A welfare state is determined by the type of government, if the government provides services for the welfare or well-being of its citizens, then it is known as a welfare state. Such a government is a part of the lives of its people as it caters to the physical, material and social needs of its people. The main objective of a welfare state is to essentially create social and economic equality and to ensure fair standards of living, fair access to justice, freedom of faith and speech and complete transparency in decision making of officials and executives.

The services that the welfare state provides include education, housing, sustenance, health services, unemployment insurance, days off for sickness or injuries, additional income in special circumstances and equivalent wages through wage controls. Other services that a welfare state provides include public transportation, child care, social public goods like public parks and libraries, swimming pools and other such goods and services. Some of the services provided could be funded by government insurance programs or taxes collected by the government.

Imran Khan (candidate in the Presidential elections of Pakistan) has promised to make Pakistan into a welfare state. The current Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), which is supposed to aid Pakistan in becoming a welfare state, remains far from the truth. Since 1947, the governments of Pakistan, one after the other, have been known to be trying to make Pakistan a welfare state, more specifically an Islamic Welfare state but no one has achieved any such thing. The PPP run BISP is more like dole money given out as beggary rather than welfare.

To make this, so-called dream come true, many leaders have tried to implement different methods to achieve this, like the democracy of the 1960s, the nationalization of industries in the 1970s and the Zakat and other Islamization practices in the 1980s. In the 1990s under the rule of Nawaz Sharif there were some concrete steps taken like the creation of Pakistan's Bait-ul-Maal - in other words a detailed social welfare program. However these efforts were successful for a temporary period and then their results seem to fade away. A clear and transparent system needs to be made where the common man really gets state owned welfare such as all developed countries are using.

The concept of a welfare state was introduce by the Muslims but has been adopted by everyone except for Pakistan, proving that the efforts our forefathers made in getting a separate Islamic state has brought no relief to the common man but has opened doors for corrupt and dishonest people who have robbed the state and the common man.

M. OSAMA AFNAN HANAFI,

Karachi, April 27.