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
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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.”


Acting Pentagon chief not decided yet on funding US-Mexico border wall

Updated 17 February 2019
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Acting Pentagon chief not decided yet on funding US-Mexico border wall

  • President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the US-Mexico border without congressional approval
  • Within hours, the action was challenged in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Texas landowners

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT: Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.
President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the US-Mexico border without congressional approval.
A US defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Shanahan was likely to approve the $3.6 billion being redirected from the military construction budget.
By declaring a national emergency, Trump can use certain Department of Defense funding to build the wall.
According to the law, the defense secretary has to decide whether the wall is militarily necessary before money from the military construction budget can be used.
“We always anticipated that this would create a lot of attention and since moneys potentially could be redirected, you can imagine the concern this generates,” Shanahan told reporters traveling back with him from his trip to Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe.
“Very deliberately, we have not made any decisions, we have identified the steps we would take to make those decisions,” Shanahan said.
He added that military planners had done the initial analysis and he would start reviewing it on Sunday.
Officials have said that the administration had found nearly $7 billion to reallocate to the wall, including about $3.6 billion from the military construction budget and $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction fund.
The US defense official said Shanahan would meet with the service secretaries in the coming days to pick which specific projects the money should come from.
Shanahan said that planners had identified the different sources of money that could be used, but he had not decided specifically what projects it would impact and ultimately it was his decision.
“I am not required to do anything,” he said.
Shanahan said he did not expect to take money away from projects like military housing.
Poor standards of military housing were highlighted by recent Reuters reporting, which described rampant mold and pest infestations, childhood lead poisoning, and service families often powerless to challenge private landlords in business with their military employers.
“Military housing, what’s been interesting- I’ve received a number of letters, I’ve had lots of feedback, do not jeopardize projects that are underway,” Shanahan said.
“As we step our way through the process, we’ll use good judgment,” Shanahan said.
The Republican president’s move, circumventing Congress, seeks to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a border wall that Trump insists is necessary to curtail illegal immigration.
Within hours, the action was challenged in a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Texas landowners.
“We are following the law, using the rules and we’re not bending the rules,” Shanahan said.