LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed a bill to establish an institute to conduct research on Quran and Sunnah to find out workable solutions to the problems being faced by the present day society.

Headed by the Punjab chief minister, the government will establish Punjab Institute of Quran and Seerat Studies to provide an enabling environment for undertaking research and publications on the subject.

Through this legislation, the government has proposed to transform the existing Quran and Seerat Complex attached to the shrine of Hazrat Mian Mir into the Punjab Institute of Quran and Seerat Studies.  

The Assembly approved the bill unanimously in the absence of Opposition whose members opted to stay out of the House at the time of its passage despite the fact that they had proposed some amendments to the legislation. The House was visibly lacking quorum when it passed the bill; but no member pointed it out.

The proposed institute has been mandated to admit students, frame and prescribe courses of study; conduct examinations and recruit academic and administrative staff. It shall also prescribe criteria of admission, migration and examination of students who would be facilitated to conduct research on Quran and Sunnah.

Under this institute, research reports and research journals would be published for the promotion and spread of Islamic knowledge. A Qura'n Museum would also be established under the law besides a state-of-the-art modern Islamic library.

The institute would have the powers to affiliate or associate itself with a university or any other local or foreign institution and to establish facilities for the effective discharge of its functions and responsibilities. Holding of national and international seminars and conferences relating to the Quran and Sunnah would also be one of its responsibilities.

The institute would be run by a board of directors headed by the Punjab chief minister as its chairperson while minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs would act as its vice-chairman. Secretaries of Auqaf, Higher Education, Law, Finance, Chairman Higher Education, Vice-Chancellor of the university with whom the institute is affiliated, chairman Punjab Quran Board, chairman Wafaq-ul-Madaris-e-Deenia of all schools of thought and one member of the teaching faculty of the institute to be nominated by the government would be its members besides two members of the Punjab Assembly nominated by the Speaker. Executive Director of the Institute would act as its secretary.    

Meanwhile, the Assembly took up three adjournment motions moved by Sheikh Alauddin of PML-N. In one of the notions, the mover drew government’s attention towards alleged corruption in the Walled City Authority. He pointed out that some officers of the authority had tried to get some fake cheques amounting Rs 90.30 million cashed through fraudulent means under the head of fake bills out of an amount (Rs 700 million) the authority had got from the World Bank as loan. He further informed the House that the fraud was detected by the concerned accounts officers. He demanded strict action against the accused officers. Through a separate motion, Alauddin highlighted the inefficiency of the Walled City Authority, alleging that sewerage system and other infrastructure in the walled city was presenting a scene of devastation. He demanded monthly performance audit of the authority. In his third motion, the PML-N legislator asked the government to streamline the affairs of private schools in the province.

Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani pended further proceedings on these resolutions for some other day to be fixed in consultation with the mover.