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Prime Minister Imran Khan says he desires a welfare state like that of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) within the seventh century. Many Pakistanis wish to imagine him and in a Riyasat-i-Madina. At a preparatory assembly forward of the Prophet’s birthday, Khan announced the creation of the Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority (RAA) and appointed himself its patron-in-chief. This organisation, he mentioned, would deliver the purpose nearer.
How RAA will obtain its mission is unclear. What actions can be certain that the Prophet’s message of equality lives in each Muslim’s coronary heart? Finish Islamophobia within the West? Everybody understands why fuel and electrical energy authorities, or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), exist. However what can an ‘authority’ named after the Prophet do?
Khan’s reply: as soon as he appoints a spiritual scholar as head (the search has already begun) the RAA will monitor college curricula, test social media content material, ferret out blasphemers, and organise analysis in universities for spreading the true message of Islam. President Alvi has now signed the required ordinance.
What a moist squib! No college textbook in Pakistan — even science ones — is exempt from rigorous spiritual censorship. For the information media, a number of monitoring organisations exist already. As for researching the Prophet’s life: let’s have extra. However didn’t we find out about Musawaat-i-Muhammadi in our college days and of the Prophet’s sense of justice? RAA’s function is plainly political, not spiritual.
Khan’s RAA speech urged precisely this. At first he spoke passionately like all spiritual preachers do (his laudations of Winston Churchill and British courts have been exhausting to fathom) however shortly switched to politics. After pillorying his predecessor and decrying electoral fraud, he made a pitch for electronic voting machines. Smuggled in between was a reference to Caliph Hazrat Umar as having (twice) sacked his valiant basic, Khalid bin Waleed, though the final by no means misplaced a warfare.
The continuing Khan-Bajwa tiff on the ISI DG’s successor suggests some implicit messaging right here: I’m the boss and generals higher obey me. Even when Khan is true right here, utilizing a spiritual event for a political function is improper. Two worlds that rightfully must be stored aside are conflated right here. Numerous power-hungry politicians in historical past have exploited faith, promising folks the moon however delivering precisely nothing.
Guarantees of Riyasat-i-Madina have additionally introduced nothing — besides guarantees adopted by nonetheless extra guarantees. To paraphrase Marx: when you may’t feed the lots, attempt opium. The 2021 UNDP report particulars how Pakistan has gone oppositely. Wealth disparities have massively multiplied. Elite teams, says the report, have captured the state and turn into richer. A staggering $17.4bn was given within the type of subsidies to the navy, company sector, feudal landlords, and the political class. Amongst others, the Fauji Basis and Military Welfare Belief are actually tax exempt.
The report concludes: “The poorest and richest Pakistanis successfully stay in utterly completely different nations, with literacy ranges, well being outcomes, and residing requirements which might be poles aside.” It wryly notes that these doling out privileges obtain the identical. This may very well be a veiled reference to the wealthy males who encompass PM Khan right now. When UNDP offered its report back to him in April, he and his cupboard promised to have a look at it. Finish of matter!
Khan desires a welfare state, proper? Effectively, right here’s methods to make it:
Specialists estimate the market worth of Pakistan’s actual property round $300-400 billion. But the declared worth is round $16-20bn, 20 occasions decrease! Let the reader analysis Wikipedia for the declared worth of properties owned by Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Musharraf or Asif Ali Zardari and evaluate these to their true market value. All are sincere males.
Step one: arrange an authority (not RAA) to correctly estimate the present market worth of city and rural properties owned by each citizen. Add to this his/her earnings plus different objects of value held each inside and out of doors the nation. As soon as a good image emerges, tax the wealthy exhausting however the center class sparingly. Does this occur in different nations? In some, sure, in others, no. Can it occur in Pakistan? In all probability, however the system might go right into a tailspin. If this can’t be accomplished, say so. However if you happen to don’t plan to even attempt then please cease promising.
Khan has pledged many times to interrupt the again of Pakistan’s thieving elite. However his universe of unhealthy guys stops at political opponents or solely barely past. Excluded are generals, PTI stalwarts, feudal lords, property builders, bankers, and the super-rich offered they pledge fealty to him. Maybe he realises that the one approach to keep on prime is to work with the forces he as soon as pledged to remove.
You wish to cease Islamophobia? Right here, sir, is how to do this:
Don’t squeeze non-Muslims in Pakistan additional. Most have escaped the nation whereas others wait in line. As an alternative of countless ‘analysis’ from the RAA, merely implement the Quranic injunction: la ikraha fi-din (there is no such thing as a compulsion in faith). In the present day even a 13-year-old (or youthful) Hindu or Christian woman may be kidnapped and legally transformed to Islam. A parliamentary committee has rejected the anti-forced conversion invoice. Europe’s Islamophobia might be higher dealt with by getting this invoice handed as an alternative of threatening to expel the French ambassador — after which shying away.
PM Khan has emphasised the youth’s “ethical degeneration” in each different speech he offers. However are Pakistanis divorcing extra typically, marrying much less, or dressing extra liberally? Removed from it, contends Lums professor and sociologist, Umair Javed. In comparison with earlier a long time, statistical knowledge suggests extra life-style conservatism right now and extra overt religiosity. Whether or not this has made Pakistanis extra sincere in private dealings or kinder and extra law-abiding is for the reader to evaluate.
As an alternative of crying that the skies are falling and demanding extra ethical policing, a Pakistani chief ought to focus upon the nation’s financial misery, poor high quality of training, large youth unemployment, continual lack of ability to create know-how and, now, political isolation after the Taliban victory (which the world sees as Pakistan assisted). Creating the bogey of ethical decay and giving pretend options to a non-existent downside gained’t ever make Pakistan a welfare state.
The author is an Islamabad-based physicist and author.
This text was initially published in Daybreak on 23 October 2021. It has been republished right here with permission.
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