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Imran Khan on Islamic welfare state

Published Jul 04, 2012 12:10am


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WE always knew that Imran Khan had or pretended to have right-wing leanings. This image got a bit muggy after the October 30 meeting in Lahore. The youth of the country had finally found a voice with which they could resonate and march towards a liberal and modern Pakistan. Fortunately, this was not an isolated incident and this wave of modernity and hope of a better tomorrow carried on with very successful meetings in Karachi and Quetta.

After the meeting in Lahore, several politicians who have been tried and tested joined Imran Khan’s party. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted to have a bite at the pie. Unfortunately, this has undoubtedly made Imran Khan look vulnerable.

My guess is that the PTI will be lucky to get a few seats the way it is going as it is trying its best to alienate the same youth who were ready to die for its cause.

The latest statement from Imran Khan is: “we want to create an Islamic welfare state.” I thought for a moment that this must have been said by Jamaat-i Islami or Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

Does an Islamic welfare state exist anywhere in the world? There are several models of European welfare states, but not a single Islamic welfare state in over 50 Islamic countries.

A welfare state is one in which the citizens have rights: the right to life, liberty, freedom, speech, religion, equal opportunities, free education, free healthcare, water, power, shelter, employment, etc.

The closest model of an Islamic welfare state was the one run by the Taliban and it was a nightmare for all. Saudi Arabia is no less horrendous. I hope Imran Khan is not hoping to revive such a model. When he makes a statement he must explain what he really means by that. The PTI must clarify these things.



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Comments (66) Closed

stranger Jul 04, 2012 01:42pm
Could you please elaborate what type of Islam are you talking about? We have seen quiet a bit from Afghanistan to Saudi and Malaysia to Sudan and i don't think Islam has solved any problems for humanity.It has failed completely in the hands of the mullah and ignorant followers.And let me clarify this, this is not just about Islam, every religion has failed to solve anything for humanity but religion has become a power tool to subdue others.
Deb Jul 04, 2012 05:38pm
Islam has not solved a single problem faced by any country or groups of people. In fact no religion has the ability to solve problems at the macro level. Its ok for a person to be religious but its suicidal if a state wants to be religious. And Islam being the youngest of all the major religions in the world, has to find the right balance between religion and governance.
Qadiyani_Karim Jul 04, 2012 01:54pm
Khan Jul 04, 2012 11:45pm
I think we are all jumping ahead of what Imran Khan is even thinking of. Did any body ever ask Imran khan directly what he really means by this?
striker12 Jul 04, 2012 11:47pm
rightly pointed out: the so called liberals of pakistan have done nothing for the country such people have an innate allergy to anything "islam" or "islamic" IK has done more welfare work for pakistan than all of these liberals combined together
@SecularPakista1 Jul 04, 2012 11:50pm
Watch out when ever politicians take up religion, flag and country, they are amsking thier own incompetance in solving the real problems. IK has not put forward a single real policy that will affect the Pakistani state or its people positively. Talking in semanticis is fine, but problems are solved through real policy applications. I am afraid he is not the savior or even a politician we can put our faith in. He is more talk than solution.
Zoaib Ahmed Jul 04, 2012 09:19am
The writer seems to be keeping pre-conceived notions about what an Islamic State means. PTI does not take inspiration from the Saudia or the Taliban model at all. Their vision of a "modern Islamic welfare state" is reproduced below: "Pakistan should be a 'Modern Islamic Welfare State' All these four words and there meanings have been described in detail: Modern: Scientifically and Technologically in sync with the world. An economic system which exists with social responsibility where capital is in circulation and not in accumulation Islamic: Non-theocratic in nature, along the principles defined by Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam. Adoption of a code of life which is in harmony with the Quran. Tolerance in Society. Justice for all in all spheres of life and Equal rights for all. Welfare: Equal Opportunites for all. Equitable distribution of resources leading to a prosperous Pakistan with a social net for the poor, gradually eliminating poverty from the country. State: Pakistan as a Sovereign Independent State, identified closely with the problems and issues of the Muslim Ummah. Living in peace with its neighbors. Military subservient to civilian rule. A country with strong independent institutions. A genuine democracy working within the bounds provided by Allah, and then the constitution of Pakistan in its true spirit."
Tanvir Muhammad Jul 04, 2012 09:41am
"A welfare state is one in which the citizens have rights: the right to life, liberty, freedom, speech, religion, equal opportunities, free education, free healthcare, water, power, shelter, employment, etc." Not really. Someone has to pay for them. In Europe and Canada they are paid for from the taxes. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Ahmar Tareen Jul 04, 2012 08:37am
An Islamic welfare state means a state based on the Islamic principles of welfare and wealth distribution. The core principal of it being that the rich do not hoard wealth and are responsible for looking after the poor. The idea of which has been partially adopted in the European world but not as successfully because of the unjust distribution of wealth among the rich and the poor which still plague it today. Please do not confuse the totalitarian regimes of so called Islamic countries to the core principles of Islamic welfare. If you need an example of an Islamic welfare state you can refer to the Caliphates of Rashidun, where wealth was distributed justly and even the poor had a right to decent food and lodgings. The welfare of the people was the duty of the state and the state officials were required to act as servants and facilitators. The PTI does not need to clarify things but we should rather endeavour to educate ourselves about what Islam really is before jumping 20 feet on any mention of it. Don't blame the tools but blame the bad workmen.
Prakash Jul 04, 2012 06:30am
Islamic welfare state is only possible when you have plenty of crude. Otherwise the corruption is so widespread in the Asian countries that a welfare state will only benefit a handfull.
khan Jul 04, 2012 06:23am
go to Europe and enjoy their welfare state.
Ali Jul 04, 2012 05:56am
Khan saheb does not have a magic wand. If at all he does get to the top slot, he too will realize it soon that how difficult it is to administer the masses of such a nation. I bet Khan saheb too will be heading in less tha three years to "The Great Britain" the final destination of all current and previous so called leaders of this hapless nation.
AbuHaaris Jul 04, 2012 05:45am
I think the writer of this article is either extremely confused about his own existence or totally brain washed by the Powerful Media which is predominantly controlled by the West and its allies. He does not know what he is talking about or what does he want. In my opinion, he is just afraid of the word "Islamic" because otherwise he seems to be in favor of the concept of welfare state but he does not want the word "Islam" to be in there. He is justifying his stance by claiming that the Taaliban and the Saudis tried to implement this system and it failed miserably. i don't know what evidence he has about that?? i am sure, it must be the same evidence propagated by the propaganda machine of the west which we have been seeing over the last decade or so. Lastly, he is seeking clarity from PTI regarding its stance over the issue.....In my opinion, the writer needs to figure out his own stance as a Muslim and a thinking individual as to what he stands for? It requires not only Soul searching but also some research about Islam and its concepts. And that goes for all of us.
Muhammad Yaqub Jul 04, 2012 06:52am
The First Islamic Welfare State was established in Madinah tul Munawarah by the Holy Prophet SAW. The beauty of the State was that the Holy Prophet PBUH separated Religion from the State. That is when every citizen had the right to his own religion, life and what not. I guess that was also the last Islamic Welfare State !! Can Imran Khan replicate it? Or even come close to it? Saudi Arabia and all other Muslim States are an example of how not to form a State. Saudi Arabia is not even close to being a Welfare State what to talk of being an Islamic State.
BRR Jul 04, 2012 06:55am
When asked what exactly an Islamic welfare state is, IK, just as most Pakistanis, will have a definition that most others will not agree with, that IK himself will contradict everytime he is asked. It is just a slogan to be bandied about that means nothing.
jameel Jul 04, 2012 07:22am
why are so afraid of the word ISLAMIC the european welfare state is based on islamic welfare state they implement the rights of their citizen while we muslim don't
Junky Jul 04, 2012 04:08pm
The proper term would be "Socialistic state" not Islamic welfare state
hameed Jul 04, 2012 03:14pm
Please name one state that according to you follows "perfect Islam", where ISLAM is implemented wholly?and what do you mean by local cultures and traditions? Even Turkey which is epitomy of progressive Islam has kept Trukish as its language and not borrowed Arabic?rather than being ambiguous please define what your concept of Pure Islam is?
Gerry D'Cunha Jul 04, 2012 07:59am
The latest statement from Imran Khan to create an Islamic welfare state is to get into power by 'hook or by crook' and fool the innocent people of this country who have been fooled many times in the past by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (banning liquor/night clubs) and Zia ul Haq (imposing Islamic laws) - both did not work in Pakistan, but in fact became worse. The author of this article is right in saying 'not a single Islamic welfare state exist in over 50 Islamic countries'. PTI is almost falling apart and has less chance to get seats.
Cyrus Howell Jul 04, 2012 08:15am
Yes, he does seem like a political novice. He does not have the right backers around him to elect him. True. He does appear the political novice. Imran does not have the right backers around him to elect him. He seems to have picked up mixed signals. Suddenly he has no political platform to stand on? The Islamic welfare state did not work for Gamal Abdel Nasser either. Egypt certainly had a surplus of poor people. Hosni Mubarak built Egypt into the IT Center, Financial Trading Center and Transportation Center of the Middle East. It did not create jobs for ordinary Egyptians but it fed the poor by food subsidies. An Islamic welfare state would have to be run by someone like Moktada Al-Sadr in Iraq. Someone completely honest, but not naive. Someone people are ready to follow because they trust him.. The people who get you elected expect to be part of the government. The bulk of Barack Obama's campaign money came from small donations on the internet. He did not owe a lot of "political favor's". In Islamic countries often the women can't leave the house to go out and canvas for the person they want elected. Voting for a candidate is not enough. Unpaid political workers are needed to go out and sell the candidate to the public. To their neighbors, and bring in the vote. If Imran Khan travels around the country talking to people, perhaps the media will start following him. I take it from this article he does not have a big organization. So he needs to make something happen. Big businessmen are not going to fund the election campaign of a person who wants an Islamic welfare state.
Javed Khan Jul 04, 2012 08:18am
The writer is missing the point. The welfare states in the WEST to a greater degree resembles Islamic welfare state. If we could get some where near to general norms of a welfare state, it should be enough for Pakistan. At least some one in the country understands and wish to implement what is required for a welfare state. To equate Imran Khan's vision to those of Taliban is writer's narrow perception.
shaz Jul 04, 2012 02:43pm
Exactly - Whose Islam are we talking here - Shia/Sunni - We cannot celebrate Eid on single day let alone talk of "Islamic Welfare State". This is hilarious
imi Jul 04, 2012 05:51pm
Islam will solve problems for humanity when human beings will try to practice the principles of Islam with full devotion and faith.
Ali Jul 04, 2012 10:09am
Imran Khn has two magic wands, one in his right hand and one in left. One he will wave from North to South and the other from East to West and next morning everything will be all green and milk and honey will start flowing from every nook and corner and all worries of common man will disappear and people from all parts of the worl will start flocking to pakistan to bath in milk and honey. Bravo Khan Saheb
Agha Ata Jul 04, 2012 06:41pm
What is the difference between welfare state like Norway (for example) and an Islamic Welfare State? In what way one is better than the other?
Haseeb Jul 04, 2012 06:43pm
My dear Friend my kindest request to study islam. there is no islamic state based on true islamic principles, these are so called islamic state including pakistan. Dont blame islam for their or your incompetency to follow or understand islam.
caz Jul 04, 2012 08:41pm
The welfare state is a western concept with its roots in social democracy. Muslim societies have feudal despotic political and economic systems.
@zulfieurfriend Jul 04, 2012 09:18pm
But I guess, it is a time that we decide where we want to go, towards Islamic welfare state, or Modren Islmaic welfare state, Secular state, or Lost state
sabi Jul 04, 2012 09:22pm
imran khan seems to be a rebirth of zia,same slogan same people around, same arrogance. so one can easly draw consquences.horrible!!!!!
sja Jul 04, 2012 09:31pm
""""Does an Islamic welfare state exist anywhere in the world? There are several models of European welfare states, but not a single Islamic welfare state in over 50 Islamic countries."""" The few should be Muslim Welfare states based on this premise, SA, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, and Brunai bank with UK and USA. The rates of exchange are based on their wealth deposits.
Junaid Jul 04, 2012 08:58pm
Right on Yaqub Sahib. I am glad I do not have to repeat what you said. Right on. Also, Mr Munir makes the age old mistake of citing Western examples of Welfare states as the ONLY welfare states. Such comments should be made with history in perspective. European models are relatively new and may not withstand the test of time. The point is that we are looking for a Pakistani solution, not a European one. We will create our own welfare system. PTI, btw, has clarified these issues multiple times, but one must LISTEN to be able to know that.
Junaid Jul 04, 2012 09:00pm
What else does Pakistan need? Do tell.
taranveer singh Jul 04, 2012 09:29am
Pakistan need people like you salman.
Qadiyani_Karim Jul 04, 2012 01:59pm
Too much Christianity or Too much Islam is always bad for a country. The western world started progressing only when the Renaissance happened and they started taking religion much less seriously. Syed Fraz (above) wrote the following: "The best possible solution of problem to humanity is ISLAM. Implement it wholly in every aspect of life and you will see the results. The closest model mentioned in the are not wholly ISLAMIC but rather more of a blend of local cultures and traditions. So don't mix them with ISLAM. " Sorry the above paragraph shows the exact kind of thinking that is keeping us backward.
Amir Jul 04, 2012 09:24am
I can't believe a muslim would be against an islamic welfare state. Appalling what journalists sometimes write!
Razwan Ghumman Jul 04, 2012 08:24am
Problem with Imran Khan is that people not hatting him are polarized and have high demands. Followers of other political parties are of die hard nature. This polarization and demanding nature of individuals backing IK is The biggest if not the only source of strength for Status quo.
Mohammad Jul 04, 2012 09:04am
I would appreciate if Imran Khan is really interested to create a real Islamic state as we took Independence that we will be a Islamic state and unfortunately since then we are struggling by all mean ( food, shelter, power, education etc etc) If we look Caliph period we can easily say that everything was on equality basis other than anything else and merely if we look Taliban ruling time before American invasion into Afghanistan, I am not reluctant to say that they have done a great job to implement Islamic laws during their tenure but I wish that we could have same Islamic law as we cannot succeed in our life without implementing Islamic laws. I would kindly request to all our Pakistan people to change their activity into a good manner in order to re-shape your society as Quran Karim " whatever your AMMAAL Allah will impose a Ruler according to your AMMAL (daily activity) if good then you will have a good ruler otherwise you have now, you better decide.
Razi Jul 04, 2012 09:06am
And u must listen to him more often rather then jumping on your pen to express your frustration. But I bet you are the kind that doesn't want to be bothered. According to you PTI is trying its best to alienate it youth support & u of course you would have an explanation for the popularity in the recent polls of IRA and PEW? According to me ... you don't know what you are talking about!
sabi Jul 04, 2012 10:35pm
imran khan seems to be a rebirth of zia,same slogan same people around, same arrogance.
observer Jul 04, 2012 05:08am
The earlier PTI distances itself from religious political parties, the better. But how can Imran Khan let that happen? He is in politics because of his very personal reasons (his psychological lack of willingness to be led, his eternal superiority complex, his personal inflexibility, his inability to follow anyone's discipline but his own, etc.). His mother probably came from some tribal area of Pakistan and therefore tribal sensitivities are also a part of his personal values. In this confused mix of influences, Oxford graduate Imran Khan found it convenient to flock with the right wingers. Yet, unaware urban youth of Pakistan has pinned their hopes of change to this man. Weird. Unlikely to be fruitful. Quite tragic actually.
Reality Jul 04, 2012 08:24pm
Excellent and realistic comments
Syed Fraz Jul 04, 2012 04:59am
The best possible solution of problem to humanity is ISLAM. Implement it wholly in every aspect of life and you will see the results. The closest model mentioned in the are not wholly ISLAMIC but rather more of a blend of local cultures and traditions. So don't mix them with ISLAM.
mir aftab javed Jul 04, 2012 04:55am
Islamic welfare state is nothing more than a catchy slogan and thus by this token Imran Khan has joined the rank and file of hypocrites a very good vote bank - almost 99percent in Pakistan's population.
Adeel Jul 04, 2012 04:57am
Bit of an ignorant article. I support Imran Khan's view. Having an Islamic state should be the long term aim otherwise wo are we kidding by chosing a muslim name, greeting each other with Asalam Alekum, Fasting and going for Umra/Hajj. Agree on the point that it will be a long term process as our society currently has mutated into something difficult to understand or manage. Apart from the silly ''Oh Islamic state means no fun and everyone wears a burkha'' point. What we need is true, honest, cheap and quick Justice for all, full protection and respect for women and minorities and a government that serves not turns into a parasite. It creates an environment where logical, open minded, tolerant discussions are allowed and all point of views are respected. So let's stop this alergic, knee jerk reaction to everytime someone says Islam or an Islamic state and start understanding what our religion really says and stands for i.e. not laze around listening to random people's interpretations but actually make the effort, do the research and see what good, valuable examples we have in Islamic history of good governance.
Maroof Alam Kashkoli Jul 04, 2012 12:49pm
Was Afghanistan a welfare state under Taliban? I don't think it was or they ever claimed it. A welfare state is a welfare state. Like the word 'Islamic' doesn't suite with 'welfare state' so doesn't the word 'European'.
Ahmed Noor Jul 04, 2012 01:23pm
No one had heard of "state capitalism" or a "socialist market economy" before DengXiaoPing implemented it in China. And China seems to have done rather well. A state's system should be suited to the population and culture its implemented on. Failure or success for any system lies in its implementation and administration. While China thrived in Leninism, but a similar regime in neighboring North Korea has brought nothing but repression. The Taliban and Saudi Monarchy were repressive regimes wrought with bad administration, the system has nothing to do with it. The reason people support Imran Khan is because they see a capable administrator in him, and not because he proposes a "welfare state".
Chodhary Jul 04, 2012 01:28pm
couldn't agree more... well said.
Nadeem Qadri Jul 04, 2012 01:31pm
Waste of time
Syed Bokhari Jul 04, 2012 01:31pm
Well done Mohtaram Adeel, I fully support your views. We have not understood what Islam stands for & have always projected it wrongly.
Tanvir Jul 04, 2012 02:39pm
If one is afraid of a Islamic Welfare state, why don't they try the European or the American, Canadian, or the American Welfare state model in Pakistan. After all, they are all designed to help the have-not poor and destitute with an end objective that is in line with the Islamic welfare concept. If a good Islamic concept is followed by the West, it is considered good, but if it is suggested for Pakistan, It is too religious and unacceptable! When would the Muslim nations start appreciating and adopting the Islamic conceived Western Welfare model the way they follow the Hollywood entertainment model? Is helping the poor to live a respectable live a crime? May be the Muslims are afraid of the taxes they will have to give to sustain a welfare system. Again, the Western welfare system also runs on taxes. Don't you all like the Western ways, so why not adopt the Western welfare and tax system, just like the Hollywood culture?
Pakistani Voice Jul 04, 2012 02:38pm
At least Imran Khan has guts to stand up and speak for his people. It is much more than all our leaders in last 65 years who have only looked after their bank balances and did not give a damn to the poor people of Pakistan. Khan is trying to fulfil the dream of our Qaid and we should all support him in doing that. It may not all come overnight but at least someone is willing to take the first step, so let stand by him and start building an Islamic Pakistan. and less of this negativity please!
Shah Alam Jul 04, 2012 02:36pm
What does our religion really say about a state. If you look at the Quran, it is completely silent about the kind of state that should be implemented. In fact, this was the major problem after the Prophet's death, and it was an audacious ijtihad by Aubu Bakr and omar that led to what is referred to as the Khilafat. In fact, the majority of arabs felt that there was no need of a state of any kind and that they were quite happy with their previous, tribal mode of life. The only thing that united the muslims of this period was the prospect of conquest and the resulting booty. This superficial unity fell apart in less than 20 years resulting in a horrendous civil war and slaughter of the kind that the mongols would have been proud of. So please read a bit of Islamic history before you start pontificating about the obligations of muslims and reciting nauseating cliches that have resulted in a disaster every time someone tries them out.
Khurram Jul 04, 2012 12:15pm
I think what he meant was less like Taliban and Saudi Arabia, and more like present day Turkey.
S haroon Anjum Jul 04, 2012 11:32am
Islamic welfare state is the only option, but Imran Khan definitively need to explain what does he means by Islamic welfare state. Haroon Islamabad
Saeed Jul 04, 2012 11:22am
If Europeans can have a welfare Tate why can't an Islamic country? If Imran says he wants an Islamic welfare state why do the so called liberal elite,(who have done nothing for this country incidentally) take umbrage? We re after all an Islamic Republic, just haven't provided any welfare, thanks to the capitalist that are our leaders. Why the extreme views, when has he said that he will follow the Taliban route? Why this fear mongering? Why should the youth, the disenfranchised and hopeless, the millions of uneducated children, the poverty stricken masses not have a ray of hope? Even if it is the shape of Imran and an Islamic welfare state. Why can't an Islamic state nit be a welfare state with all freedoms and opportunities you have mentioned. Or is it only the right of the west to enjoy those freedoms. When has Islam for that matter denied these rights to the people. I would suggest humbly suggest that you read your history, Islamic history and the Islamic religion itself before you freak out.
Zoaib Ahmed Jul 06, 2012 10:28am
Perhaps not. But it will be MUCH better than what it is today. Good luck :)
Zoaib Ahmed Jul 06, 2012 10:22am
Someone rightly said (I believe it was Asad Umar) that our educated class is EXPERTS in telling us how something cannot be done.
Zoaib Ahmed Jul 06, 2012 10:20am
It's not a western concept at all. The first welfare state was under Caliph Omar (RA) way before any of the western welfare states.
Farhan Jul 05, 2012 12:58am
Prophet Muhammad pbuh did not separate Religion from State. He was not secular. He imbibed the Islamic Principles into the law where the non-muslims had their rights as well and it was implemented in letter and spirit. In Islam there is no fact it is a way of life and imbibes the rights of people according to Allahs law.
sharif Jul 05, 2012 01:33am
As far as welfare of the citizens is there and fully benefited,give it any name i dont mind.
Ali Jul 05, 2012 03:53pm
Common misconception. Eid was NOT celebrated on one single day across the Muslim Ummah even in the time of the prophet Muhammad and the four caliphs. There was and is no such requirement. Very sad that we don't read about our own religion. Why do we place such a heavy burden on ourselves when our religion does not do that? In fact the quran itself claims that Islam is a religion that makes life easy for us.
Faraz Jul 05, 2012 05:28am
I like your name more than your comment.. Kashkoli saheb!
Ali Jul 05, 2012 03:26pm
Excellent. hahahahahahaha
N.A. Jul 05, 2012 07:24am
Well said. I completely agree with your views.
Magus Jul 05, 2012 07:55am
Its easy to create a Pakistani welfare state. Once dual nationality is allowed in the Senate all or most people enjoying welfare from UK, US Europe etc will rule and rest will escape to these welfare states for their welfare. There you have a Welfare State!
NOOR ALAM Aug 16, 2012 10:38am
Most of the things is possilbe in the world but needs good faith and good intention of heart,works for the welfar of others not only for own interest etc,make most of things possible. First of all Islam has supported the rights of human. we should to observe the life of Arab peoples before Islam,they burried their daughters alive and were fighting each other on little issues etc.No one wanted to rule on them.but when the became on right faith of Islam then we observe them. Liberty and freedom etc should be in limit and controll and when a thing is out of controll then controlling of that is difficult or impossible then that country or state facing most hurdle and difficulties in future and comes that country to downfalling. Because human beings are not happy on same status for ever. so we should to study the history of Islam. But when we observe the western life of styl most of the Islamic qualites found in them,just like sincere with their duties and state etc.Because every one knows good and bad but unfortunatly some work only for own interest not for others. Muslims countries downfalling are due to not studyin the teachings of Islam and history.