I was completely bowled over by the emphasis Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan laid on serving the deprived and oppressed sections of Pakistani society. There was nothing with which I disagreed. If he and his government implement his vision of a new Pakistan, we should all support him. I say this as a Swedish citizen of Pakistani descent. The Swedish Welfare State has been the most advanced experiment in creating a society in which people are simultaneously equal and free. Those who work hard and contribute are rewarded reasonably and those who are weak and need help of society are provided succour. The Swedish model is currently under great strain and threat because of unbridled neo-liberal capitalism and globalisation weakening the state but it remains sturdy and solid thus far. Did Swedish Social Democracy and the welfare state learn its lessons from the State of Medina? The answer must be: no. This is a myth fostered by some individuals. Since I live in Sweden and retired as professor emeritus of political science from Stockholm University, I speak with authority on this subject. I checked with my colleagues, who are more learned on this subject and was told that no such connection exists. The roots of the Swedish social democratic movement are within the overall socialist movement which emerged in Europe in the wake of the excesses of the industrial revolution which created a rich overclass and a huge mass of impoverished workers, which included women and children working up to 18 hours a day in the most unhygienic conditions. Was the State of Medina founded by the Holy Prophet and consolidated by his first four successors an impressive experiment in good government, transparency, frugality of the life style of the rulers and supremacy of the rule of law? The answer is: yes. The only worthwhile material production of Medina and Mecca were dates. It was jihad and successful conquest of the Persian Empire in the east and the Byzantium Empire in the west by the State of Medina which filled the coffers of the treasury. Hazrat Abu Bakr introduced equal distribution of maal-e-ghaneemat to all Muslims; Hazrat Umar modified that and introduced a graduated scale of welfare distribution with a basic guarantee for each and every resident of Medina. Even non-Muslims could benefit from state welfare. Hazrat Usman is alleged to have favoured his relatives and clan of Banu Umayya, but he himself led a simple life and was a very generous supporter of the Prophet. Hazrat Ali was an exemplary ruler whose rule was marred by rebellions and civil wars. When Sunni Muslims look back upon that period they are fascinated by the achievements of the State of Medina. Of course, like everywhere else the story is always an eclectic one and different views and perceptions exist on it. In a state founded on the two-nation theory and Muslim nationalism with an overwhelming Sunni majority, the ideational framework within which it must address its laws, constitution and social policies and reforms must be the State of Medina. Pakistani liberals and a section of leftists who think that Jinnah wanted a secular state are the victims of a combination of wishful thinking, arbitrary reading of his speeches, suppressing those which contradiction their illusions. Those of a fundamentalist persuasion too indulge in massive distortion of the legacy of Jinnah. The roots of the Swedish social democratic movement are within the overall socialist movement which emerged in Europe in the wake of the excesses of the industrial revolution which created a rich overclass and a huge mass of impoverished workers Let me say that Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah could have partnered a novel experiment in the building of a twentieth century emulation of the State of Medina without the partition causing the biggest destruction in human lives in the subcontinent in the form of more than a million deaths and 12-14 million uprooted from their homes. It also left one-third of Indian Muslims in India and it was Gandhi and Nehru who prevented their expulsion to Pakistan. Had they let it happen Pakistan would collapse under the weight of 35 million refugees soon after it was founded. In a forthcoming book I give all the details of what happened, how and why. 71 years later Imran Khan in his speech referred to Gandhi’s model of the State of Medina. I have already quoted Gandhiji on it in an earlier article in Daily Times. Gandhi considered the conduct of the state of Medina by the Prophet, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar the best model of what he thought was Ram Raj: an ideal government based on justice and fair play to all. I am convinced that Imran Khan is sincere. When he spoke about widows and street children and the poor in general, his emotions were vividly visible on his face. He means well, and he will do his best to make Pakistan a welfare state which he believes his leader and mentor Jinnah wanted. Will the Garrison State, my term and concept of describing the Pakistani state, called by others as the Deep State and State within the State, let him proceed with his agenda of egalitarian change and peace? That remains to be seen. If what he said what just an exercise in histrionics, then we have another Khan who reigns the over hearts of Pakistanis just as the Khans of Bollywood do over the hearts of Indians. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. I think we who claim are public intellectuals should give the new Prime Minister a fair chance to prove his mettle and sincerity. COAS Gen. Qamar Bajwa seems to be an educated and informed head of the Pakistan Army. If he and his men give Pakistan a chance, they will gain the gratitude of the wretched of the earth whom Imran Khan wants to serve. We should always be ready to help the government if it serves the people and expose it if it does not. But to sit in judgment on it even before it has had the chance to make good its promises is unwarranted, it is unscientific, and it is unethical. Pakistan, I have always argued, has to find its way within a framework of an Islamic state. In its best form it can be an almost secular state with some fundamental Islamic provisions or it can be the type of state which the Mullahs in Iran and the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia have created. It remains to be seen if he will be able to pursue the goals and objectives he enumerated. Zero corruption, greener Pakistan, health insurance for the poor and quality education in government schools. He also said he wanted friendly relations with all neighbours and peace in Pakistan. All these ideas are very close to my heart. I wish him success, great success. The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Visiting Professor Government College University; and, Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has written a number of books and won many awards, he can be reached on email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 21st 2018.