Over 8,000 seminaries have neither been registered with the Ittehad-e-Tanzeemat-e-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP), an umbrella of five schools of thought, nor with the ministry of religious affairs, raising a serious question over their curriculum’s legitimacy and their source of funding.
Following the National Action Plan (NAP) committee’s recommendations, officials associated with provinces’ Auqaf departments are gathering data about madaris/makatib which have never been registered with the ITMP, ministry of religious affairs or with the provincial Auqaf departments.
Around 8,249 seminaries which have enrolled 0.3 million students are not registered across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, revealed officials, who will brief ministry of interior next week. “These non-registered madaris/makatib did not fulfil the basic criteria set by the ministry of religious affairs,” a senior official told The Express Tribune.
Around 4,135 madaris/makatib are operating without getting proper registration from the designated authorities in K-P, the official said, adding that some 2,411 seminaries are unregistered in Punjab, 1,406 in Sindh and 266 in Balochistan, he explained.
At least 31 madaris are not registered in Islamabad where all seminaries are built on encroached land, he revealed and went on to say that even Jamia Hifsa, adjacent to Lal Mosque, also failed to fulfill basic requirements of registration.
The official claimed that “Madaris operating in K-P did not cooperate with us.”
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that around 605 students were studying in the capital’s unregistered seminaries.
The 27 madaris belong to the Deobandi school of thought, two to Barelvi school of thought and one is managed by the Ahle Hadith, he said. Seminaries, whose curriculum is provided by Waqaful Madaris, are registered with Islamabad Auqaf Department.
The ITMP officials also confirmed that some members of seminary boards – Barelvi, Ahle Hadith, Shia and Jamaat-e-Islami – affiliated with the Ittehad Tanzimat Madaris-e-Deeniya – had also refused to comply when it came to regulating their syllabus in the Pervez Musharraf era.
The problem exists in non-registered seminaries where there is no check on literature being taught there, a cleric said on condition of anonymity. The ministry of religious affairs registered 26,131 madaris by September 2014, according to official figures obtained by The Express Tribune. Around 14,768 seminaries are registered in Punjab, 7,118 in Sindh, 2,704 in Balochistan, 1,354 in K-P and 187 in the federal capital.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2014.