Bill proposed with four months left of ongoing PA tenure
LAHORE: The only Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) of Jamaat-e-Islami from Punjab on Tuesday introduced a bill to make the teaching of the Holy Quran compulsory for Muslim students in all public-sector schools of the province, surprisingly at a time when only four months of the Punjab Assembly’s ongoing tenure are left.
As per the details, Dr Waseem Akhtar of JI during the 34th session of the Punjab Assembly introduced the ‘Punjab Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill’ to make the teachings of Holy Quran in all the schools being run by the government throughout the province from grade I to XII mandatory.
Minister for School Education Rana Mashhood Khan, who was also present in the house, said that the government cannot even think of opposing the bill as it is a part of the faith, but the teachings of the Quran are already being imparted in the public-sector schools and Quran will also be taught with translation in the schools as arrangements in this regard are being made by the department.
The bill was later referred to the standing committee on education after getting consent from the law and parliamentary affairs minister Rana Sanaullah Khan who sought its report within two months. Sanaullah further asked the Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal that the standing committee on education should be authorised to invite leading religious scholars as well to get their input on the said bill. Dr Akhtar, the mover of the bill requested the speaker to instruct the standing committee to submit its report within 15 days as the 5-year tenure of the current assembly is going to expire soon.
Sharing the pros and cons of his proposed bill with Pakistan Today, Dr Akhtar said that he in the bill has demanded to make the recitation of the Quran from grade 1 to V compulsory while the holy book should be taught with translation from grade VI to XII as every Muslim student would easily be able to complete the entire Quran by the time he or she reaches the end of higher secondary studies.
When asked that why did he not introduce this bill during the last four and a half years, he said that he was doing his homework on the said bill for long and therefore it took much time.
“I was also in contact with Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman who himself presented the same bill in the National Assembly a few months ago,” Akhtar said.
After thoroughly going through the bill, it was observed by Pakistan Today that there wasn’t anything in the bill that supposedly caused the delay, and the MP might have presented it for point-scoring.
It is worth mentioning here that a unanimous resolution was also passed during the last days of the previous Punjab Assembly to make the teaching of the Holy Quran in all public and private educational institutions mandatory.
LAWMAKERS WANT DEBATE ON KASHMIR:
Meanwhile, some lawmakers of the ruling party demanded a debate on the Kashmir issue in the house as the Kashmir Solidarity Day is around the corner. Dr Farzana Nazir of PML-N said that she is holding a rally on the Kashmir Day and invites all the MPAs of the opposition to join her while adding that a special Kashmir committee should be constituted in the Punjab Assembly as well.
Dr Farzana was joined by a colleague Waheed Gull who went on to say that the speaker should designate a day to discuss the Kashmir issue in the assembly.
Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education Mehwish Sultana responded to the queries of the lawmakers related to her department during the question hour. The session will resume on Wednesday morning.