PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) cabinet in a meeting chaired by the province’s chief minister, Pervez Khattak, has formally approved a payment of Rs10,000 as a monthly stipend to prayer leaders of mosques across the province from February.
According to an official notification, there are 27,096 mosques throughout KP, and an amount of Rs3.250 billion will be spent annually on the project. In this respect, the cabinet decided the constitution of seven-member committees at the district level for the implementation of the project.
All khateebs qualified from any of the five federal boards for seminaries will be eligible for the stipends in accordance with a recommendation by the province’s mosque committee.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which is a part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) led coalition government, is supporting the decision, while JUI(F) is opposing it. However, the opposition’s Awami National Party (ANP) believes that efforts should be made to streamline the affairs of mosques and other religious places across the province, and seminaries should not be used for political purposes.
Abdul Jalil Jan, the secretary information of the JUI(F) when contacted, said that the provincial government is going to influence the mosques and other religious circles with the help of the project.
He termed the stipend a “joke with the ulama” and said that his party has directed its affiliated religious scholars to not receive the stipend.
Former provincial minister and ANP leader, Sardar Hussain Babak has said that the government needs to streamline the affairs of mosques and other religious places before taking such steps. The government must give permanent employment to the khateebs, but should not use mosques and other religious places for personal and political purposes, he added.