PM gives body one month to propose Zakat Ord changes
* More powers proposed for central Zakat council to check provincial councils
* Elections for local Zakat committees will be held in mosques
By Mohammad Imran
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has ordered the committee formed for proposing amendments to the Zakat and Usher Ordinance 1980 to complete its assigned task within one month.
“In a recent meeting, the prime minister expressed serious concern over the delay in proposing amendments to the Zakat and Usher Ordinance 1980 for revamping the zakat distribution system,” sources told Daily Times on Friday.
Federal Religious Affairs Minister Ijazul Haq and Religious Affairs Secretary Vakil Ahmed Khan gave a detailed presentation to the prime minister about the zakat system in the country. They said a seven-member committee was formed three months ago under the chairmanship of Ijazul Haq, but it had been unable to meet regularly.
Sources said the committee had managed to discuss the distribution of zakat and funds under the Pakistan Baitul Mal.
“The government will probably amend the Zakat and Usher Ordinance 1980 and suggest a new monitoring system at the federal level to discourage political appointments in local zakat committees,” sources said.
“More powers will be awarded to the central zakat council so it can take action against the provincial zakat councils on public complaints,” sources said. They said it had also been proposed that under the new amendment, the central zakat council would ensure that the elections of the zakat committees would be held in mosques and the local people would choose the head and the members of the committees.
“It was also proposed that the auditing system of the zakat funds, which is currently under the control of the provincial zakat councils, should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Central Zakat Council to ensure that the distribution of zakat was according to the rules,” sources said.
The members of the committee includes the minister for religious affairs, minister of state for environment, the Religious Affairs Ministry secretary, Dr Rafiq, former vice chancellor of Punjab University, secretary of the Social Welfare Ministry, the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology and the joint secretary of the Religious Affairs Ministry who looks after matters related to the zakat system.