In a recent statement, former Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the PPP fulfilled 80% of the clauses in the Charter of Democracy.
The Charter was formulated and signed by Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, representing the two major political parties, in May 2006. The Charter established common ground between PPP and PML-N to end more than a decade of conflict, and united them against military rule.
To confirm the statement, Truth Tracker contacted Kaira on telephone and asked about his sources of the information. Kaira said, “I was mistaken when said 80%. The Ministry of Information tracked the Charter of Democracy and the final report revealed that the PPP government got done more than 80% clauses of the charter.”
The document ‘Tracking the Charter of Democracy’ was available at Ministry of Information’s official site and no one challenged it. However, the caretaker government removed the document from the site.
An official of the ministry, who is one of the creators of the tracking document, told Truth Tracker, “We thoroughly tracked the government’s performance and found that 84% clauses of the COD were fulfilled.” Truth Tracker verified this after obtaining a copy of the official assessment showing that most of the 38 clauses of the Charter were fulfilled.
Independent analysis raised doubts about the credibility of the document, which was produced during PPP government, and the basis of Kaira’s statement.
Truth Tracker reviewed the government’s actions under PPP and interviewed analyst Dr. Mehdi Hasan, dean of media and communications at Beacon House University in Lahore and columnist who appears in leading English-language newspapers and on television.
Hasan said that the PPP government wrongly claimed success on the following clauses:
- Party-based local bodies system: The government introduced legislation and brought the local government under the provincial assemblies but failed to hold local government elections anywhere in Pakistan. The Charter promised holding local polls within three months after the general elections.
- Access to information: The charter promised full public access to information from government bodies. Although access improved under PPP, there are still limits on access to records and reports – for example, from the army, superior judiciary, law enforcement agencies and special commissions.
- Defense budget: The complete defense budget is not yet tabled before the parliament. The PPP did include some defense allocations in the past several budgets, but they were not complete information.
- Economic and other policies: PPP failed to come up with economic policies which helped the poor, and good governance on law and order, education and health issues. The economic policies they did develop did not have positive results; the government failed to provide basic facilities; and crime and terrorism increased, Hasan said.
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas: FATA could not be merged into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. PPP implemented the political parties act in KPK, allowing parties to be active in FATA, but the important step of merging them into the provincial government didn’t happen. The tribal areas are still administered by the federal government.
- ISI and other agencies: The ISI and other intelligence agencies are not directly accountable to the elected government. PPP summoned the chief of army staff and ISI’s director general to appear before parliament regarding the Abbottabad incident, but ISI and army are generally not accountable to the National Assembly.
Hasan said in his view the PPP fulfilled only around 60 percent of the clauses of the Charter.
Doing the math, we agree with this calculation – 26 of 38 clauses fulfilled = 68 percent.
The assessment document acknowledged that the previous government could not fulfill six clauses:
1) Establishing Truth and Reconciliation Commission
2) Establishing Commission on Kargil
3) Establishing National Democracy Commission
4) Establishing Commission to scrutinize lands allotment to persons and institutions
5) Creation of Federal Constitutional Court
6) Women’s seats allocated according to numbers of votes gained by parties
The additional six clauses cited by Mehdi should be included in the list of unfulfilled clauses. The conclusion is that the PPP fulfilled 68% of the Charter clauses – about two-thirds. However, acknowledging the progress on two-thirds of the Charter, we rate Kaira’s statement as mostly true.