ISLAMABAD - The ministry of religious affairs and interfaith harmony has been considering to establish Islamic Education Commission on the pattern of Higher Education Commission (HEC) to regulate religious seminaries across the country.

The Commission would regulate seminaries in the same way as HEC oversees universities.

The Islamic Education Commission would attest degrees and courses offered in seminaries, said Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf. The minister addressing Ulema here at Convention Centre said, “Reforms are the need of the hour in both Islamic and formal education systems in Pakistan.”

To make Arabic a compulsory subject, the ministry has been working with the collaboration of ministry of federal education and professional training and this regard a bill would also be introduced in the parliament, the minister shared. He also invited suggestions from Ulema gathered at the event to introduce Islamic banking system without interest. He said, “The ministry is also planning to establish Quran Complex and Seerat-ul-Nabi Complex for research and publication on the Holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”

The ministry of religious affairs and interfaith harmony held an Ulema Convention on Tuesday for enhancing awareness and evolving consensus for introducing uniform prayer timings in the mosques of the federal capital. Parliamentarians, lawyer forums, Ulema, prayer leaders and assistants of over 957 mosques of the federal capital, representatives of employees unions and trade associations gathered at the convention convened to ensure the implementation of Nizam Salat, according to which Azaan and prayers would be held at the same time across the federal capital.  

The minister said interior ministry has been writing a letter to ask offices and organisations to ensure arrangements for prayer breaks to implement uniform prayer system.

He said in mosques spaces would be allocated for women to offer prayers separately. The minister maintained the consensus had been reached hoping that now all the mosques would follow the prayer calendar prepared by the Salat Committee.

Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for Religious Affairs, Pir Ameenul Hasnat said that implementation of uniform prayer timings was the need of hour. He said that the government was trying its best to promote culture of tolerance and forbearance in the country.

No segment of society would be ignored and input on important religious matters would be ensured from Mushaikh also, he added.

Although the convention was convened to draw consensus among Ulema and prayer leasers, they were not given the opportunity to share their disquiet over uniform prayer timings. Only the federal and state ministers for religious affairs, Salat committee members and representatives of traders spoke during the gathering.

Out of 10-member Salat Committee, 4 members did not show up due to their reservations over sacrilegious statement of Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid in which the minister, according to them, had called the seminaries ‘centres of ignorance and illiteracy.’