Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 21st, 2017

A State Should Perform its Functions

While living in a state, the people expect and expect rightly that they should be provided their basic requirements of life by the state and the government. In the modern concept of state, protecting the basic rights of the people and providing them the requirements to live a better life are considered as the basic functions of a state. As a matter of fact, the functions of a state, to a large extent, depend on the end it pursues. There was a time when the state performed very limited functions and was primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order and protection of the country from external aggression.

However, in the modern times the nature of the state has undergone complete transformation. The functions of the state have enormously expanded and it has been transformed into a welfare state, which tries to perform maximum of functions, depending on its resources. The growing popularity of the socialistic ideas and increased interdependence of the states of the world have also contributed to the increase in the functions of the state. However, the functions actually performed by various states differ from each other depending on their ideology and the resources at their disposal.
There are two very important categories of the functions that the states of world require to preform – the Compulsory Functions and the Optional Functions. The Compulsory Functions of a state include; (1) Maintenance of law and order within the country. For this purpose each state maintains a police force and keeps a watch on the disruptive elements. It protects the life and property of the citizens. (2) Formulation of laws and maintenance of law courts to settle disputes amongst individuals and individuals and state. Those who are guilty of violating the law must be brought to book. (3) Protection of the country from outside aggression. For this purpose each state maintains an army. It also tries to maintain friendly relations with other countries through exchange of diplomatic envoys.

Some of the basic Optional Functions include; (1) Regulation of trade and industry including control of coinage and currency; fixation of weights and measures, issuing of trade license, regulations of imports and exports and other matters. (2) Providence of education and establishment and improvement of educational institutions. (3) Maintenance of hospitals and dispensaries and remedial measures to prevent the spread of diseases so that citizens should have healthy lives. (4) Maintenance of works of public utility like the posts, railways, roads, public libraries etc. (5) Promotion of agricultural and irrigation facilities. (6) Provision of social securities; like old age pension, unemployment allowance etc. (7) Raising the moral and social standard of citizens through necessary social reforms. (8) Recreation of the citizens through managing cinemas, radios, parks etc.

Looking at the list mentioned above we can say that Afghanistan needs to do much regarding both the compulsory and optional functions. As a result of decades of instability and socio-economic and political problems, the Afghan people have been suffering from myriads of problems. Though there have been certain important improvements made in the last decade or so, some very concerning issues still exist that threaten the lives of the common people of Afghanistan. There are claims that changes have been brought within Afghan society; however, it should be noted that if the effectiveness of the changes have to be felt or observed, they should be observed by the changes in the lives of the common people. If there is any change in the condition of living of the common people as the outcome of the change; the change should be guarded for and even backed and supported vehemently. If not, either the claim must be discarded as wrong or the efforts should be improved to make the changes effective. And that is what Afghanistan needs to do – it has to improve its efforts to bring about necessary changes in the lives of the common people that have been jeopardized both by insecurity and lack of rudimentary requirements of life.  

Insecurity alone is not the only trouble for the common people of Afghanistan. There are many other problems as well that haunt their lives and make them miserable. Some of the problems are directly linked to insecurity like, people are not able to have access to health and other facilities of life. Moreover, development works to improve the standard of living of the common people are not carried out because of the security threats, thus the desired objectives are not attained in this regard. People, in some parts of the country, are not able to have access to education as well. Schools are shut by force and the school going children are irritated. There have been many cases of poisoning the schoolgirls that have discouraged the people to send their girls to school. So the insecurity is affecting the common people in two ways – it is taking their lives directly, and indirectly, it is keeping them away from the rudimentary requirements of life.

The government is the institution that, on behalf of the state, makes sure that the functions of the state are achieved. The government of Afghanistan, therefore, needs to make sure that the common people of Afghanistan are provided their basic requirements like food, cloth, shelter and security and other important requirements of life like education, health facilities, job opportunities and other facilities.