Amendment
  2. Decentralization of power to the provincial and district levels, including the power to raise taxes, enact laws and manage subjects
  3. Depoliticization and modernization of the police force, including better training in crime investigation, public relations and gender sensitization
  4. An end to capital punishment
  5. An end to torture
  6. A comprehensive disaster management plan for all the cities of Pakistan
  7. Making only one law-enforcement agency responsible for protecting Pakistanis agaisnt terrorism
  8. A decisive victory in FATA, Swat, Buner, Dera Ismail Khan and other places where the army is involved
  9. More civilian control over the army and more oversight and transparency in its budget-making
  10. Swift increase in our electricity generation capacity and a long-term plan to ensure that power supply keeps up with demand
  11. Cheap and efficient public transport in all cities
  12. Enough government schools, teachers and teacher training institutes to guarantee state of the art primary and secondary education to all Pakistani children
  13. Streamlining and modernizing the syllabi of madrassahs
  14. Stringent consumer protection laws and consumer courts
  15. Laws against sexual harrassment in the workplace and against domestic violence
  16. A social security net for the poor, including food stamps and a bureau to help Pakistanis find work and train them for jobs
  17. Government health clinics in rural areas
  18. Provision of electricity to every village in Pakistan
  19. Modernization and expansion of Pakistan's railway system
  20. It complete its five year term and facilitate free and fair elections at the end of its tenure.

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