ISLAMABAD: After almost 35 years of its construction, the Saudi government is expected to provide funds for the renovation of Faisal Mosque in the federal capital, which has not seen any major repair work over the past three decades.

This was revealed as caretaker Interior Minister Gohar Ijaz visited the mosque along with Saudi envoy Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki, Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Anwarul Haq and others on Monday.

In 1966, King Faisal Abdul Aziz visited Islamabad, and an international competition was held for the selection of the mosque’s design, which was won by a Turkish architect, Vedat Dalokay. In 1976, its foundation stone was laid and the building was completed in 1988. Now, after more than 35 years, the mosque, frequented by worshippers and tourists alike, requires renovation.

Sources said that the Saudi government through its embassy wanted to get the repair work started as soon as possible, adding that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would likely be signed between the interior ministry, the CDA, and Saudi Arabia soon.

According to sources, the mosque was not renovated after it was built in 1988 and currently, its parking lot as well as toilets are in bad condition. There is also a need to improve its air-conditioning system as well as electrical works.

Saudi envoy, caretaker minister visit mosque

According to Gohar Ijaz, he had decided to approach the Saudi envoy after he offered his Friday prayers at the mosque and found out the mosque direly needed a facelift and there was a need to make it more beautiful.

Mosque’s caretakers

The CDA is in charge of the mosque affairs while the Islamic International University Islamabad, another project of Saudis in Islamabad, is in charge of the management and relevant affairs.

The CDA has been doing small-scale repair works at the mosque, however, The CDA officials said that the civic agency had been doing “necessary maintenance through its funds and the funds provided by the federal government, which were meagre for its proper maintenance”.

According to the CDA officials, the mosque was constructed with funding from the Saudi government, and at least $45 million was spent on this project.

The Saudi government had provided over $28m for the construction. “Once again, Saudi Arabia has shown interest in this mosque, which is indeed a great gesture,” said an official of CDA.

Besides helping repair and renovation work of said mosque, the Saudi government is also planning to construct a grand mosque in the IIUI for $32 million, which will also serve as a “hub for research”. This was revealed by the IIUI President Dr Hathal Homoud Alotaibi, who hails from Saudi Arabia, in a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa in November last year.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Unchanged rating
Updated 29 Feb, 2024

Unchanged rating

Unchanged Moody's rating underscores that fears of default will continue unless a new, larger loan agreement is reached with the IMF.
Silenced voices
29 Feb, 2024

Silenced voices

THE state suddenly seems to be acting more loyal than the king as far as respect for the judiciary is concerned. The...
Gwadar deluge
29 Feb, 2024

Gwadar deluge

GWADAR has been battered with severe rains — the worst since 2010 — with both the town and Ormara to its east ...
Democracy damaged
Updated 28 Feb, 2024

Democracy damaged

The reserved seats controversy could have been avoided had the ECP by now decided whether SIC deserves them or not.
Misplaced priorities
28 Feb, 2024

Misplaced priorities

THE federal government’s filing of a petition with the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking to overturn an Islamabad...
Killing jirgas
28 Feb, 2024

Killing jirgas

ANOTHER day and another chilling story unfolds in Kohistan. The jirga institution, declared illegal by the top ...