With less than ten days till elections, Pakistani politics is hot molten lava. Every party is on a rampage to proveits worth, while hurling mud at others. On July 25, Pakistan votes again. But who should we vote for as citizens of Pakistan? Is this merely an exercise? Or will it decide the future of our country, our next generations? Whether you are voting for Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) or any other political party, your vote will define what you want for Pakistan. Make sure you vote carefully, responsibly, and with sound judgement. I would urge all of you to read the manifestos of all parties for the upcoming election and make your decision wisely. An election manifesto is known as a published verbal declaration that outlines the ideology, vision, motives and targets of the party which they plan to achieve after assuming power.The election manifestos are the essence of a party’s campaigning strategy. In every democratic nation, election manifestos have been regarded as an essential primary document of the political parties. Political experts argue that a manifesto is a promise of a political party with its people before elections and later it acts as an instrument to measure its performance. They are a meaningful source of information regarding a party’s position on a wide range of issues. Starting from economic development, energy and ranging to social and cultural issues, election manifestos outline the policymaking strategy of every party and what they aim to achieve over the course of the next five years. However, it will be prudent to say that these manifestos also contain grandiose ambitions aiming to target as many voters as possible. Nevertheless, election manifestos still provide a tangible means for voters to decide who to vote for,thus making the election manifesto an important document for the voters to help them decide their votes accordingly. In Pakistan, there is a general culture of not reading the manifesto of political parties. However, in this term, a great deal of stress is laid on the manifestos by the political parties themselves and the media, with PPP being the first one to unveil their manifesto followed by the PML-N and PTI In Pakistan, there is a general culture of not reading the manifesto of political parties. However, in this term, a great deal of stress is laid on the manifestos by the political parties themselves and the media,with PPP being the first one to unveil their manifesto followed by the PML-N and PTI. This year, manifestos were released with their own attention-grabbing slogans. The PPP manifesto was launched by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari titled “BB ka wada nibhana hai Pakistan bachana hai” (We have to fulfil BB’s promise and save Pakistan). PPP’s manifesto pledges to eradicate hunger, spur economic growth, rebuild democracy, promote peace throughout the country and foster harmony between different institutions of the state. Political experts argue that a manifesto is a party’s promise to its people before elections and later it acts as an instrument to measure its performance. They are a meaningful source of information regarding a party’s position on a wide range of issues PML-N unveiled its manifesto with its own eye-catching slogan “Vote ko izzat do-khidmat ko vote do” (honour the vote, vote for performance). PML-N,which has ruled the country for the last five years, offered a comparative analysis of their performance and have pledged that the party will focus on energy, CPEC, education, developing socio-economic zones, health system for all irrespective of one’s income bracket and employment if they come to power after the 2018 general elections. PML-N also made apromise of eliminating poverty by 2030 in its manifesto. On the other hand, the PTI manifesto titled “Road to New Pakistan” consists of seven detailed chapters in which Imran Khan visualises his goal of turning Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state – a model that is also followed in Scandinavian countries. Moreover, PTI has made a bombastic statement that it will be creating 10 million jobs and five million homes in their five-year term coupled with a focus on health, education and strengthening the official institutions. With just a few days to general elections, my fellow Pakistanis, the 2018 election result will set a precedent for the future of Pakistan and where we see our country in the next five years. Read all manifesto carefully. See if any align with your vision for Pakistan. Respect your vote and identify the power of your vote. The writer is a Research Analyst who holds master’s in International Political Economy from the University of York. She can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, July 21st 2018.