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.
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