ISLAMABAD: In order to implement uniform prayer timings in the capital, ministry of religious affairs has approved a proposed draft “Unified Timing of Azaan and Prayers Act 2018”, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The approval came during a meeting on Tuesday chaired by Minister of Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf.
In April 2015 the ministry took the initiative to implement uniform prayer timings aimed to promote sectarian harmony and to eradicate political differences among prayer leaders of the same sect. However, the ministry failed to implement unified prayer timings as there lacked a proper law.
The ministry on Tuesday gave a final approval of the draft which will be sent to the interior ministry for its input and then it will be sent to the cabinet division for the final approval, explained an official of the ministry. During the meeting, the clerics of the city also endorsed the proposed law and assured their full cooperation.
According to the draft of the act, available with Pakistan Today, the government will ensure the publication and distribution of Azaan calendars in all mosques of the city and in this regard a monitoring committee will be constituted for the implementation of the law after the approval from the National Assembly.
The monitoring committee will comprise of a convener, a secretary ex-officio members and not less than four members appointed by the government under the act.
Islamabad chief commissioner and Auqaf deputy administrator will be the convener and secretary of the monitoring committee respectively while the minister of religious affairs, chief commissioner and Islamabad metropolitan cooperation mayor will be the ex-officio members of the committee.
The government by a notification in the official gazette will appoint persons from all sects as other members of the monitoring committee for two years.
Similarly, the proposed draft says that one-third of total members will constitute the quorum and the meeting of the monitoring committee will be held quarterly to be chaired over by the convener or in his absence by any member nominated by the government.
According to the draft, whoever fail or refuse to comply with the provision of section 6 of the act will be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for the term which may be extended to six months and with fine which may be extended to Rs5000 or with both. Similarly, if a person is guilty of an offence under subsection (1) fails to pay the amount of fine such amount shall be recovered from him as arrears of land revenue.
Moreover, the monitoring committee will undertake an inquiry and investigate into any violations of the act, either own its accord or upon a complaint from any person.
“No court under subsection (1) shall take cognisance of any offence under this act except on an application made by any member of the monitoring committee,” said the proposed draft.