ISLAMABAD    -   The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Friday demanded the removal of Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman from the coveted post owing to his irresponsible remarks on Yazeed.

The meeting, chaired by Maulana Asad Mehmood, expressed its indignation and dismay over the remarks of Mufti Muneeb that have gone viral on social media.

PPP MNA and member of the committee Shagufta Jumani while strongly condemning Muneeb’s remarks demanded strict action against him.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sahibzada Noor-ul-Haq Qadri on the occasion said the concerns of members of the committee would be conveyed to Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee chairman.

The committee sought details of the distribution of Hujjaj quota to some parliamentarians during this year Hajj.

A sub-committee was constituted to probe the complaints of pilgrims regarding food, transport and residence during their stay in Saudi Arabia. The committee expressed concern over delay in the constitution of Hajj Advisory Committee for supervising the annual religious obligation.

Briefing the committee, Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mushtaq Borana said the ministry had conducted balloting four times this year. “Most of the issues normally crop up during the last five days of Hajj,” he told the committee.

“Last year, 90,000 pilgrims were provided residence in Markazia and this year, of 123,000 government scheme pilgrims, 112,000 were provided residences,” he said, and added, “The ministry has refunded to each government scheme pilgrim between Rs68,000 to Rs25,000. The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman was appointed on merit.”

Shagufta Jumani asked the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to resume the past practice of sending a special NA committee to Saudi Arabia during the holy month of Rabi-ul-Awwal.

Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das expressed his concern over the constitution of ETPB Board of Directors and demanded making the procedure more transparent and based on merit. “The representation of Christians should be increased in BoD of ETPB,” he demanded.

He said more than 35 Hindu girls were forcibly converted to Islam in the last six months. Maulana Asad Mehmood said Islam does not allow conversion under coercion.

Jamshed Thamous, MNA, a member of the committee, asked the ministry to increase funds for the minorities and also allocate more amount for minority welfare projects.

The committee also resented the performance of Pak-PWD and stressed to bring improvements.

The committee was informed that three projects of Ministry of Religious Affairs were being executed by Pak-PWD, but none of the projects including the project of Hajj Complex, Quetta, which was started in 2004, could not be completed.

The committee directed to submit a comprehensive report in this regard so that appropriate action could be taken against the responsible.

The committee discussed the Hajj arrangements 2019 and over all showed its satisfaction on the arrangements. The committee has appointed a sub-committee to examine the Hajj arrangements and propose suggestions to further improve arrangements for the next Hajj.

Shagufta Jumani would be the convener of the sub-committee, whereas, Members National Assembly Chaudhry Faqeer Ahmed, Shahida Akhtar Ali and Saleem Rehman would be the members.

The committee aimed at improving the Hajj arrangements by collective wisdom and on apolitical spirit.

The committee examined two bills regarding forced religion conversion. The first bill was moved by Naveed Aamir Jeeva, MNA, whereas, the second bill was moved by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA.

The committee referred the bills to the Council of Islamic Ideology for its expert opinion with respect to “Shariah Injunctions”.