Religious scholars from different schools of thoughts reached consensus on uniform prayer timings in the federal capital. Meanwhile, proposals to telecasting the call to prayer on TV channels and closing all commercial centres during prayer timings are also under consideration at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Sources in the ministry said that Shia, Barelvi, Deobandi and Ahle Hadith religious scholars agreed on Wednesday to have uniform prayer timings.

“The minister has written a letter to the Information Ministry asking for arrangements to telecast Azaan on TV channels,” a senior religious ministry official told The Express Tribune, adding that the letter was sent on March 9.

In response to a question regarding the closure of commercial centres during prayers, he said that representatives of traders and chambers of commerce had been invited in the last meeting and they agreed with the proposal.

Additionally, representatives from the Ministry of Interior and the ICT Administration also attended the meeting as they would be the ones implementing and enforcing the change.

He added that the ministry would invite representatives from educational institutions and religious-political parties for the next meeting and ask for their input on the proposal.

On the meeting, he said, “Consensus between all four parties is a great achievement.”

He said that the ministry had prepared a calendar of timings for the entire year which has been given to a 10-member Salat committee for consideration and approval. “The final decision might take a month or so,” he added.

Islamabad prayers

He said that the Ministry of Religious Affairs would hold a convention at Faisal Mosque, where an “important religious personality” would be invited to make the announcement of uniform prayer timings.

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In addition, the ministry is considering launching an awareness campaign as well. So far, the minister, who heads the committee meetings, has received positive and encouraging response, he added.

He said that after Islamabad, the ministry would start the process of introducing the system in other cities prior to a nationwide move.

On March 26, the government informed the National Assembly that it was consulting religious scholars from different schools of thought to introduce uniform prayer timings in the federal capital.

“We are making efforts to introduce uniform timings for the call to prayer in Islamabad and a decision is likely to come through in a week,” Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat had said.