ISLAMABAD: Almost all mosques under the control of Auqaf Directorate in Islamabad are fully dependent on ‘community’s funding’ for their repair, maintenance and expansion work because the federal government has not spent even a single penny in this regard since 2013. It is a well-established fact that the government has absolutely no influence over 868 of the total 957 mosques of the capital city to discipline them and now government is also losing its control on the rest of the mosques due to scarcity of funds. Though the Auqaf Directorate is spending Rs 49.33 million to pay the salaries of imams, moazins and khadims of mosques in addition to the payment of the utility bills, however according to official documents, the directorate did not spend any amount on the repair, maintenance and development of these mosques since the formation of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in 2013. A total of Rs 1,130,000, including Rs 610,000 for the year 2013-14, Rs 10,000 each for the year 2014-15 and 2015-16 and Rs 500,000, were allocated in the budget for repair and maintenance but the same funds were re-appropriated for utilities bills of mosques. One can easily assess the government’s priority to manage the mosques as not even a single mosque in capital has been whitewashed during the tenure of the incumbent government. An imam of a state-controlled mosque, while requesting anonymity, told Daily Times that lack of funding by the government had increased the influence of community over mosques. “We are forced to follow their directives instead,” he said. When contacted, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Additional Deputy Commissioner East Syed Jawad Muzaffer admitted that the Auqaf Directorate was facing shortage of funds. “We are forced to consume the repair and maintenance funds to pay utility bills because we have the arrears of around Rs 20 million,” he said. “We have no role in the repair and maintenance work of the mosques if it is being carried out by masses of a locality on their own,” he admitted. On the other side, residents living around the state-controlled mosques railed against the department for its alleged negligence. Most of them were unhappy with the role and progress of the mosques’ management committees selected through a dubious manner. Published in Daily Times, December 13th 2017.