GRANDFATHER AMIR ARCHITECT OF MODERN QATAR

DOHA, Qatar, – Over nearly a quarter of a century, the Grandfather Amir, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 84, was able to turn Qatar into an influential and prosperous county.

Thanks to his wisdom and the sincerity of men around him, Sheikh Khalifa (ruled in 1972-1995), reconstructed the country’s constitutional, administrative and political system, based on science, prudence, sovereignty and independence of decision.

The Grandfather Amir began with a government reorganisation process and appointed the country’s first foreign minister; a post that was assumed by Sheikh Suhaim bin Hamad Al Thani on Feb 23, 1972.

On Apr 19, 1972, the Grandfather Amir ordered amending the 1970 Constitution.

The amended Constitution stipulated that “Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and Sharia (Islamic law) shall be the principal source of its legislation. Its political system is democratic. The Arabic Language shall be its official language. The people of Qatar are a part of the Arab nation,” the report said.

In its second article, the amended Constitution said, the capital of the State of Qatar is Doha City. The State shall exercise sovereignty on its own territorial land and waters, located within its international boundaries, and may neither relinquish this sovereignty nor cede any part of its land or waters.

In the third article, it said, “The Law shall specify the flag, emblem, decorations and badges of the State, and the National Anthem.” The amendment provided for establishing a new Shura Council, and empowered the government through adding new portfolios and approved the freedom of the press and publication.

The Constitution said, the foreign policy of the State is based on the principles of strengthening international peace and security, by means of encouraging peaceful resolution of international disputes, supporting the right of peoples to self-determination, not interfering in the domestic affairs of other states, and cooperating with all peace-loving nations. Working on realising the goals of the constitution, which stressed the importance of education as a right to all citizens that should be provided free in all its stages.

Qatar University was established in 1973. The university was one of the most prominent reflections of development in the state post-independence.

The Grandfather Amir paid special attention to study abroad missions and issued a number of decisions regulating it in 1976. The regulations all aimed to promote study abroad in scientific, artistic or practical studies, whether by obtaining a degree or training to deal with any shortage that is required for public interest. These regulations applied to students or employees to help them gain the necessary skills and transfer expertise from abroad to the State of Qatar.

The Grandfather Amir issued a group of decisions in 1972, that help regulate the state’s administrative structure. He issued Act No. 19 establishing new municipalities. Based on the law, Qatar was divided into five administrative municipalities; these are Al-Rayyan, Al-Wakrah, Al-Khor and Al-Thukhaira, Umm Salal and Al-Shamal. Mesaieed was added in 1990.

In the first year of the rule of the Grandfather Amir, the Ministry of Municipality, Information and Qatar Petroleum were all established.

The following years saw signs of the administrative reform taking shape in the establishment of Qatar Monetary Agency (now Qatar Central Bank), the audit bureau and the civil aviation authority.

In 1975, the Grandfather Amir issued Act No. 94, establishing QNA, charged with the responsibility of broadcasting official news and being a window for modern Qatar onto the world.

The Ministry of Defence was also established during the reign of the Grandfather Amir, who issued Act No. 2 of 1977. The Father Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was Qatar’s first ever Minister of Defence.

A reformation of the Advisory Council took place in 1990, 19 members were appointed and 11 former members maintained their positions.

The work of the country’s audit bureau was regulated to allow it to audit the performance of all government authorities, in line with the government’s budget.

In 1980 there was a qualitative leap, in terms of the number of expats and the development of the state’s administrative system, which required providing different kinds of education to citizens and residents. June 6, 1980, saw the first law that regulated the work of private school to deal with this development.

The Grandfather Amir also issued an Amiri decree, establishing Qatar’s first tourism committee, which was charged with conducting studies on how to develop the tourism sector and suggest policies and legislation to achieve that goal.

Over the following 15 years, the Grandfather Amir issued dozens of legislation that aimed to improve the lives of citizens and residents. Such efforts included establishing health centres and a committee for treatment abroad, among other services that aimed to provide social welfare.

The Grandfather Amir also issued a number of decisions that reformed the state’s administrative structure, particularly in services such as electricity, post, health and education.

He was also committed on monitoring markets and applied a strict pricing policy that prevented the manipulation of prices for basic goods.

Source: Nam News Network

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