A judge has ruled that court employees in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) must offer daily Muslim prayers inside and outside the court or they won’t receive annual raises.
The Pakistani newspaper the Express Tribune reported that Chief Justice Ibrahim Zia has ordered that all employees take part in the prayers five times per day. He said workers “would be secretly checked by the court,” although he didn’t clarify how they would be monitored outside of the office. As top judge, Zia would be leading many of the prayers within the court.
“The annual salary hikes of court employees would now hinge on their offering prayers regularly and on the prescribed times,” Zia said. “There shall be two groups of employees for prayers. I will lead one group, and our regular prayer leader will lead the other group.”
While daily prayers are required for Muslims, Zia’s ruling is the first court-mandated prayer. One of the reasons for the decision, the court noted, was to promote “honesty” and “dedication” among employees.
Zia took the oath as the 12th chief justice of the PoK Supreme Court on Feb. 25. The area is claimed by both India and Pakistan, but the latter country currently rules it.