Towards sectarian harmony

MINISTRY of Religious Affairs is going ahead with its plans to promote harmony amongst the people belonging to different sects. In May 2015, the Federal Ministry for Religious Affairs had issued Nizam-i-Salaat calendar for unified prayer timings in federal capital after taking on board religious scholars of all schools of thought and now it is striving to give it a legal shape.
On Tuesday, the Ministry and prominent scholars representing all schools of thought reached a consensus on the Nizam-i-Salat draft bill, envisaging unified prayer timings with Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf assuring that all stakeholders would be taken into confidence and their suggestions would be considered before finalising the draft. The success of this initiative could be gauged from the fact that out of 615 mosques in the capital 606 have agreed to implement unified prayer and Azaan timings. Then there are also plans to expand the initiative of uniform prayer timings to fifty Union Councils of the capital. Indeed the consensus reached between scholars of all schools of thought on prayer timings will have trickle-down effect and greatly help in promoting harmony amongst different sects. It will be unfair not to give credit for this successful initiative to Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf and Minister of State Pir Aminul Hassant who in fact ever since assuming the offices have worked tirelessly to remove existing misperception and misunderstanding amongst the sects by bringing them together on one platform. For this purpose, the Ministry also constituted National Ulema and Mashaikh Council a few years back which held productive and useful consultations on matters of national interests including reforms in seminaries. This forum has provided a platform to religious scholars to not only convey their concerns to the government on certain matters but also get them addressed forthwith. While we appreciate efforts for ensuring uniform prayers timing to give a message of unity and harmony, we expect that scope of Nizam-i-Salat will also be expanded to all the federating units after consultations with the provinces.

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