I am about to highlight an issue on which most of us would not normally dare to write, perhaps for fear of being declared as ‘ infidels’. This is regarding unauthorised construction of mosques on state lands. In a well planned city like Islamabad there are specifically earmarked plots in each sector and subsector for mosques and yet one still finds a number of mosques illegally constructed on green belts, government land and compulsory open spaces along the nullahs. I am sure the situation is same or perhaps worse in other towns, rural areas and along the highways.

Construction of these holy places normally starts with a small room and then within a short period of time it is converted into a hall, then a madressah and eventually a full-fledged mosque cum mudressah can be seen. At a place not very far off from my residence, it all started with a ‘kutcha’ room along the nullah bed and then over a period of three years now you see a proper mosque spread over 4 kanals. Apparently neither the police nor the local municipal authority (CDA) has ever bothered to find out as to why this mosque has been constructed on the compulsory open space along the nullah. It has also been observed that once these structures come up in full and that too in a short time, it becomes a case of ‘ fait accompli ‘ for the law enforcers. There is also no shortage of donors. As Muslims we would like to donate generously for this holy cause.

Before concluding I must say that as a Muslim I have an utmost respect for our holy places. It really pains me to see some of these houses of God being illegally constructed. I would request any Muslim scholar to educate us whether prayers at such places will be answered or not? Recently the PM has formed a committee to formulate rules for administration of madrassahs throughout the country. May be this is also the time to look into unauthorized construction of mosques and madrassahs on state lands and frame rules accordingly.

CDRE(R) SAJJAD ALI SHAH BOKHARI,

Islamabad, September 17.