Pakistan PM’s vision for the future based on KSA’s past

Imran Khan, on the first day of the World Government Summit in Dubai. Madinah, inset, “paved the way” as one of the greatest civilizations in history, he said. (AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019

Pakistan PM’s vision for the future based on KSA’s past

  • Imran Khan said Saudi Arabia created one of the first welfare systems
  • The Pakistan PM said reforms can be painful, but are necessary

DUBAI: Pakistan needs a welfare system to help lift those most in need, the country’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan said on Sunday.

Speaking at the opening day of the World Government Summit in Dubai, Khan said the country was in need of reforms.

“We must have a welfare state,” he said. “Policies of the state must lift people from the bottom and, most importantly, we must start a reform program. It is essential if we have to get out of our current problems.”

He said his motivation for Pakistan was based on Medina in Saudi Arabia, which he said laid the foundation of one of the greatest civilizations in the history of mankind with principles that “paved the way for the next 700 years.”

And he said he wanted to see Pakistan’s future based on the same example,

“It was founded on incredible principles of justice and humanity,” he noted. “It was the first time a welfare state was made, and it took responsibility for the weak. It was the first time pensions were created and it was a humane state.”

Speaking about the Islamic faith, he touched on the importance of the rule of law.

“All the top scientists were Muslims for the next 700 years thanks to the foundation laid by Medina,” he explained. “Then, (there was) the way minorities were treated, and how other religions were protected.”

This led to the growth of the Muslim civilization, Khan said, which he said was the basis for Pakistan and the key to its rise in the future.

Khan joined politics in 1996, following a career in cricket where he said he learnt that “you only lose when you give up.”

He formed a government in 2013 and started spending on social areas such as health, education and climate change.

“Reforms are painful,” he said. “But Pakistan now has a chance, and we feel this is the time Pakistan will take off.”

But he said it was also vital to allow businesses to make money.

“We worked on the ease of doing business in Pakistan and we changed our tax laws, as part of a series of reforms,” he explained.

“Already, we see signs of the country improving but, most importantly, Pakistan has the best tourism potential and we are currently opening sights for religious tourism as well.

“We have also opened our visa regime and we are opening up the country – we want an equitable growth.”

Former Pakistani PM Abbasi arrested by anti-graft agency

Updated 18 July 2019

Former Pakistani PM Abbasi arrested by anti-graft agency

  • Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested in a case over a liquefied natural gas terminal project
  • Arrest adds to a political scene already thick with accusations of corruption and abuse of office
LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency arrested former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday, drawing a furious response from opposition parties, which accused the government of trying to silence its opponents.
The National Accountability Bureau said in a statement Abbasi had been arrested in a case that was opened last year over a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project.
The arrest, as Abbasi was on his way to a news conference in the eastern city of Lahore, adds to a political scene already thick with accusations of corruption and abuse of office with opposition parties planning a day of protest next week.
“I believe today is yet another black day in Pakistan’s history,” Ahsan Iqbal, a senior parliamentarian from Abbasi’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, told reporters, accusing Prime Minister Imran Khan of trying to suppress opposition.
“We are not afraid of your fascist acts. Don’t think that you will gag our voices through such arrests,” he said.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the head of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the other main opposition party, condemned Abbasi’s arrest which he said was part of a government “witchhunt” against elected representatives.
The PML-N was already engaged in a bitter standoff with Khan’s government, which came to power last year accusing Abbasi and his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, of large-scale corruption and mismanagement of the economy.
Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court in 2017 over accusations that eventually led to a seven-year jail sentence for receiving undeclared income. Abbasi took over as premier and served for less than a year before losing an election to Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in 2018.
The PML-N accuses the government of being behind Sharif’s arrest and last week produced video footage that it said showed the judge who heard the case confessing that he had been blackmailed to ensure a conviction.
The judge denied the accusation but was sacked from his position with the Accountability Court.
The government has rejected opposition accusations of using the National Accountability Bureau, an independent body, to suppress its critics and opponents.
It says corruption by past governments is the main reason for an economic crisis that has forced Pakistan to seek a $6 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund, its 13th IMF bailout since the 1980s.
Last year, the NAB ordered an inquiry against Abbasi, Sharif and others “for granting a 15-year contract of LNG terminal to a company of their liking in violation of rules and by misuse of their powers, which caused national exchequer a loss of billions of rupees.”