Successive governments had promised to make Pakistan a modern, democratic and progressive Islamic welfare state, according to the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It is, however, unfortunate that they failed to do so. One can say it with certainty that there was no political will to fulfil the commitments and that is why no sincere efforts were made for them.

Keeping this in view, the Pakistan National Forum (PNF) invited leaders of all major political parties to discuss how they planned to fulfil the promises made in their manifestos for the May 11 elections, especially those relating to education. 

Indeed, education is the first step towards any country’s prosperity. So, the allocation of funds for the education sector must be on top priority. In Pakistan, however, the allocation of 2 percent of the GDP for it is merely a joke. In fact, almost all the political party previously at the helm of affairs have never allocated more than this for education. In 2012, for instance, the government allocated just around 1.5 percent for it. It is surely a matter of shame for successive governments to have ignored the education sector in such a blatant manner.

Like the past, in the 2013 polls, all the political parties, including the PPP, PML-N, PTI and JUI, have committed to increase the education budget to 4 percent of the GDP. But the promises made by the leadership of the parties that have already been in power can only be taken with a pinch of salt. Here it is important add that PTI Chairman Imran Khan has recently announced to increase the education budget to 5 percent, if his party wins the general elections.

To put right what was once wrong, it is necessary that people cast their votes sensible and avoid voting into power incompetent and self-centred rulers/representatives, who would, by design, enforce their destructive polices to keep them illiterate and, consequently, push the nation into darkness. Today, the world has become a battlefield in which knowledge is the only power without which no nation can survive.

As a final word, the PNF participants too concluded that the voters hold the key to usher in a new dawn only if they vote for the right candidates, specifically those who commit to allocate no less than 4 percent of the GDP for the education sector, besides wage a war against illiteracy.

    The writer is president of the

    Pakistan National Forum.