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.”


Bangladeshi courts freeing child suspects due to virus risk

Updated 55 min 4 sec ago

Bangladeshi courts freeing child suspects due to virus risk

  • On Friday, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh stood at 60,391, with 811 deaths
  • About 400 children have been granted bail in recent weeks and more than 300 of them have already been reunited with their families

DHAKA: Authorities in Bangladesh have been releasing hundreds of children suspected of committing mostly petty crimes as they try to keep the coronavirus from spreading in overcrowded detention centers, officials said Friday.
The orders for their release on bail came from virtual courts set up by the country’s Supreme Court with the help of UNICEF, officials said.
About 400 children have been granted bail in recent weeks and more than 300 of them have already been reunited with their families, said Natalie McCauley, chief of child protection at UNICEF in Bangladesh.
She said the decision came as public health experts said children living in the country’s detention centers face a higher risk of getting infected, mainly because of overcrowding and poor conditions.
Bangladesh has a protracted system of delivering justice, with some cases for petty crimes taking years to conclude. According to UNICEF, some 23,000 cases involving children under 18 are currently pending with courts across the country.
Saifur Rahman, a special officer of the Supreme Court and additional district judge who is involved with the release program, said the program was crucial as with inadequate staff and utilities in detention centers, it was extremely difficult to minimize the risk of infection from COVID-19.
“In all fairness, maintaining social and physical distancing is next to impossible in such a situation,” he said.
Mohammed Rakib, 15, was accused of beating a man in Dhaka nearly two months ago. A judge from a regular court denied him bail and he was eventually sent to an overcrowded detention center just outside Dhaka that UNICEF says houses nearly 700 children even though it has the capacity for about 300.
Late last month he was finally granted bail through the new virtual court.
“It feels great to be freed and get united with my parents,” Rakib told The Associated Press on Friday. “I am very happy. I have suffered in the jail a lot. That’s a bad place.”
The reunion was special for Rakib and his family as they were able to celebrate the end of Ramadan together.
“His mother burst into tears after seeing our youngest son,” said his father Mohammed Abdul Hakim. “It was a moment of joy. We love him a lot.”
On Friday, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh stood at 60,391, with 811 deaths. Public health experts say the actual number of the infected people is likely much higher.