A welfare state is determined by the type of government, if the government provides services for the welfare or well-being of its citizens entirely then it is known as a welfare state. Such a government is a part of the lives of its people at every extent. It caters to the physical, material and social needs rather than the people catering to their own needs.
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 includes education, housing, sustenance, health services, unemployment insurance, days off for sickness or injuries, additional income in special circumstances and equivalent wages through price and wage controls. Other services that a welfare state provides include public transportation, child care, social public goods like public parks and libraries, and other such goods and services. Some of the services provided could be funded by government insurance programs or taxes collected by the government.
Hence it could be said that the final purpose of a welfare state is the well-being of citizens. This term actually came up in the 20th century. For the scholars of today’s world or the 21st century it is more of a common used word. Almost all countries identify themselves as a welfare state but the actual level of welfare services provided varies from country to country. There are countries where the institutional concept of welfare is practiced and countries where the residual concept of welfare is practiced. With regard to Pakistan, it is a little different; it shows attributes of a pluralist welfare state. The Islamic welfare state has been proposed to be practiced by many past leaders that have come and many that are about to come, however there is still 30 percent of the population that lives under the poverty line and little is shown to be done by these leaders to come through on their promise.
Imran Khan (Candidate in the Presidential elections of Pakistan) has promised to make Pakistan into a welfare state according to newspaper headlines and the current president’s Benazir Income support Program is supposed to aid Pakistan in becoming a welfare state. According to many Pakistan can be made a welfare state if it acts according to the objectives resolution – this is another newspaper article, citizens of Pakistan and readers are given hopes of Pakistan being a welfare state every day. Since 1947 the governments of Pakistan one after the other has been known to be trying to make Pakistan a welfare state, more specifically an Islamic Welfare state.
To make this so called dream come true the leaders have tried to implement a few 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 are successful for a temporary period and then their results seem to fade away. More efforts are required by the government to improve the standards of living of its citizens; measures should be implemented permanently and should not be a temporary phenomenon.