SC orders forensic audit of collections at shrines

Published October 15, 2018
The Nalain Mubarak went missing from the gallery of the Badshahi Mosque some 14 years ago. ─ Wikimedia Commons
The Nalain Mubarak went missing from the gallery of the Badshahi Mosque some 14 years ago. ─ Wikimedia Commons

LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered forensic audit of the use of `Chanda’ (donations) at different shrines in Punjab.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar issued the order while hearing the case pertaining to use of donations at different shrines in the province at SC’s Lahore registry.

Speaking to Auqaf officials, the CJP remarked that people donated their hard-earned money to shrines but “you people were doling it out without any proper usage.” The prosecutor told the court that Rs 820 million were collected at shrines in Punjab. The CJP said the money should be used for providing better facilities to visitors.

The prosecutor said that the donation money was spent on paying salaries and pensions to the employees of the shrines.

The CJP inquired who was the minister of Auqaf. He was told that the government had not yet appointed minister and the director general was heading it. He asked the Aukaf secretary when he last visited the Data Darbar shrine and what measures he had taken for its betterment.

The secretary replied that he had visited Data Darbar six days ago and they were looking into different issues.

Orders formation of JIT to recover missing relic

The CJP again inquired from secretary about his visits to other shrines during the last six months. Rejecting official report, the CJP ordered forensic audit of donations spending.

JIT: Hearing another case, the CJP ordered formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising three members to probe into alleged theft of Nalain Mubarak (shoe) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the gallery of Badshahi Mosque. The chief justice was hearing an application moved by Pir S.A. Jafri questioning inefficiency of the government authorities to fix responsibility.

The CJP was not satisfied over the report submitted by the Auqaf Department and rejected it.

Secretary Auqaf Zulifqar Ali Ghuman and other officials appeared before the court.

The CJP questioned the authorities was there anything valuable than the shoe of the Prophet which you people could not protect?

The legal counsel for Auqaf told the court that 10 investigations had been carried out till today but nothing could be found.

Additional advocate general told the court that the relic had been taken to Brunei in 2001 for displaying it in an exhibition. After that it was placed in Badshahi Mosque.

Later, some visitors revealed in 2002 that the relic had been missing from its actual place.

Petitioner Pir Jafri had also been filing several petitions at district and sessions court level in past seeking the recovery of the relic. Police, submitting its progress report in those petitions, claimed a lot of progress had been made and different committees were formed under senior officials.

The officials said the investigation had been carried out from different angles but they remained clueless. The petitioner had sought case against 94 respondents, including around 40 police officials, for failing to recover the relic which was stolen in 2002.

On March 5,2014, Rangers Deputy Superintendent Muhammad Sarwar, Lance Naik Noshad Khan and others were interrogated and they said the relic was taken to Brunei under the supervision of Captain Jawad Cheema in 2001.

When the Pakistani delegation returned in September of the same year, they boarded a Ranger’s truck and went to Wagah boarder, adding that the relic was neither brought nor placed at the Badshahi Mosque under their supervision.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2018

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