Unauthorised construction: Illegal mosques eating up security resources

Published: March 28, 2011
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Documents show as many as 83 mosques in Islamabad have been constructed illegally.

Documents show as many as 83 mosques in Islamabad have been constructed illegally.

ISLAMABAD: 

The illegally constructed mosques in Islamabad are putting an extra financial burden on law enforcement agencies, besides raising security risks. According to the Interior Ministry’s official documents, the mosques are being provided with walk-through gates along with at least two police officials for security reasons.

An official of the ministry said that as many as 50 mosques, including shrines, have been provided with walk-through gates so far. The ministry plans to supply the remaining mosques with these provisions too.

Inspector General of Islamabad Police Wajid Durrani told The Express Tribune that it was his department’s responsibility to provide security to the people, while the administration’s task was to ensure that mosques and shrines are constructed legally.

When approached, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration and Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials said that it was difficult for them to keep a check on mosques, as it was a sensitive issue. An official of CDA’s enforcement team claimed that some mosques were being built on state land for commercial purposes. “Mosques are being built in a few sectors with shops adjacent to them,” he explained.

Referring to one such mosque in sector I-11, he said it had been built by two teenagers who belonged to the tribal belt. “The ground floor was turned into a market while the mosque is on the first floor, making it an easy way to earn money,” he added.

According to an official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, such commercial activities were permitted as some clerics deemed it a valid means to generate money for the mosque’s expenses, such as electricity bills and maintenance.

Information elicited from the ICT Administration and the CDA shows that there exist as many as 83 mosques and shrines in the capital that have been constructed illegally.

Thirty-eight of these are located in “middle class sectors” while ten have been built in the “posh sectors”. In total, 172 mosques are located in the former areas and 39 places of worship are located in the latter.

The data shows that the trend of constructing mosques, both legally and illegally, is much higher in the middle class sectors than the posh areas. Interestingly, sectors E-8 and E-11 have only one mosque each.

In the case of the latter, the sole mosque has been constructed illegally, probably because the foundation that developed the sector earmarked no space for its construction. These two sectors are followed by F-11 with only three mosques, of which one is illegal.

Sectors F-7 and F-8 have nine mosques each, with two illegal mosques in each sector. Sector F-6 has as many as 12 mosques of which just one is built illegally according to the documents.

Sector I-8 is home to a total of 13 mosques, of which four have been termed illegal.

There are 20 mosques in sector G-11, however, the documents do not mention the number of legally and illegally built mosques there.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Khalid Rahim
    Mar 28, 2011 - 12:04PM

    First bring out and place in the dock those CDA officials who turned blind eye to the illegal construction. Secondly do not pull down any mosque but convert them into ”Poor Shelters and
    Madrassah” to be jointly administered by Edhi Foundation and CDA. Believe in yourself and no
    harm will come from Allah; If the Bigots come out onto the streets they will on behest of iblis.
    With all these mosques and our five time visit and prostration can any Relgio-Political leader tell
    us why we live in terror and are being terrorized? The CDA Chairman should pray for wisdom and moral courage to take correct steps as explained.Recommend

  • Nilofer
    Mar 28, 2011 - 12:38PM

    I must appreciate Tribune for bringing such an important matter to light. In fact I have always watched these under-construction and sites for mosques with much suspicion and would always question why authorities do not have a check on it. Not only the number of mosques, but there has been Lal Masjid like people behind them, sometime it looks like to me that it would be easier for the consortium of these mosques to conquer Islamabad more rapidly than the core 10 of Pakistan army, especially when thousands of poor youth also being employed there in the name of religious education. Society must stand up if the authorities are afraid of touching this evil. Recommend

  • Mar 28, 2011 - 2:35PM

    honest suggestion. let everyone know that it is an illegally constructed mosque and no security will be provided to protect the “prayees” (i dont know if that is a word). That will go a long way believe me.Recommend

  • sadiq bilwany
    Mar 28, 2011 - 2:40PM

    the govt. is too cowardly & weak to take on the religious qabza mafia.anyone can illegally occupy land then build a mosque on top of it & no one,not the police,not the army has the courage then to get the illegal occupation of land vacated.

    We are scared to death of anyone with a beard or wearing a burka as those people can then say that you are against islam & then your fate will be the same as what the religious terrorists did to the brave martyr salman taseer.Recommend

  • farhan aziz
    Mar 28, 2011 - 2:44PM

    the religious people in our country can & do get away with everything,they can illegally & forcefully occupy land,declare anyone an apostate or infidel & the state is powerless to do anything against them as over the decades our populace has been brainwashed into behaving like braindead living things who at the very mention of anything religious go into a frenzy & are ready to kill & be killed so they can get their 72 virgins.

    With funding from iran & saudia the fanatics have spread their tentacles far & wide throughout our land & our govt. is helpless before their threats.Recommend

  • Raj
    Mar 28, 2011 - 3:20PM

    @Khalid Rahim:
    I am glad its you, who made the above remarks and not me as i would have been classed as kaffir who does’nt know what he is talking about!!!!
    This is the fastest way to destroy society and resources which already are scarce!!!
    Why do you need so many mosques?? Are they exempt from Planning permissions??
    Are they all being utilised for same purpose?
    Khalid made very valid point, that these building be used as shelters for those in need, as i am sure allah would not object either, and i am sure he does not need all these many mosque to built for his gratification.Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Mar 28, 2011 - 4:50PM

    I once complained to CDA against an illegal mosque being constructed in the vicinity of F-10. CDA took action and the police was involved etc. But what happened post the action was that someone in the CDA office gave the people who were constructing the mosque my application against it. So in turn they started to come over to my house to talk with me. Eventually we sat down and talked .. and they told me their mosque was legal .. and they had all the papers and i should take back my application. Some names of Brigadiers and Col.s were thrown at me ..
    Post that episode, I still am hopeful about CDA maybe doing something positive one day. But honestly i dont think so . Recommend

  • Raj
    Mar 28, 2011 - 5:49PM

    @Umayr Masud:
    I don’t class you as an aam aadmi! so if you were treated like this ! then have a thought for man on street and tell me what chance has he got at solving any problem he faces??
    It seems In Pakistan everything that was good is being turn into horrible goonda rule, forget the politicians as they have no teeth for anything except enjoying the perks of the office which the country really can not afford either.Recommend

  • Abdur Rehman Alvi
    Mar 28, 2011 - 9:21PM

    Whenever someone approaches me for chanda for a mosque, I always ask him if the mosque was legal or was it built on stolen land.

    I implore our honorable ulema to issue a fatwa if prayers offered in mosque built on stolen land are halal or haramRecommend

  • Karim Khan
    Mar 28, 2011 - 10:05PM

    An important issue to cover indeed! The mosques should be taken possession of by the government and be converted into free shelters for the poor and helpless as suggested by Khalid Rahim. But I don’t think we need madrassas since they can be misused by vicious elements. Recommend

  • SA
    Mar 29, 2011 - 9:20AM

    There must be a rule in Islam regarding buliding of mosques; I mean there has to be a certain distance, not the way we have them built in Pakistan. Hell you cant even reply properly to ONE single Azan while every moazzan trying to outdo the other in terms of volume. In the gulf countries you hear the Azan loud and clear, and ONCE when its due, not some twenty or thirty times!! Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Mar 29, 2011 - 2:39PM

    @Raj:
    Since July 1977 we have been ruled by Bigots and they have been supported by the so called
    secular democratic governments of the West. Education is not learning whether its religious subjects or other. The object is to strengthen and develop the mind positively!Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 29, 2011 - 4:42PM

    @Khalid Rahim:
    I agree wholly with you, and have witness a beautiful enviornment, stability and secular cosmopolitan life on many occasions in seventies when i use to visit friends in karachi, during vacations, then in 2004, it was still not bad when i visited during india pak cricket tour, but over last 4-5 years too many things have gone wrong, and answers and remedies to reverse this are not easy and it seems no one in the country has strength or will to do so!!! thats what is so sad!!
    Seeing decline and destruction of society in front of one’s eyes.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Mar 29, 2011 - 9:43PM

    @Hedgefunder:
    I suggest find and read with leisure Markings by late Dag Hammarsjkold; whether you are in a junior or a senior position of any profession some of his expressions if correctly comprehended
    by those in power and acted upon could reverse the present crises we are all caught in, here are some examples;
    Only he deserves power who everyday justifies it-
    Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living
    your life that others can receive your orders without being humiliated-
    The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by indifference of others
    Our leader who stands on the Executive Pedestal and those who hang with their fingertips on
    the Legislative Pedestal have their walls covered with sacred verses that is interpreted by their
    whims and we are either gullible to accept or have become so indifferent to care no more!Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 29, 2011 - 9:57PM

    @Khalid Rahim:
    Beautiful !!! thank you , i have not come across this before , but i have copy pasted it to save it.
    Once again thanks, hope you going to be watching the match tomorrow!! may the best team win.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Mar 30, 2011 - 1:08PM

    @Umayr Masud:
    In my first comment I clearly said, the CDA officials who are involved in this illegality must be brought to justice. For that the CDA Director General must have moral courage to take action.
    Only then can the Judiciary if honest enough can take action. Recommend

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