ISLAMABAD: Around 2,673 foreign students from 37 countries are studying in Pakistani madrassas, revealed a list submitted by the Interior Ministry to the National Assembly on Saturday.
In response to a written question by a member of lower house of the Parliament, the Interior Ministry confessed that there is no prescribed procedure for education of foreign students in religious seminaries in Pakistan. “A procedure is being finalised in the light of an agreement with the Wafaqul Madaris,” the ministry mentioned in its written reply.
This figure of students is up to December, 2011 and the information on latest number of foreign students is currently being collected by the ministry. Besides other countries, students from countries such as France, China, Russia, Turkey, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Tunis and Uganda are also studying in Pakistani madrassas.
Among the total number of foreign students, 1,273 students are from neighbouring Afghanistan, of which 1,147 Afghani students are enrolled in madrassas of Balochistan province, 123 in Islamabad, one in Punjab and the remaining two students in Azad Kashmir. According to the list, 101 students from Thailand – the second highest number – are studying in religious seminaries of Punjab (97) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (4).
Around 1,000 foreign students are studying in Sindh province but a country-wise list is yet to be prepared by the Home Ministry. However, as per the list, Sindh with 999 students has become the second highest host province for foreigners after Balochistan with 1,147. There are a total of 396 foreign students enrolled in Punjab’s madrassas.
A preliminary report released by the ministry carried several errors including misspelling names of countries. The draft also managed to mix up nationalities with respective countries.