Separate Wakf cadre is not required, says Haryana Wakf chief

By Md. Ali,

New Delhi: A section of Muslim community might have raised the pitch over demands for Indian Wakf Service, but Naseem Ahmad, the administrator of Haryana Wakf Board, believes that a separate cadre just for Wakf is not required because it will create more problems for Wakf than the solutions it is supposed to provide.

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Talking to over phone, Ahmad says that a separate Wakf service will end up making the Wakf boards and Central Wakf Council, other “sarkari” departments, losing its autonomy to the government, which is central to the domain of Wakf in India.

Ahmad’s views show that even the expert opinion in the community is split on the demands for a separate Wakf cadre. Separate Wakf cadre of officers is one of the recommendations of Sachar committee for the proper management of Wakf properties across India whose worth has roughly been estimated at Rs. 120 billion (US$ 26 billion).

“I don’t think that a separate Wakf cadre of officers is in any way going to solve the problems facing Awkaaf in India these days,” says Ahmad who has been credited with opening an engineering college completely owned, run and funded by Haryana Wakf Board, first of its kind in the country.

On the issue of a separate Hindu cadre of officers in South, Ahmad says that first of all they are not controlled by government. Those officers are picked up by Hindu Trusts and not the government. So comparing that with Wakf and demanding the same will be nothing more than simplifying the complex issue of Awkaaf in India, says Ahmad.

Ahmad, a former IAS officer with legal background, terms the demands of separate Wakf cadre of officers as “misplaced” precisely because even the Sachar report hasn’t explained in detail as to how will the proposal be implemented; will it be implemented for higher level of officers in Wakf boards or at lower levels also, who is going to pay these officers because anyways Wakf boards don’t have money to pay their existing staffs?” asks Ahmad.

Instead of a separate Wakf service, funding from the government for the professional training of the Wakf employees, particularly at the lower level, will go a long way in the better management of Awkaaf across the country, adds Ahmad.

“Wakf employees need to be sensitized towards the needs and role of awkaaf. They need professional training, knowledge and expertise,” says Ahmad, a former vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

What will the cadre of just 25-30 officers, will do when the entire system of Wakf boards across the country, is not modern, technically sound and professionally trained, asks Ahmad.

“At present the Wakf boards across India, doesn’t have funds to pay its employees. From where will the salary of these officers, come? And if these will be government paid officers, don’t you think that a very important question on the autonomy of Awkaaf will arise, which is completely unacceptable to the community?” asks Ahmad.

“If at all, a section of community is demanding a separate cadre of officers, then I think, it first needs to be done on an experiment basis in one or two districts,” adds Ahmad.

Ahmad also adds that more than separate cadre, Wakf boards across the country need more cooperation from the civil authorities. For instance in several cases, “we get court order in our favor but the civil authorities remain apathetic and don’t cooperate at all in getting those decrees implements,” complains Ahmad.