ISLAMABAD-The International Islamic University Islamabad’s top office has received a complaint that the university’s welfare fund was allegedly misused for sending employees on Umrah, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.

Rector International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai confirmed that the ‘Welfare Fund’ was utilised to send employees on Umrah by the ex-president and university administration will send financial claim to recover funds.  

The documents available with The Nation said that the University Staff Welfare Association (USWA) has written a letter to the Rector IIUI office that few of the employees of the university were sent on Hajj/Umrah lending money from ‘Welfare Fund’ in 2016, however, the funds have not been returned so far.

Application received to the Rector Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai said that recently during examination (of the record) it was observed that in 2016, the previous president of the university (Prof. Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Al Darwish) in a ceremony held had announced sending some of the employees on Hajj/Umrah through his personal sponsorship. Application said that later on the expenses of the (selected) employees were lent from ‘Welfare Fund’, however despite repeated reminders the money has not been returned to the ‘Welfare Fund.’

The application pleaded that university’s Welfare Fund is a joint fund of officers, teachers and other staff which was established for the welfare of employees of the university. It is requested to direct the finance department to return the amount to the ‘Welfare Fund’ without any delay. Officials informed The Nation that in 2016, four university employees including two females of officer cadre were sent to perform Hajj/Umrah and Rs525000 was lent from the ‘Welfare Fund.’

“Practice continued before 2016 as well, however, the 2016 record examination surfaced the matter,” said a senior official. Officials said that it was illegal utilisation of funds as the Welfare Fund was established to help the university employees in time of need.

Officials said that the matter was brought in the notice of previous top administration and it had directed to ‘cover’ the gap obtaining donation from any outside source. Officials said that the university had a policy of sending employees on Umrah, however, the former president had also announced sending people to holy mosques every year from his own resources.

“However, still ‘known’ funds have not been returned to the relevant Welfare Fund,” said the official.

Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Dr. Qibla Ayaz explaining the religious point of view on Hajj/Umrah said that ‘Hajj/Umrah in religion is mandatory for those who can afford.’

He said that the prayer is also not mandatory for one who can go on Hajj/Umrah on his expenses but the finances affects his bread and butter back at home.

About a specific question regarding lending money of an institution from a department for sending people on Umrah and not returning that money, he said “It’s not appropriate.”

Chairman CII Qibla Ayaz said that sponsoring of Hajj/Umrah by institution, country or individual is not wrong, however “lending money from a department is not appropriate in my view.”

Rector IIU Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai responding to The Nation confirmed that funds were deducted from ‘Welfare Funds’ of the university, while the ex-president Prof. Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Al Darwish had announced sponsoring it through any organisation.

“Yes, it was like that. Welfare Funds were used, however, the amount was around Rs200,000,” he said.

Rector IIU said that the finance department will prepare the case and send the bill to ex-president IIU Prof. Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Al Darwish to refund the amount.

He said some of the other cases have been also initiated and this one has been also taken up by the university administration.