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CJP seeks policy on collection of donations at shrines, mosques

Updated November 12, 2018

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CJP says funds are not being used for maintenance of shrines and mosques. — File photo
CJP says funds are not being used for maintenance of shrines and mosques. — File photo

LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered to devise a policy for collection of donations at shrines and mosques across Punjab.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar issued the order at the court’s Lahore registry while hearing a case pertaining to the use of donations being collected at shrines in the province. The Auqaf secretary was present in the court.

The CJP remarked that people were not donating their hard-earned money to shrines and mosques for the Auqaf department to pay salaries to its officials.

“How can you misuse something that is entrusted to you?” he asked.

He said donations worth Rs850 million were being collected at various shrines and mosques and being spent on salaries of Auqaf department officials. The CJP inquired about the whereabouts of the chief secretary and said that if the Auqaf secretary did not want to perform his duty, why he had not left his post.

“The toilets inside mosques and shrines have not been maintained for years, while the donations are being used to pay salaries of department officials,” he remarked.

He ordered to make a policy for the use of donations being collected at mosques and shrines, and adjourned the hearing till next week.

RELIC: The CJP also called all the members of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing into the recovery of the missing Nalain Mubarak (shoe) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the gallery of Badshahi Mosque.

He was hearing an application moved by Pir SA Jafri questioning inefficiency of the government authorities to fix responsibility. The Auqaf secretary and his counsel were present.

At the previous hearing, the court had ordered formation of a three-member JIT to probe into the alleged theft of the Nalain Mubarak.

The CJP remarked that the theft of the Nalain Mubarak was a case of someone’s faith and the authorities had no information of where they had gone.

The Auqaf department counsel told the court that his client had registered a case of the theft, adding that 10 investigations had been conducted, but nothing could be concluded.

The CJP asked the authorities if there was anything more valuable than the shoe of the Prophet. “It is a simple case. Sixteen years have passed but you could not complete the probe into the matter,” he said. The hearing was adjourned till next week.

At the last hearing, the additional advocate general told the court that the relic had been taken to Brunei in 2001 for displaying in an exhibition. After that it was placed inside the Badshahi Mosque. Later, some visitors revealed in 2002 that the relic had been missing.

The petitioner had been filing petitions at the district and sessions court in the past seeking recovery of the relic. The police, submitting its progress report in those petitions, claimed that progress had been made and different committees formed under senior officials.

The officials said an investigation had been carried out from various angles, but they remained clueless. The petitioner had sought registration of a case against 94 respondents, including 40 police, for failing to recover the relic allegedly stolen in 2002.

On March 5, 2014, the then Rangers deputy superintendent Muhammad Sarwar, lance naik Noshad Khan and others were interrogated, who said the relic had been taken to Brunei in 2001 under the supervision of Capt Jawad Cheema.

The officials added that when the Pakistani delegation returned in September that year, the Rangers personnel boarded a truck and went straight to their positions on Wagah border, adding that the relic was neither taken to nor placed at the Badshahi Mosque under their supervision.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2018

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