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Naat recitation to start NA session

Naat recitation to start NA session

ISLAMABAD: Starting on Wednesday, the National Assembly will open its daily session with a Naat recitation. Prior to this, only verses from the Holy Quran were recited to begin proceedings of the house.

On private members day, retired Capt Mohammad Safdar sought amendments in the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the National Assembly through a motion.

While presenting the motion, Mr Safdar stated that love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a part of every Muslim’s faith and mandatory recitation of Naat would add to the respect of the house. Members of the lower house of parliament voted unanimously in favour of the amendments to rule numbers 48, 69 and 112, which, following the house’s endorsement, stood amended.

After the passing of the amendments, Mr Safdar – a PML-N MNA from Mansehra and the prime minister’s son-in-law – was showered with praise by fellow lawmakers from various parties.

There were, however, a few voices of concern. Their reservations were linked to Muslim sentiments, rather than those of minority communities. A member of the federal cabinet sought the careful selection of Naats, to ensure that their recitation did not affect the sentiments of any sect.

Minister of National Health Services (NHS) Saira Afzal Tarar commended the decision, but added: “I suggest setting up a committee of the house to select Naats for recitation which do not affect anybody’s religious sentiments.”

She also recommended the recitation of one Hadith, with translation, on a daily basis. She claimed this measure would help lawmakers learn more about Islam and the Prophet’s way of life.

Dr Darshan, an occupant of a reserved seat for minorities, said he supported the amendments, and added: “I [would] like to remind this house that the Prophet always gave foremost importance to the rights of minorities.”

Addressing the speaker, Dr Darshan said he wanted to bring the house’s attention to an early 19th century Hindu temple in the Haripur district, which is being demolished by land grabbers.

“I ask the chair to please convey my concern to the federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, who hails from the neighbouring district of Abbottabad, to look into the issue,” he said.

JUI-F’s Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani said that everybody welcomed the recitation of Naat, but also said that: “We can express our real love for the Holy Prophet by implementing his Sunnah.”

Referring to Article 277, which states that “all existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such Injunctions”, Mr Sherani, who also heads the Council of Islamic Ideology, asked what measures the house had taken to end the interest-based banking system in the country. He also recommended the daily recitation of Hadith.

In an impassioned speech, PTI’s Ali Mohammad Khan praised Mr Safdar for bringing in such an ‘important amendment’, particularly during Rabiul Awwal. “By taking this measure, this house has moved towards making Pakistan as it was envisioned by... Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” he said.

A member of the media who was present in the media gallery said that, Pakistan being a Muslim-majority country, no one could think of opposing such a move, but questioned how many lawmakers would make it to the house every day to listen to the recitation of Naat in the morning.

“Alongside declaring recitation of Naat mandatory, the house should also make amendments in its rules which increase the attendance of its lawmakers, which, since the present government has taken over the charge, has gone from bad to worse.”

The media official added that it would be interesting to see how regularly Mr Safdar, the mover of the amendments, attended the proceedings from now on, because he did not have the healthiest attendance record. Recently, his party issued him a notice for missing the election of the National Assembly speaker.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2015

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