300 seminaries receiving funds from abroad

Published: December 17, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Nearly 300 madrassas in Pakistan are receiving financial support from around 10 countries, the government has informed the lower house of parliament, as it admitted it had no idea about the total amount of funds or any other kind of support these seminaries receive.

The interior ministry, in a written response to a question, told the National Assembly that 285 seminaries were receiving funds from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, the US, the UK, and South Africa.

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Of the seminaries identified by the interior minister, 147 are located in Punjab, 95 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 30 in Balochistan, 12 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and one in Sindh.

The figures were submitted to the house on the eve of the first anniversary of the gruesome massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar, which had prompted a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP). Under the NAP, the government was supposed to track foreign funding of seminaries which had ties to surreptitious activities.

The report went on to add that most of the seminaries identified belonged to the Deoband school of thought. While some of these madrassas receive funds through the legal channels, the administrators of some seminaries raise money by visiting sponsors in foreign countries. The interior ministry said it had no tangible intelligence whether these countries were facilitating the seminaries in terms of training, capacity building, and curriculum development.

The ministry, while admitting it had no idea about the total amount of funds these seminaries received, said it had tracked three to four cases where money had been transferred through banks and that two seminaries had received Rs2.5 million and Rs3 million per year respectively.

It added that seminaries continue to receive funds through unfair or illegal means, which makes it almost impossible for the government to track the flow of funds.

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Earlier, in January 2015 the interior minister had told the Senate that around 80 seminaries in the country had received Rs300 million from around a dozen countries. “Some madrassas are receiving financial support from Muslim countries. However, it is often difficult to trace the transaction of such money,” he had said in his written reply.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Dec 17, 2015 - 9:26AM

    Like I have been saying all along, ALL islamic institutions and ALL imaams need to be regulated by the government. Gender equality, tolerance, and democracy need to be accepted by these instituions and imaams.Recommend

  • Careful reader
    Dec 17, 2015 - 9:27AM

    To stop terrorism every country in the world in the world including Pakistan and USA must ban any foreign money for masjid or madrasah purposes Recommend

  • Muhammad Abdullah
    Dec 17, 2015 - 12:28PM

    No madarsa is ever found to be guilty or involved in any terrorist act since every in Pakistan. This is just a propaganda by secularists to oppress Deoband madarsas in Pakistan which have always stand against the secularism of Pakistan..Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 17, 2015 - 12:55PM

    In order to keep the religious parties vote on their side, the government will make a noise but do nothing to stop this inflow……one of the main reasons for religious intolerance in our country. Recommend

  • ASHFAQ
    Dec 17, 2015 - 1:01PM

    If we ask to curb foreign funding to religious schools /institution, we should also speak about the NGOs getting foreign add directly.Rather than banning that legal add, there should be a mechanism developed on the basis of these institutions as either being a real center of Islamic education where no hatred is preached rather peace and love while those known for spreading hate and strife are not hidden from common man thus state authorities know more than enough about.Recommend

  • curious2
    Dec 17, 2015 - 7:09PM

    You knew the answer before you asked the question. Maybe the real question is when are you going to take steps to shut down the money, and shut down the radical leaders?Recommend

  • cocomo
    Dec 20, 2015 - 12:15PM

    Government should be the intermediary for all funds directed towards Islamic Seminaries. All unaccounted funding should be considered terrorist funding PERIOD.Recommend

  • NHA
    Jan 10, 2016 - 12:37PM

    This is long overdue. It has been common knowledge who is providing financial support to whom. Govt should not only dig out info but also share with Parliament and lodge strong protest with the country concerned.

    A bold move is always safe move. Recommend

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