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Posted On: 26 October 2016 10:22 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:57 pm

Building a modern state: An outline of Grandfather Emir's legacy

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For nearly a quarter century, HH the Grandfather Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani managed to place Qatar among powerful nations characterized by its autonomous decision-making and aspiration for a better future. During his reign from 1972 to 1995, HH the Grandfather Emir founded the country's constitutional, administrative and political system based on science and prudent action as well as sovereignty and independence of decision.

HH the Grandfather Emir, who assumed power on 22 February 1972, began with government reorganization process and appointed the first foreign minister in the history of Qatar, the post assumed by HE Sheikh Suhaim bin Hamad Al-Thani on 23 February 1972.

On 19 April 1972, HH the Grandfather Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani ordered the amendment of the 1970 Constitution. The amended Constitution stipulated: "Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and the Shari'a 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."

In its second article, the amended Constitution said that 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 established a new Shura Council, and empowered the government through adding new portfolios and approved the freedom of press and publication.

The Constitution said that 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 realizing 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.

HH the Grandfather Emir 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.

HH the Grandfather Emir issued a group of decisions in 1972 that help regulate the state's administrative structure. His Highness issued law no. 19 establishing new municipalities. Based on the law, Qatar was administratively divided to five municipalities. They were 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 HH the Grandfather Emir, the Ministry of Municipality, Information and Qatar Petroleum were all established. The Qatari citizen also obtained a number of benefits in wages and housing. 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, HH the Grandfather emir issued decision no. 94 establishing Qatar News Agency (QNA) charged with the responsibility of broadcasting official news and being a window for modern Qatar onto the world.

The Ministry of Defense was also established during the reign of HH the Grandfather Emir, who issued decision no. 2 of 1977. HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani was Qatar's first ever Minister of Defense.

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.

HH the Grandfather Emir also issued an Emiri decree establishing Qatar's first tourism committee which was charged with conducting studies on how to develop the tourism sector and suggest policies and legislations to achieve that goal.

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

HH the Grandfather Emir also issued a number of decisions that reformed the state's administrative structure, particularly in services such as electricity, post, health and education. His Highness was also committed on monitoring markets and applied a strict pricing policy that prevented the manipulation of prices for basic goods. (Source)