Seeking an Islamic social welfare state

Imran Khan has pledged in his party’s manifesto to work for establishing an Islamic social welfare state


M Ziauddin July 14, 2018
The writer served as executive editor of The Express Tribune from 2009 to 2014

Imran Khan has pledged in his party’s manifesto to work for establishing an Islamic social welfare state if the PTI wins the July 25 general elections. Khan has also repeatedly vowed to create a state in line with the principles on which the Constitution of Madina was founded.

Imran seems to be drawing his inspiration from the world’s first written constitution — the Constitution of Madina, also known as the Charter of Madina or Misaq-e-Madina drawn up by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shortly after his arrival in Madina in 622 following the Hijrat from Makkah. The constitution formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state in Madina.

One recalls that the August 11, 1947 address of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to the first Constituent Assembly too had seemingly drawn its inspiration from Misaq-e-Madina.

However, this speech of the Quaid was censored by a high state functionary, Chaudhary Muhammad Ali. In Chaudhary’s opinion the speech was in direct conflict with the Quaid’s two-nation theory.

In any case within months of the Quaid’s death on September 11, 1948, the Constituent Assembly passed on March 12, 1949 what is known as Objectives Resolution (OR) with all minority members voting against it. The OR was used as a preamble in the 1962 Constitution of Ayub, but Zia in 1985 made it a part of the ‘restored’ 1973 Constitution.

While no single party appears to be in a position to attain a majority in the upcoming general elections scheduled to be held on July 25, the chances of the PTI led by Imran Khan, according to some political pundits, have brightened. These pundits expect the PTI to bag 92 seats (34%) in the National Assembly and predict a 60% probability of the party forming a coalition government.

This would mean the PTI would be looking around to join hands with forces other than the PML-N and/or the PPP in order to form a coalition government. In that case besides the independents, the PTI would need to woo the MQM, PSP and GDA — all the three are anchored to an ideology known as secular which in essence means worldly wise and not atheism.

This would mean Imran’s idea of launching efforts to set up an Islamic welfare state would need to wait until he is able to sort out the differences between the Quaid’s speech and the OR and obtain a consensus among his coalition partners which would certainly take some doing and some time, even the entire tenure.

But then even if he were to cobble together a consensus among his coalition partners quickly enough for launching efforts aimed at establishing an Islamic social welfare state on the principles of Misaq-e-Madina, more likely than not he would soon come — even without wanting to — into direct confrontation with the very fundamental nature of the state of Pakistan which over the years has per force become a security state.

We are at war with our bigger and more resourceful eastern neighbour. And with our northwestern neighbour we are locked since 1980 into what appears to be a war of attrition. Since around 2007, we have been waging a war against what is called the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. In order to meet the challenge of the third war, we have already launched three military campaigns — Rah-e-Raast, Zarb-e-Azb and the ongoing Rudd-ul-Fasaad. And we are also not at peace with our western neighbour.

We all know wars with neighbours cost a lot. And for countries like Pakistan which suffer from chronic shortage of resources, such wars can only be waged with borrowed money. That we have been doing all these years and that is why we have never been able to spend enough on education, health, housing, transport and agriculture.

So unless these wars are brought to their logical conclusion and that too soon enough, no matter who wins the forthcoming elections, even if it were a coalition led by Imran’s PTI it would find it next to impossible to establish an Islamic social welfare state on the principles of Misaq-e-Madina.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2018.

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COMMENTS (2)

shahid | 3 years ago | Reply " ... until he is able to sort out the differences between the Quaid’s speech and the OR ..." It will be interesting to explicitly state what in your opinion are the differences between the two. ANd please do actually really read the two carefully, and understand what they say before writing an article, instead of relying upon second or third-hand descriptions of the two.
Tuk | 3 years ago | Reply This is just an election slogan to cash the religious vote bank who may not like IKs personal life choices.
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