NOC-issuing body for worship places, seminaries inactive

Published February 25, 2015
A mosque— AFP/File
A mosque— AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: During the last two years, the city district government never registered any mosque, seminary, imambargah or a worship place of any other religion.

There is a committee, led by the district coordination officer (DCO), which issues a non-objection certificate (NOC) for the establishment of the worship places and seminaries. However, the committee never held any meeting during the last two years and the number of illegal seminaries and mosques kept on increasing.

According to information obtained from the city district government, 362 seminaries, 160 mosques, 16 imambargahs and 11 churches are registered with it.

Under the rules, the NOC is necessary for the construction of a seminary or a worship place. Before issuing the NOC, the committee examines the site and gets consent of the local people. It also takes action against any illegal construction.

A senior official of the city government told Dawn that the local administration faced problem when the government sought the details of seminaries and mosques and other worship places registered with it.


Committee led by DCO never met during last two years


He said the home department asked the Special Branch to submit details of the illegal seminaries, mosques and other worship places in the district. A number of illegal seminaries and worship places were constructed on the border of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. But the border is not defined and the local administration failed to take action against the illegal constructions.

“Seminaries are mostly being constructed on Adiala Road, Chakri Road and areas near Tarlai, Chattar, Shahzad Town and Bhara Kahu. In the downtown areas, new constructions have been made around Benazir Bhutto International Airport,” he said.

He said after the new wave of terrorism, the government formed special committees for the checking of seminaries of all schools of thought. “But the authority to issue the NOC for the establishment of new seminaries or worship places is still with the local administration,” he said.

“In Rawalpindi, 11 special committees have been formed which are led by an inspector of the counter-terrorism department. The committees comprised a revenue official (Patwari), representatives of traders, Special Branch and the police,” he said.

“For the registration of seminaries and worship places, the local administration is not taking any initiative,” he said.

Despite repeated attempts, DCO Sajid Zafar Dall could not be contacted for comments.

However, Aqeel Khan, senior administration officer of the city government, admitted that the committee, which gave approval for the opening of new seminaries and worship places, remained inactive for the last many years.

He said the new committees formed to collect the details of funding, syllabus, students and faculty members of seminaries had started work under the National Action Plan.

Published in Dawn February 25th , 2015

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