Govt approaches Saudi diplomat over funding of madrassahs, banned outfits

Published: January 14, 2015
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On the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the interior ministry approached the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for an urgent meeting to discuss matters related to the funding of madrassahs/mosques by Saudi philanthropists. PHOTO: REUTERS

On the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the interior ministry approached the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for an urgent meeting to discuss matters related to the funding of madrassahs/mosques by Saudi philanthropists. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: In a fresh push to choke terror funding, the government invited a ‘brotherly’ country’s top diplomat on Wednesday, calling for a fresh clampdown on organisations and individuals financing sectarian and banned organisations operating in Pakistan.

Yesterday, on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the interior ministry approached the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad for an urgent meeting to discuss matters related to the funding of madrassahs/mosques by Saudi philanthropists, officials said.

“A senior Saudi diplomat is meeting Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar right now. Both are deliberating how to stop financial support of banned outfits from Saudi Arabia, among other issues,” a senior official of the interior ministry told The Express Tribune.

He recalled that a group of experts has already recommended to the National Action Plan Committee that Tehran, Riyadh, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should be asked to stop funding religious groups that are banned in Pakistan.

Nisar, in light of the NAP committee’s proposals, is sharing intelligence agencies’ reports on foreign funding to various religious groups banned in Pakistan with the visiting guest, an interior ministry official said.

The minister is also briefing a Saudi diplomat about the behaviour of proscribed organisations, which was gauged by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), he hoped.

Further, the official said Saudi Arabia’s $1 million grant for the maintenance and renovation of Faisal Mosque also came under discussion.

“The roots of extremism in Pakistan have often been traced to groups operating in a neighbouring country on the western border, as well as in countries with large Pakistani diasporas such as Gulf states,” said Pakistan’s internal national security policy.

Security analyst Imtiaz Gul opined that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states could help us get rid of elements being funded by Saudi philanthropists.

Riyadh, UAE and other Arab countries could form new laws to regulate private donations which otherwise always believed to be misused by some extreme religious groups, Gul observed.

“Brotherly countries can audit the money being financed to proscribed religious groups in Pakistan accordingly,” Gul said.

After meeting the Saudi diplomat, Nisar will brief the premier about the latest development on madrassahs/schools reforms, as well as on the holistic and speedy implementation of the NAP’s 20 points.

Today, the interior ministry, NACTA and NCMC officials are briefing the prime minister regarding the outcome of more than a dozen sub-committees to execute the NAP.

The meeting will focus on the formation of military courts, reformation in madrassahs, proposed legislation on hate speech, and literature and other points of the NAP.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Nilesh
    Jan 14, 2015 - 2:31PM

    And that’s why Pakistan is in the current state. The “(Religious)Brotherly” states on your western front funding the terror networks to kill and destroy you, But you are still blaming and planning against the (real blood) brothers to your east. I think it’s high time for Pakistan to realise that they are not descendants of arabs but are part of South Asia, and South Asian culture, which is different in each and everyway then the Arab countries. And no matter how hard you try you will never be Arabs, and I still fail to understand why one wants to be one either!

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  • liaqat ali
    Jan 14, 2015 - 2:45PM

    @Nilesh:
    Dont try to use a good actiuon of Pakistan to unnessarly apply to your agenda. We must clean up this mess of religious terrorism and mend fence with India. But India needs to do the same and control the nataural instincts of BJP. I will limit my comments here and not braoden it to malign a race or religion .

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  • Abdullah
    Jan 14, 2015 - 3:12PM

    You dont have to send a mission to Mars to understand this riddle. Somebody also funded Tamil separatists in SriLanka to support religious fraternity….

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  • Nilesh
    Jan 14, 2015 - 3:47PM

    @liaqat ali:
    The only agenda I have is to “Live and Let Live” and let the South Asia be a peaceful and prosperous place, and we as a neighbours to your east (and brothers if you believe in that like me) should be more closure and integrated as we are ultimately one culture (if you can forget about the religion, we eat same, speak same, watch same, believe more or less in same(culturally) and have shared history. In here London and everywhere I lived, Indians and Pakistanis are most natural of friends. You will not see Arab willingly and wholeheartedly accepting a Pakistani as equal or a friend, as we do with each other! So, again to come to my point, we have a great history and one of the oldest and richest culture in the world, be proud of it. Why is there a need to conform with an alien culture, religion is fine, it’s a personal life choice, but culture is social, which binds us to each other and not religion, as culture comes from sharing and dialogue, religion can play part in shaping culture, but culture is always a melting pot of ideas from various groups of people with different belief, it’s a beautiful thing, and way much bigger and accomodating then religion. so, again stop this fascination with Arab culture and accept what is yours, which is South Asian culture. The example is Bangladesh, or the largest muslim country in the world, Indonesia. They are a muslim country, they still have South Asian/Indian sub continent names, they celebrate south asian festivals, Indonesia have ramayan, mahabharat as their national epics, Bangladesh’ national anthem is written by Rabindranath Tagore. Countless examples, so, point is accept and be proud of your culture and you can still believe and be proud of your religion, as they are not mutually exclusive. Sorry for long explanation.

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  • Nilesh
    Jan 14, 2015 - 3:58PM

    @Abdullah:
    You are not wrong, but you also need to remember that it was not a religious war! it was Tamil minority VS the dominant Sinhalese people, so it was a Civil war. and yes, some elements of Tamil population in India did support the Tamils in their fight against Sinhalese, But, to burst your bubble about supporting, India as a country, in it’s official capacity sent it’s army to fight against Tamil Tigers under Indo-Sri Lanka Accord agreement between two countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pawan

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  • Sonya
    Jan 14, 2015 - 4:56PM

    It is an old practice in Pakistan to keep the public opinion balanced between Saudi Arabia and Iran – it is no more a secret to determine which countries have all the way been funding extremists around the world. Something that even Iran’s arch-rival enemy i.e., USA has never tried, it is Pakistan that has always refer Iran whenever it had to point out the problems Saudi Arabia has created in Pakistan. Let’s not make Saudi Arabia happy about it, wikileaks pointed this out long time ago that it is Saudi Arabia and UAE that have been funding terrorists in Pakistan – just talk to them in clear terms in our national interest, they are not better nations than us Pakistanis.

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 14, 2015 - 5:05PM

    @Nilesh:
    If only India could stop poking its nose (though impossible) in other countries affairs, this region will be quite at peace. Also, do not try to act so innocent and worry about your mess.

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  • Azam Khan
    Jan 14, 2015 - 6:19PM

    @Nilesh:
    Can you explain why does India have 11 consulates in Afghanistan along the Pakistani borders. And by the way you should understand that no matter how much you ape to become American or British or for that matter westernise yourself you will still remain Indian.

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  • Azam Khan
    Jan 14, 2015 - 6:42PM

    @Nilesh:
    You do not get it man, I eat the same food an Arab eats, practice the same religion and our cultures have a lot in common. You are absolutely wrong when you say that Pakistanis and Indians are natural friends. To start with we greet each other by asking for God’s blessings on each other, I cannot do that to an Indian or he to me. Most Arabs from the Gulf countries speak the Urdu language. We visit each others homes. At a Nuarati festival my Hindu friend invited me and my wife. My friend’s mother got very upset when my wife shook hands with her. My friend later told me that she does not touch people who eat meat. I have lived with Indians and Arabs for a long time, almost 22 years in the Gulf, I don’t agree with you at all.
    I still honor and respect my ongoing friendships with my Indian friends though.

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  • asgher
    Jan 14, 2015 - 7:00PM

    @Nilesh

    I know the problem india have with Pakistan. I will try to summarize it here:

    Last year during UN summit India was pressurizing Pakistan not to raise Kashmir issue in UN tagging it as the internal matter of two countries. Also Foreign affairs of india has been pushing us to stop calling Kashmir issue as a major issue between two countries.

    Now The large investment and strategic asset of india is getting destroyed at our hands. I am talking about the terrorism network in Pakistan that used to run through Afghanistan which was originally funded and supported by India through Hamid Karzai. Thanks to our demonic Army and Intelligence you will keep hearing good news in future!

    I can go on and on about the mess that India has put up in Afghanistan to harm Pakistan in a proxy war but I believe you already know that. How else can you justify all those consulates in afghanistan? or tell me how many indians are there in afghanistan that you need so many embassies to support them?

    BLA is openly funded by India to destabilize Balochistan province for the sake of Gawadar Port. Your Army Chief have been giving threats of Balochistan being targeted to separate if something happens in india from our side. What does that prove?

    RSS and BJP has a proven history of Muslim Genocide in india.

    India itself has its grave issues. Ghar wapsi is the biggest question mark on the forehead of shinning democratic india where 80 bodies are found floating in Ganga river and villages being forced to accept hindu religion. Just keep pushing your muslims and finally they will indeed return to your homes!!

    Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan thanks to army assistance from india. This is also one of the biggest undeniable fact.

    So as far as india is concerned you are our enemy and you will always be our enemy!!

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  • Another Pakistani
    Jan 15, 2015 - 12:50AM

    @Azam Khan ” Most Arabs from the Gulf countries speak the Urdu language.” i really doubt that. And secondly you mentioned about a Hindu woman not shaking hands because we consume meat, although that could be a case in isolation, but nevertheless how would you justify many of us Pakistanis who would never even invite or befriend a Hindu because they are ‘na-paak’.

    @asgher “Just keep pushing your muslims and finally they will indeed return to your homes!”
    well could i agree that Muslims are discriminated against in India(according to what i’ve read, never been to india myself), but you should also look at what is happening with hindus in Sindh, many families have migrated to india. We should also consider how are we treating our minorities before raising fingers at others.

    And “Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan thanks to army assistance from india. This is also one of the biggest undeniable fact.” You should read up why it got separated! (Hint: It had more to do with Pakistan’s govt than India’s).

    Before i get labelled as a Indian agent, i want to reiterate that i am a Pakistani, and felt the urge to reply because i believe we Pakistanis have to be more logical. Warna hamara hi nuksaan hai!

    Shukria
    J

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  • Naeem Khan
    Jan 15, 2015 - 6:32AM

    @Nilesh: I must agree with you that Arabs don’t befriend Pakistanis, I have seen it for years living in the US. As far as I am concerned it is the Saudis who are forcing their brand of Islam( Wahabism) on Pakistanis. Unfortunately our leaders are indebted to them up to their necks for extracting personal benefits, the current prime minister has business relations with Saudi Arabia and could he stand up to the Saudis, I doubt it very much. Pakistani media or government call the Saudis as their brothers, I don’t recall any Arab or Saudi ever considered me as their brother when we were at the same university. They are one of the most important problems Pakistanis are facing, their petro dollars has played havoc on Pakistani culture and religion. They hate Iran and has exported the same hatred towards the Shia citizens of Pakistan. Is there any leader in Pakistan who could stand up to the Saudis and say enough is enough. Pakistan is a nuclear State and lot stronger than Saudi Arabia ever will be, Pakistanis are hard working and intelligent people where as Saudis are lazy and dependent completely on the US and other countries. Our belief in Islam in the South Asian context is completely different than Wahabism, we have been living together in peace for centuries and accepting each others variation in Islam, it is the Saudis who are preaching hate among the different sects of Islam in Pakistan. It seems to me that we as Pakistanis has much more common with the people toward East than West although it will be difficult for some to understand the cultural links with the Eastern neighbor, these same people will negate the historical fact that Muslims ruled India for more than 600 years and it certainly were influenced by the local religion and customs. There is no denying that Muslims influenced the locals and the locals influenced the rulers.

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  • Hunaid
    Jan 15, 2015 - 11:57AM

    Anyone who prevents the import of Wahabbi Petro-Islam to Pakistan is my Kaptaan.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 15, 2015 - 7:20PM

    I would note that the moderators easily allow comments that accuse india of having 10,20, 100 consulates in Afghanistan along the pakistani border, but quickly moderate out any that point out that there are only 4 indian consulates in all of Afghanistan!

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  • Nilesh
    Jan 15, 2015 - 7:22PM

    @Azam Khan:

    First of all there are 4 Indian Consulates in Afghanistan, exactly Same as Pakistan! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listofdiplomaticmissionsin_Afghanistan). India has invested more than $2 billion in Afghanistan, in rebuilding Afghanistan, and they have these rebuilding and humanitarian projects going on in all these four cities and surrounding provinces, these projects are run by Indian governments and private companies, who got the contracts to build roads, schools, hospitals etc. and obviously, there are thousands of Indians working in these places, from doctors, engineers, social workers, teachers, hospital staffs and others. Also, for humanatarian operations like major operations and other medical needs they need to fly people to India as well. How can you serve and protect the needs of these many people in a volatile country, where you have invested so much of your blood and sweat (make no mistake, talibans are still killing Indian doctors, engineers and others there, including the Harat consulate). So, building these 4 consulates is required. I am sure there is some spying work going on, as being in a hostile country and neighbours. But,my question to you is, why Pakistan has these many consulates in the same location? What are you building there? What is your investment in these 4 cities?

    About being American or British, we are not! We are Indian and we very well know it. We are not trying to be anybody else. You might have mistaken our philosophy of Vasudev Kutumbamkam (Whole world is one big family) (which is also your philosophy, if you go back to my shared culture point), and we believe in that, so if we accept something from somebody, may it be a language, clothings, ideas then it does not make us small or clones, it just means we are open to new ideas and willing to change our ways to better our lives and lives of our loved ones. Nothing wrong in that, don’t you think?

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