LAHORE - Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his resolve umpteen times to make Pakistan a Madinah-like state. Nothing may be more satisfying for the citizens of the Islamic republic that came into being in 1947 in the name of Islam.

But what is very shocking is the fact that more than a year into power, he is still groping in the dark and unclear what he should do to actualise his commitment.

In China while addressing China Council for Promotion of International Trade on Tuesday, he said he wished he could follow the example of Chinese President Xi Jinping and send 500 corrupt individuals in Pakistan to jail.

“One of President Xi’s biggest crusades has been against corruption,” he said, adding he had heard that some 400 “ministerial-level people” had been convicted on charges of corruption and put behind jail in the last five years in China.

He was referring to Xi’s ferocious anti-corruption drive launched in 2012 that reportedly netted more than 1.3 million officials at various levels, from the elite to the ordinary.

Even jails are no longer deterrent because convicts enjoying facilities

“I wish I could follow President Xi’s example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail,” remarked the premier, saying unfortunately processing [cases] in Pakistan was “very cumbersome”.

He counted corruption as one of the biggest impediments to investment in a country. The sense of helplessness expressed by the prime minister has raised a question as to what is that he needs but doesn’t have it. Ostensibly, he has all powers that he needs to make Pakistan a Madinah-like state.

The only thing lacking is the use of those powers – which he has failed to do during the past 13 months.

A quantum jump will be made towards achievement of this goal if the menace of corruption is controlled. Claims made by the government functionaries notwithstanding, there is little progress witnessed on this front.

The NAB had proceeded against a large number of people, including traders, businessmen and industrialists on serious charges. But then came an order after which the NAB had to take cases against people back. This means either initiation of cases against them was a wrong decision or they had been let off the hook without any justification.

Going by China’s example, if the murderers and others awarded capital punishment – all behind bars since long - are made to face the gallows, the move will have a deterrent effect on the crime situation in the country. But this is not on the priority list of the government.

Instead of punishing such elements the state is bearing their expenditures in jail. They are being treated like state guests.

As a result, nobody fears the law. Even those involved in heinous crimes believe that they will ultimately come out of the prison.

Without any fear of contradiction it can be said that punishments are not deterrent any more.

Important people convicted on various charges are enjoying facilities in jail. Some are even running their parties from their cells. At the same time they are highlighting their victimhood, holding the PTI government responsible for keeping them in jails without proving any case against them. This situation will benefit the opposition parties and damage the ruling PTI in future.

A jail term served strictly in accordance with the rules and regulations can, and does, reform the convicts. But in the Islamic republic jails are like picnic spots, especially for politicians.

Instead of feeling sorry for not having certain powers, the prime minister should seriously ponder if his government is really exercising the powers it already has. He should get information from Madinah rulers how they treat the criminals/convicts.

They behead in public those convicted in various crimes so that the beholders learn a lesson and stay away from all kinds of crimes.

China is a communist society but has no tolerance for criminals. They decide their cases in shortest possible time and then carry out their sentences awarded to them.

Unless the same is done in Pakistan, it will never become a Madinah-like state.