ISLAMABAD-Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has approached Capital Development Authority for allotment of land for the construction of an Islamic centre. 

Mr. Ashrafi is a renowned religious scholar and has the privilege to remain the special assistant of both former prime minister Imran Khan and the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. 

According to well-placed sources inside the civic authority, Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi approached the high-ups of CDA and requested to allot a piece of land in sector G-6 for the construction of an Islamic centre. 

However, the concerned formation after initial discussion on his request has conveyed that the authority would be unable to allot him a piece of land for aforementioned purpose in sector G-6 as there is no such land available for allotment with the CDA. 

The authority further conveyed that the request of allotment could be considered on the state acquired land in Zone-IV of Islamabad but even it could not be allotted to him or his party in individual capacity.  

The CDA conveyed that if he wanted to build a purposeful institute then he must approach the authority through a ministry or division.   

It is pertinent to mention here that a large number of mosques and seminaries are already working across the city and most of them have been constructed without having an allotment by the CDA. 

A senior officer of CDA informed this scribe that earlier the authority was allotting the plots meant for mosques in sectors to the committees through Auqaf Department of ICT Administration but later the practice was discontinued and CDA board has decided to build the mosques in new sectors through government’s funding.     

When contacted, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister informed The Nation that he is not demanding anything out of the box but he wants to get a space where a mosque cum Islamic centre could be established. 

He explained further that he doesn’t have an issue if such allotment is made in the name of the Ministry of Religious Affairs or if it remains in the name of CDA; he only wants to build and manage its affairs. 

“If we will get the space then we will build the mosque and Islamic centre with our own funding,” he maintained; informing: “The centre will have its own importance as it will be a place to promote interfaith harmony.” 

He said at present there is no mosque in Islamabad where all the sects and religions could sit together and work for the betterment of Pakistan and promotion of its soft image before the world.

When his attention was drawn towards a longstanding issue of the construction of the temple in Sector H-9/2, he said, “We have a stance on the issue that the old temples are available in the capital and same be utilised instead of the allocation of new land for the temple.” 

He, however, said, “We don’t have an issue if the land will be allocated to Hindus for the construction of a community centre and cremation ground.”    

It is pertinent to mention here that the CDA had allocated land for the construction of the temple in Sector H-9/2 to facilitate the minority community to build a temple, community centre, and a cremation ground, which could not be started due to multiple reasons.

Director Public Relations CDA Syed Asif Shah said that the request of Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi will be considered as per the prevailing policy of the civic authority.