In a bid to give boost to the revival of Wakf board in Punjab and ensure proper maintenance of its properties all over the state, the Punjab government has reconstituted the Wakf board and has issued directions for removing encroachments from the properties which come under the purview of the Board. The objective is to ensure that the income generated from these properties was utilised for the welfare of the Muslim community in the state.
While claiming the interest of minorities was of prime importance to the government Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has maintained that the SAD-BJP government has reconstituted this board mainly to ensure proper maintenance of the properties of Punjab Waqf Board across the state. The income generated from these properties can be used for the utilisation of Muslim community all over the state, he said. After Chief Minister’s instructions, all pending matters pertaining to the encroachment of property of the Board are directly being dealt with and a prompt action is being taken to dispose of such cases.
The approval for the re constitution of Board was given in February 2015, as per the provisions required under section 14 of the Wakf Act, 1995, as amended in 2013. Following the decision, Mrs. F. Nesara Khatoon (Farzana Alam) has been named as a member from MLA category, Janaab Gazi Mohammed Umair from Bar council category, Syed Sadiq Hussain Naqvi and Janaab Shamim Ahmad Qazim have been named as Shia and Sunni scholars in the board and Mr. Showkat Ahmad Parray, IAS, was included from government officer category. Similarly Mr. Dilbagh Hussain and Ms. Manju Qureshi have been nominated to the board under section 14(3) of the State Wakf Board.
In fact it’s due to pro-active and welfare measures that in sharp contrast to the Wakf boards in several other states which are undergoing losses, the income of Punjab Wakf Board has risen in past the couple of years. Against an income of just Rs 3.63 crore a few years back, the Wakf’s revenue generation has increased to 20.20 crore in the year 2011-12. Two years ago the annual income of Board was about Rs 15 crore.
With the rise in income, the Board has undertaken a number of welfare activities. At present the Wakf Board has around 4,500 properties in Punjab and has helped building 440 mosques within a period of two years. Besides, it’s also providing aid to 34 schools and ‘madrassas all over the state. The Board has also undertaken a number of other welfare activities including providing scholarships to students and pension to the widows.
The Wakf has been generating its own resources including by leasing out some of its properties. And those part of Waqf Board mention that the state government’s hands on approach for the welfare of board has helped it improve the income and spread its welfare activities.
What is Wakf
Wakf is described as permanent dedication by a person professing Islam, of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognized by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable. The institution of Wakf in India is 800 years old. It began when Muslim rulers donated huge lands for charity. The approximate number of registered Waqf properties in India is 3,00,000 which accounts for over 4 lakh acres of land.