August 28; PILDAT has welcomed the constitution of a Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), terming it as a much-needed right step towards strengthening of public policy think tanks in the party.
On August 25, 2017, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Mr. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari constituted a committee within the party naming it the Foreign Relations Committee (FRC).[Source: Dawn] With Senator Sherry Rehman its Convener, the committee comprises 10 members of the party, namely Senator Saleem Mandviwala, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, Ms. Fauzia Habib, Mr. Matloob Inquilabi, Ms. Palwasha Khan, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Mr. Imran Nadeem and Senator Fateh Muhammed Hasni.
As a think tank working to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions, PILDAT has always advocated that political parties must strive to develop internal think tanks to systematically develop party positions and policies on important national issues. In March this year, PILDAT designed and delivered specific one-day courses for each of the three largest political parties of Pakistan, including the PPP, with the aim of underscoring the importance of strengthening their capacity to internally analyse, deliberate and formulate public policies in an effective and democratic manner.
PPP had earlier adopted PILDAT Course Recommendation on Party Think Tanks at a meeting of its Central Executive Committee (CEC) held in Naudero, Sindh in April 2017.[Source: Dunya News] A coordination committee was established to formulate party’s election manifesto for 2018. Senator Sherry Rehman and Senator Farhatullah Babar were named coordination committee members by the party head.
PILDAT believes that one of the most important functions of any political party is its internal capacity of policy-making, which it is able to do by gathering public opinion and devising ways to resolve issues faced by the country. While PILDAT greatly appreciates PPP’s timely initiatives on some of the most crucial matters, it is hoped that through these internal party units, the party will be able to broaden its base of policy discourse and be able to effectively use these forums to ensure democratic dialogue and inclusivity in policy formulation.
PILDAT also hopes that Pakistan’s other political parties also develop and strengthen their capabilities in order to be able to produce evidence-based policies and create mechanisms for inclusive and democratic decision-making.