The ultimate purpose of the state, for liberal philosophers, is the well-being of individuals. The term Welfare State emerged in the mid of 20th century. For the scholars of 21st century, the ‘Welfare State’ is a buzz word today. Every country calls herself a welfare state but the level of welfare services varies from society to society. There are states where institutional form of welfare is practiced while there are also States where residual form of welfare is practiced. However, the case for Pakistan is a bit different. Pakistan shows the characteristic of pluralist welfare state. In this paper, I discuss the purpose of the State and present four welfare state models, including Islamic model of Welfare State. Finally I present contemporary practices of Welfare States in the world.
Imran Khan vows to make Pakistan a 'welfare state' (Express Tribune October 24, 2010). ‘Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) helping Pakistan become a welfare state’ (Pakistan Today Feb 17, 2011). Pakistan can be made welfare state by acting upon Objectives Resolution (Majid Nizami, The Editor-in-Chief The Nation, Daily The Nation September 25, 2010). These are the good news the readers of the newspapers in Pakistan goes through frequently. Since its independence in 1947, governments in Pakistan has been trying to make the country a welfare state or rather to be more precise an “Islamic Welfare State”. To fulfill this dream the rulers have tried various methods like Basic Democracies of 60s, Nationalization movement of 70s, Zakat and other Islamization measures of 80s. The measures taken during the first half of 90s (i.e. in the era of Nawaz Sharif government) there were some concrete measures taken to make Pakistan a welfare state. For example besides Zakat system of 80s, the initiative of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (www.pbm.gov.pk) was and is still the most comprehensive social welfare programme in Pakistan since independence and until now. General Pervez Musharraf came with a completely divergent model of welfare. His approach was in total negation of the 80s efforts of Zia or 90s measures of Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf used an enlightened moderation approach. He introduced the Devolution of Power plan in 2000 (somewhat like the basic democracies). Musharraf also introduced ‘President’s Rozgar Scheme’ which was directed towards giving employment to the unemployed. The imprint of the scheme still can be seen in the roads and streets of big cities in shape of new Rakshaws (a taxi like vehicle). However, the devolution plan was a failure in total. The current government, since 2008 has taken some much appraised welfare measures like Benazir Income Support Programme (similar to Income Support Programme of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal), and Benazir Smart Card Scheme. The programme in itself is a big step towards a welfare state. However, there are reports that the benefit of the programme is not going to the poor, instead most of the rich and wealthy people are taking benefit from Benazir Income Support Programme and Smart Card schemes. It is obvious from this brief history of welfare in Pakistan that the governments since the independence, has shown the desire to make Pakistan a welfare state. However, the most misfortunate thing for the country is that most of the welfare moves were politically driven. No serious effort or a strong determination has ever been shown by any government to make Pakistan an Islamic Welfare State. The man who tried the Islamic Model is cursed today by the current rulers (due to political reasons). The actual problem with Pakistan is the lack of a proper model of a welfare state. Imran Khan, the president of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, has envisioned a Scandinavian model of welfare for Pakistan. Others may have British model or US model of welfare. In this paper, I discuss various welfare state models in the contemporary world. However, first I will discuss the purpose of the state, which is a...
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