As MP Waqf Board chairman Shaukat Mohd Khan picked up cudgels against aukaf-e-shahi (royal trust of erstwhile rulers of Bhopal), now controlled by Saba Ali, daughter of legendry cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan "Pataudi", his detractors particularly those close to Pataudi family like former MP Gufran-e-Azam and businessman Sikander Hafiz Khan are questioning Shaukat Mohd Khan’s motive.
Shaukat Mohd Khan is being accused of running a slur campaign against aukaf-e-shahi in an attempt to somehow get control of aukaf-e-shahi, which, they, however, insist is legally not possible.
HT talked to Shaukat Ali Khan and his predecessor in the Waqf Board Gufran-e-Azam to get their respective perspective on the controversy.
Gufran-e-Azam: Shaukat Mohd Khan is ignorant. He should know that aukaf-e-shahi (royal trust) was an instrument devised by the Union government as a special privilege to erstwhile rulers, who merged their state in the Republic of India. Waqf Board has no jurisdiction over aukaf-e-shahi.
Shaukat Mohd Khan: Gufran-e-Azam preceded me as MP Waqf Board Chairman but he never read the Waqf Act. He is talking of royalty and royal trust not being subject to any law or Act of the land. He should understand that the royalty is a thing of the past. There are no kings and nawabs now. Nor do they enjoy any special privilege as Azam suggests. All the special privileges of the erstwhile rulers have been revoked by no less than the Supreme Court.
Is aukaf-e-shahi accountable to MP Waqf Board?
Gufran-e-Azam: Shaukat Mohd Khan wants us to believe that aukaf-e-shahi (royal trust) is answerable to MP Waqf Board and its mutawalli (custodian) Saba Ali, cricketer Mansoor Alik Khan’s daughter, could be questioned by him as MP Waqf Board chairman. If he believes so, he is living in a fool’s paradise.
Shaukat Mohd Khan: Aukaf-e-Shahi is very much subject to MP Waqf Board and the latter has all the right to question them, even lodge FIR against them if anything illegal takes place. I would recommend action against members of aukaf-e-shahi under Money Laundering Act. I tell you if a proper investigation is carried out into the functioning of aukaf-e-shahi and MP Waqf Board under the chairmanship of Gufran-e-Azam, they would all land up in jail.
Was media used to defame aukaf-e-shahi and Saba Ali?
Gufran-e-Azam: Media reports on Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe against aukaf-e-shahi were ‘planted’ by Shaukat Mohd Khan as part of his campaign against the royal trust. He is trying to defame aukaf-e-shahi so as to get its control, which is not possible legally.
Shaukat Mohd Khan: How am I responsible for something which the ED is doing? Media sought my version on the development and I told them about the query ED had made from Waqf Board. That’s all.
Can rubat be administered by MP Waqf Board in place of aukaf-e-shahi?
Gufran-e-Azam: Let alone royal property in India, Shaukat Mohd Khan wishes to take control of rubats (lodges for Hajis from Bhopal in Mecca and Madina constructed by royal family). Perhaps, he doesn’t know that rubats are run according to Saudi’s law. If he can have his way with the Saudi laws as well, let it be.
Shaukat Mohd Khan: If Waqf Board can administer the rubats better as some quarters in Muslim community believe, what’s wrong in exploring the possibility.