Imran Khan's welfare state: Coming soon

"Change is imminent” says Imran, but then he has been saying that for a while - so what can make this time different?

Freeha Shaukat October 29, 2010
There may actually be a practical solution to Pakistan’s runaway train of insane problems.

Perhaps Pakistan should become a welfare state.

“Relentless plundering by the rulers has pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy…and innocent people are being killed in return for a few dollars”

-Imran Khan

“By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes

Economist John Maynard Keynes was a proponent of welfare states in his General Theory. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden and Canada have adopted and implemented diverse forms of this socio-economic theory and practice to varying degrees of success and difficulty.

M.A. Jinnah alluded to the term 'welfare state', Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto pledged to provide roti, kapra and makaan to citizens and Imran Khan has recently claimed that he would create a welfare state if he ever comes into power. He may be able to actually collect the taxes required to drive a welfare state because he is a tax payer, with all declared assets actually invested in Pakistan.

What does a welfare state mean?

Forging a welfare state requires providing a guarantee of three principle elements as identified by Asa Briggs:

  • a guarantee of minimum standards, including a minimum income;

  • social protection in the event of insecurity; and

  • The provision of services at the best level possible

The question is how?

If the current government, that is generally ensconced in notions of its own welfare will not act, then we need a change of power through mid-term elections.

Many politicians who are of course in the opposition, are currently anti status quo. Intellectuals dream of transformation and the general Pakistani public just wants something - (anything!) - that is different. Thanks to the media, or some of the more responsible parts of it, there is a prospect that future elections will be issue based.

“Change is imminent” says PTI leader Imran Khan, though granted that he has been saying this for a while.

He is suggesting an upcoming campaign of civil disobedience to drag in the change that should have happened eons ago.

According to Imran Khan, now that the media and judiciary are independent, the next step is for the election commission to become autonomous. It has to be linked up with the Nadra database.

Each year 4 million youth reach the hallowed age of 18, where in a country of few rights, they, as well as other nameless members of society can vote. It would eradicate crimes that are committed anonymously by those who dodge the system…A CNIC should be compulsory.

Fortunately though, in these unfortunate times, political parties are mobilizing at the grassroots level. In the end who to vote for is a very personal choice, but voting gives us a fresh start in terms of ideas, causes and systems -independent of any personality, but attached to something every individual needs – an ideology.
Freeha Shaukat Director of strategic communications for the Ehsaas Foundation in Islamabad, she studied marketing and advertising communications at Emerson College in Boston. She is a communications consultant for corporate media
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