By amending the National Command Authority Ordinance, President Asif Ali Zardari has taken another important step forward to implement the Charter of Democracy (CoD) in its letter and spirit.

According to the ordinance, the president has delegated decision-making powers of the NCA to the prime minister. Democratic institutions and parliamentary democracy was strengthening in the country, however, it was being wrongly portrayed by some groups having vested interests as weakening of the PPP-led government.

Dispelling the impression by some news analysts with regard to the amendment to the NCA as the surrender of power by the president. Initiative was the fulfillment of the PPP’s manifesto inspired by the dreams of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as well as the guiding principles of the CoD.

The government was working to achieve the roadmap agreed by the two main political parties of the country in the Charter of Democracy, signed by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif on May 14, 2006, in London.

Extracts from the CoD, reaffirming “our commitment to democracy and universally recognised fundamental rights, the rights of a vibrant opposition, internal party democracy, ideological/political tolerance, bipartisan working of parliament through a powerful committee system, a cooperative federation with no discrimination against federating units, the devolution of power, maximum provincial autonomy and the empowerment of the people at the grassroots level.”

“The emancipation of our people from poverty, ignorance, want and disease, the uplift of women and minorities, the elimination of Kalashnikov culture, a free media, an independent judiciary, a neutral civil service, rule of law and merit, the settlement of disputes with neighbours through peaceful means, honouring international contracts and laws/covenants and sovereign guarantees to achieve a responsible status through a foreign policy that suits our national interests.” Some media spin doctors are trying to mislead the people by spreading rumours, speculations and wrong interpretation of facts to defame the leadership of the present government. The present government has achieved a number of landmarks in line with aspirations of the people and the spirit of CoD leading to an enduring democracy in the country.

Some key successes achieved by the government which included the initiation of consultative and reconciliatory form of government by taking the elected representatives onboard on all important issues like the war on terrorism, military operation against terrorists and empowerment of the parliament through constitution of committee system to the extent that the leader of the opposition has been appointed as the chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The constitutional committee under the leadership of Senator Mian Raza Rabbani comprising all parties represented in the parliament to review and suggest amendments to the constitution distorted by the successive military and non-representative regimes.

The Committee had so far held 29 rigorous meetings to deliberate upon all contentious provisions inserted in the constitution through 17th amendment by the previous regime. The president has taken keen interest in expediting the process of committee proceedings and has already indicated to have the consensus document to be presented to the parliament in December.

This is going to be another landmark achievement of the present government by taking the course of consultation for consensus-building on key issues of national importance, the anti-government spin doctors are trying to belittle the achievements of the government with regard to progress made by the country. The restoration of peace in Swat and Malakand and handling of the IDPs. The government had launched a number of schemes for alleviation of poverty, empowerment of women and employment to the unemployed.

The launching of Benazir Income Support Programme worth Rs70 billion, Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme in more than 80 state owned enterprises, through which 12% shares worth more than Rs110 billion have been given to employees, free of cost.

Additionally, Benazir Green Tractors Scheme for small farmers, subsidy to the people in provision of about 70 items at the Utility Stores, increase in the minimum wages of the workers to Rs6,000, revival of trade unions through IRA 2009, restoration of thousands of sacked employees, regularization of contract employees, National Internship programme, increase in the salaries of government employees are some other steps taken by the government.

In addition to short term measures, the present government has also launched new policies in the field of education, textile, power, petroleum and natural resources.

PPP leadership enjoys the credit of addressing the long outstanding issue of Balochistan. “President Asif Ali Zardari personally offered apologies to the people of Balochistan for the injustices meted out by the previous regimes and we take pride in initiation of process for restoration of rights for people of Balochistan through Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan.”

The 39-point initiative of constitutional, political, administrative and economic reforms was recently presented in the joint sitting of the Parliament, which has won great applause from all corners of life including the nationalist leadership of the aggrieved province. This has restored the trust of the people of Balochistan in the federation of Pakistan which was eroded by the myopic and arbitrary policies of the past regimes.

The present government has also empowered the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by delegating 61 areas of legislation to the elected representatives of GB legislative assembly and held free, fair and transparent elections participated by all major political parties. This has not only brought blooming democracy to the region rather has also demonstrated that democracy can neutralise parochial and sectarian divides of the society. The present government is not shy of facing the challenges, it has successfully resolved the issue of net hydel profit of NWFP and Gas Development Surcharge (GDS) to Balochistan.

“Our government has already paid Rs10 billion out of total Rs110 billion to NWFP and an amount of Rs120 billion will be paid to Balochistan on GDS.” It is important to note that the issue of GDS was pending since early 60s, which has only now been redressed by the present government.

The president advised to remodel the NFC Award by ensuring equity of resources distribution to all federating units.

The work in this regard is in progress and the NFC Award Committee has already indicated to reverse previously held rigid positions by some provinces and suggesting a structural revision of the NFC formula. The present government had practically demonstrated its credentials to uphold the cause of free media.

It abolished the emergency Pemra Law 2007 and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is on record of having disallowed the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee regarding retention of some provisions of the 2007 Pemra Ordinance.

The media in the country is the freest ever in its history even the head of state is subjected to rigorous criticism and ridicule by the national media which does not happen even in the most advanced democracies of the world. “Unfortunately, some vested interest are taking undue advantage of the media freedom and trying to mislead the people by confounding facts with fiction,”

The detractors of the government should take a breath and look at the performance of the government objectively and come up with suggestive criticism, which is always welcomed by the people’s government. The government’s resolve to work for consultative, reconciliatory and futuristic vision of democracy in the country.


Land Reforms

  • Distributed 35000 acres of land among the landless peasants. Each farmer was given 12.5 acres of land. The landlords challenged the land reforms in Supreme Court and because of court intervention the hand reforms were temporarily halted.
  • More than five hundred political workers, who were economically destroyed by the Zia regime because of their struggle for democracy, were given small residential plots on official rates.


  • Arrangements were made to build 2000 two-room small houses for homeless in every big city.
  • One thousand small houses were built in Karachi and handed over to homeless at a price of 30,000 each payable in small easy instalments.

Labour Reforms

  • Ban was immediately lifted on trade union activities.
  • Forty thousands industrial workers previously sacked were reinstated.
  • Labour wages were increased twice.
  • Labours were awarded share in the income of their enterprise.
  • Decision was taken to build labour colonies in every industrial city.
  • Labours were given the right of pension after retirement.


  • It was decided to establish government dispensaries in every Union Council.
  • Admission and bed fees forced upon during Zia’s regime were abolished.


  • For the very first time in the history of Pakistan, in the budget of 1989-90 the amount allocated for education was increased.
  • The education budget was again increased in 1990-91.
  • Fifty thousand new teachers were employed.
  • Education made compulsory upto 8th class.
  • Importance was given to technical and scientific education.

Youth Policy

  • Ban on students unions was lifted immediately so that the youth can get training and develop discipline and achieve organisational expertise during their college years.
  • To address the problems of youth a separate ministry for youth affairs was established.
  • 80 thousands new literacy centres were set up throughout the country.

Women Affairs

  • Ten thousands young people were given loans of 50 thousands each to start their own businesses.
  • Very first time a separate ministry for women affairs was established to solve their problems.
  • Women Bank was established.
  • Women were given loan facility to start their own businesses.
  • Computer centres for women were started in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Water & Power

  • Electricity was supplied to 4 thousand Villages in twenty months, which is a record.
  • Electricity supplied to more than 12 lac houses.
  • Private sector was encouraged and 1 billion $ investment from private sector was arranged for electric generation.
  • Ghazi Brotha and Neelam Jhelum projects (1 thousand Mega Watts) were initiated.
  • To overcome the energy problem an agreement was signed with China for the supply of a 300 MW nuclear Power Plant.

Communication & Production

  • Built a Satellite Station connecting Skardu, Gilgit and Gawadur with  Islamabad.
  • Microwave channel was built to connect Karachi and Peshawar.
  • 600 new post offices were opened.
  • Port Qasim was extended.
  • Pakistan Steel Mills was extended and its productivity increased.
  • Employment of 5000 workers were secured by restarting Baluchistan Textile Mills.
  • Millat Tractors was extended and its productivity increased from 12000 tractors per year to 18000 tractors per year.
  • A new plant of Suzuki Cars was constructed.
  • The lines for 1,50,000 new telephone connections were placed.
  • 18 cities were connected via direct dialling system.

Oil & Gas

  • 30% increase in production of oil and gas.
  • Work started to build a refinery.


  • Rupees 3.88 billion petrochemical project started.
  • An assembly plant of Toyota Hi Ace, Jeeps and Cars was started.
  • Loan facilities were extended for establishing small industrial units.
  • Limits for investment without government approval, was increased.


  • Two Frigates were handed over to Pakistan Navy.
  • Pakistan started indigenous aircraft production.
  • New sophisticated radar system started operation.
  • Acquired sixty F-16 Planes.

Freedom of Press & Expression

  • Press laws aimed at censorship lifted.
  • Journalists terminated from service during Martial Law regime were reinstated.
  • No objection certificate for journalists to travel abroad was abolished.
  • Employees of Radio and Television were reinstated.

Religious Services

  • An international Secret Conference was held.
  • The numbers of Pilgrims were increased in 1989. The new Haj Policy was adopted and over 1 lacs people were sent to perform Haj in 1990.
  • 2 Secret Conferences were held.
  • Haj flights were initiated from Lahore and Islamabad.


  • Conference of the Heads of States of SAARC was held in Islamabad.
  • China announced to extend an interest free loan of 5 crore dollars.
  • Pakistan rejoined the Common Wealth.
  • Relations with India normalised and an agreement of no attack on nuclear installations was signed.
  • Russia approved 1 billion dollar for extension of Karachi Steel Mills.
  • A separate ministry was established for eradication of drug smuggling.
  • Big drug traffickers were arrested and put behind bars.
  • South Asian Games were successfully held.



  • Built 21,000 primary schools.
  • Provided 700,000 new telephone connections.
  • Electricity to 18,000 villages.
  • Airport at Sehwan Sharif.
  • Airport at Gawadur.
  • Work on Ketti Bandar Port started.
  • Construction of Akra Dam providing safe drinking water to the coastal regions of Mehran.

Foreign Policy

  • For the first time the OIC summit at Casablanca adopted a unanimous resolution asking for a solution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions.
  • Adoption of Brown Amendment which partially released the military equipment and hardware stuck up in the US since long due to Pressler Law.

Law & Order

  • Peace in Karachi. A near end to terrorism acknowledged by friends and foes alike.


  • Agosta submarines for the Pakistan Navy.
  • Tanks for the Army.
  • Missile capability developed which was to be announced as the Golden Jubilee gift to the Nation on August 14,1997.


  • An end to the load shedding by enlisting the private sector in power development sector through a uniform policy of tariffs and concessions hailed by the World Bank as a model for the developing countries.
  • Completion of the first private sector power plant, HUBCO.
  • Our 11000 kilometers of gas transmission line completed to provide gas to 240 new  towns and villages.
  • Oil and gas exploration stepped up. As a result four new oil and gas wells discovered.


  • Laying of the optic fiber along with right bank of Indus.
  • Introduced cellular telephones, digital pager, satellite dish and FM Radio.

Social Sector

  • Countrywide Polio Vaccination Programme-Nearly 100 percent children under the age of five vaccinated against Polio in three years.
  • A large number of Computer Centres opened – Special centers for women
  • Recruitment of 33,000 Lady Health Visitors to reduce infant mortality.

Legislation/Northern Areas

  • Electoral reforms bill adopted for the first time.
  • For the first time people of Northern Areas given the right to vote.

Women Development

  • First time Women Police Stations set up, Women Bank opened and Women Judges appointed in superior judiciary.


  • Complete press freedom.
  • Sixth Wage Board award announced for the newspaper workers. The award was also  implemented in the APP.


  • For the first time since independence, Cabinet members were forbidden to take loans from Pakistani Banks.
  • State Bank of Pakistan made an autonomous organisation.
  • For the first time one billion dollars of debt retired.
  • From a dismal growth rate of 2.3% in 1992-93 which it inherited, the PPP government raised the economic growth to 5.2% in 1995-96. The growth rate plunged to 3. I % in 1996-97 after the removal of PPP government, a figure further lowered to 1.3% in the budget.
  • Fiscal defcit in the last year of PPP government i.e.1995-96 brought down to 5%, from 8% of GDP which it had inherited.
  • Tax revenue which were only 7.2% of GDP in 92-93 was raised to 14. I % of GDP in 1995-96. Last year the tax to GDP ratio again fell to 10.2%.
  • Due to investment-oriented policies, more than 3 billion dollars of direct foreign investment flowed into the country. As against this the present government has scared away foreign investment through its mishandling of the IPP issue and freeze on foreign currency accounts.
  • A day before the PPP government was dismissal, the stock index was at 1500 points. It sank to 900 points in August 98.


  • Haj flights from Multan and Sukkur.
  • Tens of thousands of jobs provided to the educated but unemployed youth in government departments, banks, corporations and autonomous bodies.

Anti Narcotics

  • Effective anti-narcotics measures and legislation adopted for the first time.
  • Half a dozen major drug barons extradited.
  • Death penalty and confiscation of property provided in the law for drug pushers.

Achievements of Mohtarma Bhutto government in advancing Women Rights

1. In 1993, Mohtarma Bhutto’s Government subscribed to the Vienna Declaration which recognized women’s rights as human rights.

2. In 1994, led by her, Pakistan’s delegation actively participated in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and acceded to its Programme of Action reaffirming the principles of gender equality and equity, the empowerment of women, guaranteeing women’s right to development and her reproductive rights and eradication of poverty.

3. She also led the delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995 and presented a report of strong commitments to women’s rights and development.

The Platform for Action and the declaration as adopted in the conference focused on the critical areas of concern for women and outlined an action-oriented strategy for the solution of their problems.

Affirming its commitment to women’s uplift, the Government under premier Bhutto in collaboration with donors initiated a process of setting up Beijing Follow-up mechanisms throughout the country.

To facilitate post Beijing activities a Beijing Follow up Unit was set up in the Ministry of Women Development and one each in the Women Development Departments of the four provinces.

4. In February 1996, Pakistan ratified the United Nations’ Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); this was a major achievement of the People’s Party government on international covenants pertaining to the rights of women.

5. Restoration of Women seats in National and Provincial Assemblies. The Government was ready to move an amendment for this when it was dismissed.

6. Five percent quota in for women in Employment was fixed in all Government departments.

7. Crisis Centre for Women in distress. – The Government set-up “Crisis Centres for women in Distress” in Islamabad and at Vehari. These were pilot projects which aimed at providing medical and legal aid to the women victims of violence. The 24 hour centres were by NGOs. The Management Committee comprised NGOs and Government Servants. Teams of volunteer Doctors, Lawyers and Social Workers were associated with the Centres to help women in distress. The PPP Government expanded the program to other urban and rural areas.

8. Muslim Women’s Parliamentary Union was formed. This was a path breaking initiative and brought together women parliamentarian from 21 Muslim Countries. The first meeting was held in Islamabad and the second in Malaysia.

9. A Women’s Sports Board was established to promote women’s participation in sports and prepare Pakistani Women athletes for international competitions. The First Islamic Women’s Games were held in Pakistan.


Thirteen focal point were designated in various Ministries, Divisions for a systematic Gender Sensitization Training Programme for officers of various Ministries in the Federal Government and also Provincial Departments to improve upon the existing process of identification, planning, implementation and performance evaluation of women’s programmes and projects. The objective was to strengthen the role of the Ministry and simultaneously bring about substantial improvement in women’s share in public sector employment and training.

Non-Development Budget and Utilization. The years 1993-96 on an average reflect an increase of 42.78% over allocations of 1991-92 and 1992-93.

The year 1994-96 on an average reflect an increase of 92.70% as compared to the allocations to 1993-94

Public Sector Development Programme:

  • Medical Technical Assistants (MTA). Her government launched Training Programmes for Girls to Provide Skills for marketable jobs at Institute of Public Health Lahore, at D.H.O Hospital, Sargodha, at Institute of Nursing and Health Sciences Sheikh Zaid Post-Graduate Medical Institute, Lahore, at B.V. Hospital Bahawalpur, at DHQ. Hospital, Jehlum, at National Hospital, Karachi, at Hayat Shaheed Teaching Hospital, Peshawar, and at Abbottabad.
  • To provide support to mothers at work, Day Care Centre were established at Government College for Women, T. T. Singh (under Umbrella Project), at Women Development Social Welfare and Special Education, F.G. Girls Colleges in Cantt/Garrisons.
  • Computer Training Centre at Jhang, Islamabad.
  • Establishment of Hostel for Working Women at Gujranwala, Hyderabad and Sukkur, Quetta.
  • Women Training Institute at Sahiwal.
  • Construction of 50 Rooms Women’s Hostel at Lahore.
  • Establishment of Mobile Hospital for T.B and Gynae Women Patients, at Raheem Yar Khan.
  • Rearing and Development of Silk Worm Realing and Weaving of Silk Thread for Rural Women in Sindh.
  • Strengthening of Training of Women Folk in Fruit and Vegetable Production and Preservation, NWFP.
  • Construction of Maternity Home with Equipment at Mensehra.
  • Setting up of Six Community Centres at Islamabad.
  • Women Income Generating Scheme in ICT.
  • Creation of Additional Women Mobile Civil Protection Training Teams at Islamabad.
  • MSc Women’s Studies, at Allama Iqbal University, Islamabad.
  • Centre of Excellence for Women Studies Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar.


1. The focus was in on improving education of women, expanding their health facilities and providing openings for their income generation; removal of discrimination in education and employment and better information on women’s issues, on their rights and responsibilities; and increasing participation of women in employment.

2. Special efforts were made to improve women’s education skill and employability. These included (i) expanding education and training facilities for women; (ii) opening up avenues of their employment in all walks of life; (iii) reservation of special quota in public sector jobs (iv) creation of congenial atmosphere in offices and factories, and (v) removal of sex bias in employment. Facilities and incentives were extended for self-employment and development of cottage industries.

 3. 38,000 women benefited through the specialized training facilities to be provided at the provincial and federal levels. Women’s participation in the fields of agriculture, livestock development poultry/fisheries was facilitated. Access to credit facilities was increased.

4. During the three years (1993-96) of the PPP Government, programmes included.

  • Vocational training programme in the field of secretariat work, computers, communications.
  • Various small projects for women like community welfare centres, dispensaries, eye units, gyne wards, day care centres, industrial home and women cooperative, darul falah.
  • Enhancing women employment avenues.
  • Increasing women literacy rate.
  • Encouraging NGO’s to participate in the welfare programmes of women.
  • Appointment of female judges in judiciary.
  • Setting up of women’s development departments in the provinces.
  • Up-gradation of women’s studies centres at five major universities to full-fledged departments.
  • Setting up of police stations for women (staffed exclusively by women).
  • A human rights ministry was formed to watch and investigate into human rights abuses, particularly those against women. Relief was provided for victims of abuses through the newly created measures for victims of abuses like legal aid centres and burn units in hospitals. A National Committee on women was set up to articulate women’s concerns with special emphasis on political representation and violence against women.