Saudi govt desires to take responsibility of Faisal Mosque’s maintenance

ISLAMABAD  -  The government of Saudi Arabia has offered to take the responsibility of the maintenance of Islamabad’s iconic Faisal Mosque keeping its dilapidated condition in view. 

At present, the administration of the mosque is controlled by the Management of International Islamic University while the upkeep and routine maintenance rests with the Capital Development Authority. 

However, it is quite unfortunate and strange that most of the local as well as foreign visi­tors complain poor management and unhy­gienic conditions in the mosque while the university management also wrote the civic authority in this regard on many occasions. 

Sources informed that the Saudi Ambassa­dor in Pakistan wrote a letter to the Federal Secretary Interior and desired that his gov­ernment wants to bear the maintenance cost incurred on the Faisal Mosque for its better management. 

The concerned formation inside the civic authority is preparing a draft Memorandum of Understanding in this regard which will be signed in few weeks. 

The project to build said mosque was con­ceived in 1966, when King Faisal bin Ab­dul Aziz visited Islamabad. An international competition for the selection of the mosque design was held in 1969 and the design of a Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay was selected by a jury appointed by the International Un­ion of Architects. 

A foundation stone was laid by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz in 1976, but the project was started in 1978 and completed in 1988 in a period of 10 years. 

The structural engineers of Faisal Mosque were R L Lac Qurix from Paris and S Erdolan from Turkey. The Project Manager was Mu­hammad Rafique Ahmed while the project was executed by contractor M/S National Construction Limited. 

It is pertinent to mention here that there is a false presumption that the Faisal Mosque was fully funded by the Saudi government, but the official documents of the project clearly negate this false myth as only par­tial funding was made by the Saudi govern­ment on the directions of its King, late Shah Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. In response the mosque was named after his name. 

The project’s cost was $45 million in which $28 million were contributed by the govern­ment of Saudi Arabia while $17 million were provided by the Pakistani government in ad­dition to the allocation of 33 acres of land for the mosque. 

The ownership of the said mosque is with the CDA but the management rests with the International Islamic University Islamabad. The CDA spends millions on the renovation and maintenance of the mosque every year but now due to unavailability of funds, the level of maintenance has been reduced. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a time-test­ed friend of Pakistan. The bilateral relation­ships between the two countries have a vast scope covering multiple fields of life.

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