Rule of law is immediate challenge, says PM Imran

Published January 17, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a gathering in this file photo. — APP
Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a gathering in this file photo. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has counted the Ehsaas programme, health card scheme and establishment of the National Rahmatul-Lil-Aalamin Authority (NRA) as his government’s biggest initiatives to transform Pakistan into a true Madina-like state and said the most urgent challenge is the struggle to establish the rule of law.

These views were expressed by the prime minister in an article he had written for various newspapers under the caption “Spirit of Riyasat-i-Madina: Transforming Pakistan”, which was released to the media by the PM Office outlining reasons for setting up the NRA and launch of the social security programmes.

The scholarly article from the prime minister, most of which was based on the speeches he had delivered at different gatherings and official ceremonies, came at a time when the government was facing severe criticism due to unprecedented inflation.

“In the light of our ideals, we have embarked on the road to the welfare state with some great initiatives. Despite tight financial means, we allocated unprecedented amount of money to our initiatives such as the Ehsaas Programme which was a social safety and poverty alleviation programme necessary for the vulnerable groups in society,” said Mr Khan. “This was one of our key initiatives towards building a state that cares about the welfare of our citizens,” he added.

Imran highlights social safety, NRA his govt’s biggest initiatives to turn Pakistan into Madina-like state

By far, one of the greatest programmes in history of Pakistan, he said, was the Sehat Sahulat Programme offering citizens universal health coverage. “This is not just to protect vulnerable households from sinking into poverty who often borrow money for medical treatment, but it also leads to a network of private sector hospitals all over the country, thus benefitting both the public as well as the private sectors in the field of health,” he said, adding that just the Punjab government alone had allocated Rs400 billion for this.

“Our Ehsaas scholarship programme would ensure that talented students within the underprivileged and poor strata of society would get a chance to pursue decent education that would augment their chances of getting better livelihoods. This programme combined with all our other scholarships amounts to six million scholarships worth Rs47 billion,” he said.

Mr Khan reiterated that the most urgent of all challenges facing the country was the struggle to establish the rule of law. Over the last 75 years of Pakistan’s history, he said, the country had suffered from elite capture, where the powerful and crooked politicians, cartels and mafias had become accustomed to being above the law in order to protect their privileges gained through a corrupt system.” While protecting their privileges, he said, they had corrupted state institutions, especially those responsible for upholding the rule of law.

“Such individuals, cartels and mafias are parasites who are not loyal to our country and defeating them is absolutely necessary in order to unleash the real potential of Pakistan,” he added.

The premier said if one looked at the world, one could easily witness that most successful states also had the most robust application of the rule of law. “Besides several western nations, one witnesses those East Asian economies that have recently prospered, strictly practised this principle. Japan, China, South Korea are good examples,” he said, adding: “whereas in those nations where rule of law was subverted, seem to be sinking into poverty and chaos. In many countries of the Muslim world, despite the prevalence of tremendous resources, there is less progress, which is attributable to lack of rule of law.”

“Another good example is South Asia. In today’s India, the apartheid rule of law has immediately brought about poverty and countless insurgencies that threaten the union of their country. In Pakistan, not adhering to the rule of law has led to siphoning off of billions of US dollars which has imposed collective poverty on our public. The pattern of politics and development in many countries of Africa and Latin American suggest the same. The so-called banana republics are the way they are because of lack of rule of law.”

The third founding principle of Riyasat-i-Madina, he said, was of an ethical and moral transformation of the people — the concept of Amr-bil-Maroof-wa-Nahi-an-al-Munkar (doing good, forbidding evil).

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2022

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