Published:  12:00 AM, 10 January 2017

Pakistan to introduce even prayer timings

A Pakistani boy was gazing at the camera during the prayer in a mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday. -Reuters

Pakistan plans to introduce "uniform prayer timings" for all sects of Islam across the country, a significant move in a society divided along sectarian lines. Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said he will get in touch with chief ministers of all four provinces to introduce 'Nizam-e-Salat', The Express Tribune reported. Elaborating the plan, he said the provincial governments will notify a local timetable, at least at the district level in their respective provinces, for the prayer timings. These timetables will be formulated according to the local time-zones across Pakistan, the paper said.

Pakistan's early years were largely peaceful, except for occasional sectarian flare-ups. In the 1980s, military ruler Gen Zia-ul Haq's policies promoted discord among different sects. The Pakistani society is now divided along sectarian lines.
In May 2015, the federal government introduced the system for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). However, the decision has hardly been implemented in spirit. The minister said that the government had consulted the met office and religious leaders of Ahle Hadith, Sunni Hanafi (both Deobandi and Barelvi) and Shia sects before notifying uniform prayer timings for the ICT. The same pattern will be adopted for a countrywide plan in order to promote uniformity and unity, he said. - PTI, Islamabad

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