Event Title: Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament Lodges Islamabad
Event Date: 2023-02-22
The Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs convened on Wednesday at Parliament Loges. Presided over by Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri; members present included Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Senator Gurdeep Singh, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Sajid Mir, Senator Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Senator Danesh Kumar and senior officers from Ministry of Religious Affairs along with all concerned.
Matters discussed included the Publication of the Holy Quran (Elimination of Printing and Recording Errors) (Amendment) Bill, 2022; details of expenditures incurred on Gurdawara Punja Sahib, Hassan Abdalby ETB, Hajj Policy 2023; report published in a local newspaper on distortions in translations of the Holy Quran.
Deliberating over the Holy Quran (Elimination of Printing and Recording Errors) (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Committee was informed that the main focus of the Bill was to ensure that error free copies of the Holy Quran are printed. It was also made know to the Committee that pages of the Holy Quran that have been damaged are treated with reverence and are preserved carefully. It was also asserted that a Quran Board be formulated for this purpose. The Committee stressed the need for ensuring that the newsprint used for the publishing of the Holy Quran are of good quality and grammage. It was asserted, that this to quite a degree would resolve the issue. The Committee emphasized the need for stringent regulation in this regard and formulation of rules so that this standard if followed in the provinces as well.
Discussing expenditures incurred on Gurdawara Punja Sahib, Hassan Abdal by ETB, the Ministry provided details to the Committee and informed it of the initiatives and processes followed in this regard. Mostly run on funds donated by the Community the Committee was informed that this was the main reason for non-tendering of services. Reviewing this matter, members asserted the need for proper financial check and balance. It was emphasized that standards of the Gurudwara must be improved and regular audit of funds must be conducted. The matter will be taken up in the next meeting after more documentation is submitted to the Committee for review.
Discussing the Hajj Policy 2023 the Committee was informed that the annual Hajj agreement has been signed. The quota for Pakistan Hujjaj in 2023 has been determined to 179210 persons. Three percent of total allocation will be dedicated for hardship cases and 500 allocations have been made for low paid and labour quota. A waiting list of 448 Hajj aspirants will be maintained. Vaccinations will be mandatory and in order to ensure facilitation of Hujjaj a service providing agreement will be signed by HGOs. Leadership for the medical mission has been selected. Tenders for procurement of vaccinations and other important equipment have been issued. The Committee was of the view that policy must be formulated to ensure that the pilgrimage can only be repeated after five years. This will ensure minimal flow of dollars outside Pakistan; essential for stabilization of the economy.
Regarding a report published in a local newspaper on distortions in translations of the Holy Quran the Committee was informed that the Qadiani Community was involved in this matter. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has submitted a detailed report on the issue to the Lahore High Court on 17 January, 2022. A committee to probe the matter was formulated under the Interior Ministry on the directions of the Prime Minister and a meeting was convened on 5 January, 2023. The decision entailed formulation of a standard translated copy of the Holy Quran. A report on the matter will be submitted to Federal Cabinet by 30 January, 2023, which after approval will be submitted in Court.