Year 2013-14: 80 seminaries received Rs300m in foreign aid

Published: January 29, 2015
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Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, UAE and Australia among donors. PHOTO: REUTERS

Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, UAE and Australia among donors. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: 

The government has, for the first time, admitted that close to 80 seminaries operating in Pakistan are receiving financial support to the tune of Rs300 million from a dozen countries. The seminaries received the funds during 2013-14.

“Financial assistance for religious or sectarian purposes is discouraged as this potentially threatens to violate law and order and sectarian harmony in the country,” stated the interior ministry, responding to a question by Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Sughra Imam.

She said that she wanted to know why this is happening only in Pakistan. “Why the government is telling a lie. We lawmakers are being kept in the dark about madrassas being financed by many countries.”

This is so far a grey area, she observed, and pledged to take up this issue again in the Senate tomorrow (Friday).

Senator Tahir Mashhadi says almost all seminaries are being financed in one way or the other by someone. “Foreign funding to seminaries is very dangerous. It has triggered sectarian war in Pakistan. It [foreign funding] must be blocked on a now or never basis.”

It is decisive time and the government needs to seriously execute National Action Plan by taking action against both good and bad Taliban, he added.

In Islamabad, the interior ministry revealed that the Embassy of the Netherlands donated Rs2.5 million to Helping Hands Welfare Association Baltistan (HHWAB) for students of local seminaries and schools. The Australian High Commission provided Rs3 million to Malik Welfare Association Baltistan in order to support seminaries in the northern areas of the country. A US-based organisation, Kashmir Family Aid, contributed Rs0.7 million last year to the HHWAB for local seminaries and schools.

Additionally, the government allowed Malik Welfare Association Baltistan to receive funds from Saudi Arabia in 2009. In the same year, the interior ministry permitted Maulana Aziz-ur-Rehman to receive financial assistance from Saudi Arabia for the construction of Aoula Mosque/Madrassah in sector G-6/1 in Islamabad.

It was also found that Dr Tahir Qadri’s Idara Minhaj-ul- Quran Secretariat received Rs189,705 from the UAE and Rs132,802 from Qatar.

Secretary General Pakistan Awami Tehreek Dr Raheeq Abbasi, who is also associated with Idara Minhajul Quran, said those seminaries which are being financed by other countries should be banned as according to him they are promoting their own agenda which cause sectarian violence in Pakistan.

About Minhaj-ul-Quran, he, however, stated that they were not taking funds from foreign countries, adding that only those individuals who are members of Minhaj abroad are donating for them.

Punjab

While the Punjab Home Department has claimed that not a single Madrassah in the province received foreign funding, documents belonging to the interior ministry and available with The Express Tribune reveal that Madrassah Jamiat-ul-Islam Sargodha was the recipient of Rs13.3 million from the Sheikh Eid Charitable Association; the money was funneled through Qatar Islamic Bank and National Bank of Pakistan. The Jamiat-ul-Islam Sargodha also received Rs25.3 million through the same banks.

“The requisite may be treated as ‘nil’. No madrassah receiving financial and training assistance from Muslim countries has come to our notice during surveillance,” Additional Inspector General Police Muhammad Amlish stated.

On January 8, 2014, Senator Sughra Imam said, “This reply is deceiving the Parliament because it belied ground realities. I will press the government on this issue.” Senator Imam had questioned foreign funding for seminaries in May last year as well.

Sindh

The Madrassa Aisha Siddiqa Trust of Gulistan-e-Jauhar Karachi received Rs35,000 from an unknown source, the Sindh Home Department stated, while the government granted the Trust’s Director Dr Naseer Ahmad permission to receive funds from Kuwait in 2009. The home department stated that the Ahmed Jaffer Foundation and Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society Shara-e-Faisal received funding from a Gulf state. However, the department did not disclose the names of donors or the amount received.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Saudi Arabia is funding Madrassah Affan bin Usman Ahle-e-Hadis, Jamia Ashrafia Peshawar and Madrassah Taleem-ul-Quran of Mahalla Munawar Shah, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) home department revealed. Madrassah Abu Bakkar in Lower Dir received Rs3 million from Kuwait in 2014. Darul Arabia Khayl Uloom Pabbi, Uloom Islamic Daagi Tadeed, Darul Quran Mazhiruloom Akbar Pura Darul Uloom Spin Khak Pabbi and Darul Uloom Karimia also received funds from Kuwait, but the home department did not specify the amounts.

Madrassah Al Jamia Al-Arabia Taleem-ul-Quran in Lower Dir received Rs3 million from Qatar. Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania Akora Khattak is being funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but the home department did not reveal the amount of funding.

The government also allowed the administration of Main Campus of the University of Science and Technology Bannu to accept financial assistance from Saudi Arabia to construct a mosque. Dr Jehandar Shah was also allowed to take funds from Saudi Arabia for the construction of new blocks at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Upper Dir in 2011 and Dr Ihsan Ali of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan received funding for the construction of the Islamic faculty in 2012.

Balochistan

Saudi Arabia is funding Madrassah Jamia Dawarul Haq on Quetta’s Airport Road, Madrassah Arabic Darul Islamia uloom Toheed Sunnah, Madrassah Jamatul Islamia, Madrassah/Masjid Al Toheed-Ahle-e-Toheed and Madrassah Ansaria Ahle-e-Hadees, Nawan Killi, Quetta.  Jamia Ahle-e-Hadith Balochistan received Rs16,000 from Bahrain, while Iran is funding Madrassah Fatima Zahra Syeda, Madrassah Imam Hussain and Madrassah Khatmul Nabeen. The home department did not reveal the amounts donated in these cases.

Additionally, Madrassah Remania Tehfeezul Quran received Rs0.9 million from Qatar, Jamiatul Ulum Alsria received Rs11 million from Dubai, Jamiatul Uloom Islamia was given Rs12,000 from Saudi Arabia, Jamiatul Uloom Islamia received Rs265,000 from the UAE, Darul Uloom Jamia Anwar Mustafa was given Rs190,000 by the UAE. Kuwait provided Jamiatul Manahil Kheriya with Rs51 million.

Madrassah Dar-ul-Uloom Baltistan received Rs12 million from Kuwait, Masjid Gulzar Ghoi was given Rs2000 by Saudi Arabia and Jamia Khair Ul Madaris received Rs100,000 from Hong Kong.

Jamiat al Huda al Kharia Welfare Society received Rs33 million from Qatar while Islam Trust received Rs262,000 and Dawat-e-Islami was given Rs28,680 by the UAE.

Additionally, Home Department Balochistan told The Express Tribune that some 30 Quetta-based seminaries are being funded by Saudi Arabia. However, these seminaries have not disclosed the amounts that they are receiving.

View documents with details of foreign financial aid received by seminaries in Pakistan here.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • usman786
    Jan 29, 2015 - 10:02AM

    Problem is not the foreign funding. its misuse of funds by Pakistanis be ngo or madrassahs To promote their ideas. Did Saudis while giving money asked anyone to kill other sect? Its our leaders who always want to be more loyal than king…
    Monitoring madrassahs and ngos is most important

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  • Lord
    Jan 29, 2015 - 10:23AM

    Its tip of the iceberg . Take a look at madrasah infrastructures . You can say this much amount is coming in Karachi only. Channelize and create accountability where money is coming from and spent by whom and on what. Unfortunately, this can not be expected from current leadership.

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  • Sonya
    Jan 29, 2015 - 10:25AM

    and what about the money received in Saudi Embassy’s diplomatic bank accounts in Pakistan and being done distributed in cash and believe me the amounts are not small as mentioned in the untrustworthy report above.

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  • A J Khan
    Jan 29, 2015 - 10:50AM

    Foreign Funding comes with Foreign Allegiance.
    These Madaris are the van guards of these foreign powers who use/misuse them from Dawa to Terrorism.
    The ambassadors of the involved countries should be summoned in Foreign Office and concern of people of Pakistan should be conveyed to them.
    The received amount should be audited and seen how much was used in purchase of weapons/explosives/ military training etc.
    Funding of Mullah Aziz in people’s party tenure (2009) should be audited and concerned department/minister should be exposed.

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  • vaqas
    Jan 29, 2015 - 11:03AM

    Some of these amounts are laughable. 12000, 35000? 9 lakh? Uptill now billions have been directed towards these hate spewing houses of religious fanaticism, and I’m speaking in dollar terms and am being conservative, judging by the influence that bigoted religious teachings has gathered among the masses. Everyone needs to keep the pressure on the government to expose all supporters of extremism and the perpetrators sent to jails forever. Saudi and other middle Eastern funding and support for mullah must stop immediately.

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  • Farhan
    Jan 29, 2015 - 11:27AM

    Rs300 M is nothing compared to what Wikileak cables revealed 2 years ago that brather mulk giving $100 M annually to extremist groups in Pakistan.

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  • ishrat salim
    Jan 29, 2015 - 2:00PM

    Ms Suhgra Imam…why are you putting this question to PML N govt who is in power for 20 month, why not put this question to your own govt who ruled for 5 years…is this not hypocrisy ? Is this issue new ? what was your govt doing past 5 years ? there was more devastating killings in KPK ( your coalition partner), Karachi ( SC had to take suo moto notice) & Baluchistan ( again SC had to take suo mot notice)…in all these cases SC was forced to take suo mot notice because it came under under immense public pressure…it is not the case now if compared to what is going on now…so, put such questions to your own party first.

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  • vaqas
    Jan 29, 2015 - 5:19PM

    @ishrat salim:
    I did not know 20 months is too less a time to figure out who the enemy is. So the senators own government was incompetent, does that make these foreign funded religious terrorists any less real or less pertinent in today’s time? If 20 months is the time the pmln needs just to figure out who the enemy is then they, and you, should admit to their incompetence and resign from the government and from politics altogether.

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  • sehr siddiqui
    Jan 29, 2015 - 6:10PM

    We are again missing the point. It happens under the official patronage. They know that once exiled they will find refuge in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. What is $ 1.5 BILLION received by our PML(N) government. Funding at official level for the purpose now exposed. Only an honest leadership will take us out of this menace.

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  • Jan 30, 2015 - 12:24AM

    help from foreign ppl is not bad,, utilizing it for bad is wrong…
    its not hard to hide Aid…like RAW, Black water and other agencies are doing… can Interior ministry reveal their funds too?

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