The PILDAT Annual Report 2012-2013 covers the period from July 01, 2012 to June 30, 2013 . During the year, PILDAT has continued the focus of its activities upon review of the public policies relating to vital national issues.
PILDAT initiative on broadening and deepening public discourse on civilian and Parliamentary oversight on Defence continued during the reporting period. PILDAT worked closely with major political parties on developing well-defined defence and national security policies and to outline those in greater clarity and detail in their respective manifestoes.
The PILDAT Dialogue Group on Civil-Military Relations approached the new Government to sensitise them on effective democratic oversight on Defence and National Security. The Group’s Recommendations on revising Pakistan’s National Security structure were sent to the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on June 12, 2013. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, who is also member of PILDAT Dialogue Group on Civil Military Relations, was appointed as Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs.
Achiveing free, fair and transparent elections in Pakistan have been a key area of PILDAT’s focus for the past 12 years. In a long standing demand, PILDAT and its Citizen Group on Electoral Process had been asking the ECP to provide public access to disclosure and declarations made by the electoral candidates. PILDAT’s long-standing demand of the inclusion of the office of the President in the Draft Code of Conduct was included by the Election Commission of Pakistan. On Feburary 21, 2013 PILDAT welcomed the decision by the ECP to make electoral candidates’ data online. In February 2013, PILDAT was also invited by the European Parliament to present its perspective on the prospects of Pakistan’s General Election.
Enhancing Parliament and Provincial Assemblies’ Role in the Budget Process has continued to be an area of focus of PILDAT’s work during this year also. One of PILDAT’s long-standing demands for reform was fulfilled in January 2013 when the National Assembly passed an amendment in its rules to empower Standing Committees to scrutinize their respective Ministry’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year before the same is sent to the Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Federal Budget.1
PILDATcontinued with its initiative of assessing democracy in Pakistan, which continued to receive media attention and coverage. PILDAT interacted with leadership of the country on the basis of findings of its evaluations to generate democratic reform.
With the successful conclusion of Chief Minister Bihar’s visit to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore from November 09-16, 2012, PILDAT’s vision behind facilitating this visit stood fulfilled. Peace and Friendship for Good Governance , as PILDAT envisioned a year earlier and extended invitation to Chief Minister Bihar to visit Pakistan, are the way forward for improving deepening Pak-India relations. While PILDAT has and continues to facilitate a Parliamentary Dialogue between Pakistan and India on issues including Kashmir, Siachin, River Water, Tourism and Trade, among others, we envisaged that beyond the countries’ capitals, the conversation must also include experience sharing on good governance and on basic public issues including Education, Health, Poverty Eradication, and Right to Services. After the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, it was logical that experience sharing on Good Governance must take place at the Provincial level, reservoir of power in Pakistan.
During the period of 2012-2013, PILDAT facilitated a number of Workshops and Briefing Sessions to raise Polio awareness among Parliamentarians. An All Parties Conference (APC) was facilitated by PILDAT which was joined by 13 political parties of Pakistan, who considered Polio as a national security threat. Separate Briefing Sessions with major political parties of Pakistan were also held to ensure that Polio Eradication be included in every political party’s manifesto. As a result of the advocacy meetings, parties including the PML-N, the PPPP, the PTI, the MQM, the PML-F, and the QWPaddressed polio eradication as a critical plank of their pledges on health.
These initiatives and other modest contributions of PILDAT this year in strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in Pakistan are being shared with you through this report. We look forward to receiving your support and your feedback, as always.