National Democratic Movement (NDM), a new political party under the leadership of MNA Mohsin Dawar, was launched in Peshawar on Wednesday.
The central organizing committee of the party was also announced at the first formal meeting of the party. It includes: Mohsin Dawar as central organizer, Jamila Gilani as information secretary, Muzamil Shah as general secretary, Abdullah Nangyal, Ibrahim Khan, Haroon Bazai, Anwar Sulemankhel, Aijaz Aslam and Tariq Wazir Khan.
“The Central Organizing Committee was formed after extensive consultations held over the last few months with inputs from leaders, friends and supporters involved in the process,” said a tweet on the newly formed Twitter account of the party.
Flag colors – red and black- as well as the party manifesto were also announced at the launch. According to the manifesto, the NDM seeks “to establish a just, peaceful, tolerant and humane society in which citizens enjoy fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and protection of the law.”
Among the NDM’s basic principles is the promotion of a secular federal democratic parliamentary system.
“The state must provide protection and facilities to all religions and beliefs without prejudice, discrimination or interference,” the document reads. “The powers of the state and the government cannot be absolute and they will be bound to respect the fundamental rights of citizens outlined under the Constitution of Pakistan.”
The manifesto also recognizes the historical marginalization of smaller provinces in distribution of resources. “Pakistan is a multinational, multilingual, multicultural and multi-religious country with various units of historical identity and consciousness that must be acknowledged and recognized. Our party will strive to establish a new development agreement between all provinces…the aim of which will be to establish a just system based on equality... and to devise a power-sharing system based on political consensus and a decentralized federal system,” the manifesto says.
Further, the NDM “believes in a true federal democracy in which the center controls four departments: foreign affairs, currency, defense and inter-provincial communications. Any other powers should be approved by the Council of Common Interests. All other powers must be delegated to the provinces.”
The manifesto says Pakistan’s constitution, its democratic system and political processes had been threatened by unelected institutions.
The NDM “believes in a true federal democracy in which the center controls four departments: foreign affairs, currency, defense and inter-provincial communications."
“NDM believes in upholding civilian constitutional supremacy and is committed to devolving decision-making and power to the Parliament and the elected government.”
The manifesto mentions that the NDM is against all forms of discrimination against women and promises special attention towards education of girls in its literacy programme. The party believes that at least four percent of the annual national budget should be spent on education.
The party hopes to “eliminate unproductive expenditure by reviewing spending priorities and will spend maximum resources on education, health and human development.”
According to the manifesto, the party “considers economic self-sufficiency and development essential for the independence of the country. The main objective of the state’s economic policies should be economic development as well as lifting the vast majority of the people out of poverty. Special measures will be taken to promote a policy of direct progressive taxation.”
The party has also made a commitment to young people across the country. “Our party will formulate political, social, economic, constitutional and legal strategies to give the majority of the population of the country, that is the youth, their legitimate role in politics, state and society.”
The manifesto mentions that the NDM is against all forms of discrimination against women and promises special attention towards education of girls in its literacy programme. The party believes that at least four percent of the annual national budget should be spent on education
The manifesto says, “an independent foreign policy will be formulated for the country which will strive for peaceful coexistence with other countries.”
Talking to The Friday Times, a political worker privy to the discussions leading to the formation of the party, expressed enthusiasm at the launch. “This puts us in charge of our political destinies; previously as political actors, we were not decision makers, we followed party lines as is expected of the younger cadre. But now everyone in leadership roles is below the age of 45. It is a different dynamic.”